We recently embarked on a major home renovation: new flooring throughout. This was not something that we spontaneously decided to change (it’s not like painting a feature wall!). We knew this would be a massive change to our home and before diving in we wanted to explore our options.
We met with the amazing folks over at Alberta Hardwood Flooring to assess our options and get some advice from a company that has been in business for years. Our experience there was fantastic and I’d recommend them to anyone. I felt like they took the time to understand what we were looking for and to help us make the best decision for our home and our family. They were also extra understanding of the fact that we were embarking on this project with really little ones at home!
Where We Started With Our Flooring
We built our current home twelve years ago and in that twelve years we’ve really “lived” here! When we built we chose to do hardwood on our main floor (throughout) and carpet on our second story (throughout). The hardwood that we chose at the time was a thin plank solid maple in a walnut stain that was really gorgeous and super in style at the time. Our carpet was an off-white, not quite shag and was of course lovely when brand new.
Flash forward twelve years. Our carpet was pretty worn down. I’ve tried to steam clean puppy training stains (and the inevitable dog barfs), coffee and red wine stains (because you know, adults spill, too!) and at some point, the carpet just won’t look brand new again no matter how much you try. Our hardwood still looks great but just feels dark and dusty and a little tired.
The Dilemma: Refinish or Replace The Existing Hardwood
Because we already had existing hardwood flooring on the main floor of our home, we had to make the decision of trying to match that flooring upstairs, refinishing the existing flooring to match the new flooring upstairs or tearing everything out and starting from scratch.
Refinishing existing floors can be a really great option and if you aren’t switching the flooring in your entire home like we did, it’s something I recommend considering. It is of course a very dusty process, but so was swapping the flooring out.
During the quote/research process, our sales rep from Alberta Hardwood Flooring visited our home to assess the situation in our home to help us make these decisions and to help determine with their expert advice what our options even were.
Decision Made: Let’s Renovate!
I’ll be honest, it’s been twelve years and so a little design upgrade (or a large one) just felt necessary. We’ve slowly been updating and upgrading the spaces in our home and an overhaul like flooring just seemed like the right move to bring everything up to date.
I’ve been wanting hardwood floors upstairs in our home for a few years now. It’s not just that I’m tired of carpet (because I really am), but I love how much cleaner hardwood feels (even with area rugs) and just how fresh and modern it would make our entire home feel. And it turns out I was totally right.
I mentioned we had existing hardwood on the main floor of our home that could have been refinished but because we were going with an entirely different product (not just a different stain) upstairs and on our staircase, swapping it all out was the necessary choice.
Choosing Our New Flooring
Making a flooring selection was a bit of a process and it should be! It’s important to get this right because it’s not easily reversible like a paint colour. It’s a major component of the design of your home and it’s also a really big investment. I want to also state here that we weren’t planning on repainting our changing our cabinetry or trim so the product we chose had to go with these existing elements.
I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted in terms of flooring colours and styles and it was really a matter of choosing the right tone. That being said, I still needed to enlist the help of my sales rep from Alberta Hardwood Flooring in this process. I fancy myself to be an expert in many things but the intricacies of flooring is not one of them!
I told her that I was looking for a white oak, wide plank engineered hardwood and what other colours we had in our home. Our walls are a grey-blue, the trim is an off-white (Benjamin Moore Ballet White), our kitchen cabinetry is ebony-stained red oak as is all of the millwork on our fireplace, stairwell railings so this choice had to blend well. Just from that info alone she was able to help choose some samples that would fit the bill and sure enough we found the perfect one.
Even though we were 99% sure, she sent us home with large sample boards to place in different areas of our home, next to different elements and to view at different times of day in different lighting. She also showed us photos of the flooring in other spaces so that we could get a sense of the variations that we could expect.
Expect variation: Hardwood floors are just that: HARD WOOD. Wood is natural and has a ton of variation in it, so your floor is not going to be one homogenous surface. If fairly uniform and homogenous is what you’re looking for then I recommend something like tile.
Once everything was chosen, it was time to do all the measurements, order the product and decide on an installation timeline. All of these things were handled by our rep at Alberta Hardwood Flooring. She was clear about all of the extra decisions we needed to make: stair design, vent covers, etc. and offered advice and examples to help us make these choices.
The installation process was going to be an undertaking. When we embarked on this process I was pregnant with my second child and my first child was barely a year old. With all of these things in mind, they helped us determine a strategy for living in our home during this renovation that was manageable for our family but still cost-effective.
What To Expect
If you’re looking for the details on what to expect from a renovation of this nature, I recommend reading my other post here: What to Expect From a Hardwood Flooring Reno.
All in all, I am SO glad that we decided to do this renovation. It was quite a process, a big disruption and a lot of work but it was SO SO worth it. If it’s something you’re considering, I recommend giving Alberta Hardwood Flooring a call. Meet with one of their sales reps, visit their show room, talk to them about your project – you won’t be sorry. Even if you don’t jump into the renovation right away, at least you’ll know what’s going to work for you when the time comes.