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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

What is most important to you when choosing a hardwood floor?

Allegheny Mountain Hardwood FlooringAugust 15, 2012
I'd love to hear your feedback about what you are looking for when you pick your floor.

Examples: color, price, character, rift & quartered sawn, FSC certification, width, length, design, wood specie, etc.

What type of pictures are catching your eye?

Thanks so much! I appreciate the feedback!
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Keerthi Naidu
I'm looking for durability and simplicity - dark oak floors are my favorite! Something like this:
Park Hill Renovation · More Info
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:26PM
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A Kitchen That Works LLC
It really depends on the parameters of the project but definitely wide plank and durable finishes.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Anne Gibney
Color mid-dark range. Do not like yellow toned woods. I look for durability and finish. Price is usually last. I like wider plank floors 5" or better. Do not like the hand scraped engineered floors.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Durability of the wood species and simplicity of the grain pattern, followed by color and width.
    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Warm, absolutely no yellow, no oak, random plank.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 6:23PM
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First thing I tried was to scratch it with my (strong) nails. If no mark after that then I can consider other factors.:-). It really worked for me.
    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 7:22PM
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I have found wood floors to be so much cheaper and 'doable' when you buy them from a mill. You can get what you want, and finish them how you want. I have a hard time figuring out the per finished floor thin with some of the crap they sell now. Great for a flip, but not if I'm going to live in it for a while.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 3:46PM
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That floor in the picture is stunning...
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 3:47PM
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The practical side of me picks price first, then species of wood, then color / design.
    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 5:53PM
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I recently asked Houzz members advice on a new hardwood decision for my living room. I wanted to go with dark and exotic, but had to consider the other floors visible from that room. Ultimately decided on a similar color oak that was already in my newer step down family room addition, but went with a slightly wider board. A major consideration was the finishing process of the wood, as I have a large dog and needed a good, hard finish. Hardwoods4Less was a great company to work with, great, patient advice, sent samples, great prices, always answered the phone.. and I love how the room turned out.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:51AM
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I agree with Dytecture, price first. I fell in love with extremely expensive hardwood floors, but luckily came to my senses and managed to pick a floor I like well within my budget. Engineered dark oak.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 5:05AM
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I recently got hardware floors in my entire home and it was the hardest decision to make! I brought home every sample under the sun. Ultimately I found the only way to choose was to go to a really knowledgable flooring guy/store with tons of experience, give him my budget and requirements and have him give me a few choices that fit my perameters. Not only do you have to choose a species and color but you have to see if glue down or floating works for your home. I ended up with Provenza Heirloom London Oak which is a wide plank, ligher tone floating floor with a lot of character. It is gorgeous and hides everything. My 4 year old put magic marker on it and I just colored the purple black and it looks like a vein in the wood. Most important to go to an expert with a lot of years in the business. It cost me more but was worth every cent.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 5:41AM
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Durability as I have a large dog. My current engineered floor has been ruined with scratches and the water that drips from her mouth. Color wise I would recommend a medium color. Too light or even too dark shows the tiniest dust bunny. If you use in a kitchen make sure seams are sealed, to avoid moisture getting in between planks.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:56AM
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I have no dogs or kids, but what would be recommended for those that have them? Tile?
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:58AM
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For dogs and kids I would recommend quarter sawn white oak floors, which are very durable. Ours are 90 years old and have survived multiple families with dogs and kids, including our own two rambunctious Australian Shepherds and hyperactive son.
5 Likes    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:24AM
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Design pictures don't matter much. What I'd look for is credibility in the seller. If the floor sellers tell me that they have personally cleaned up a flood in the kitchen with no damage, or dumped cat food on the flooring and left it overnight, or had big dogs with claws running loose for years, then I'd value their opinions. What I don't value is a seller who has not even bothered to spill grape jelly on the Marmoleum to see if it stains (supermarket red food coloring and some kinds of cat food will stain Marmoleum, by the way).

I would value photos that showed you could match existing flooring in adjacent rooms, or that you could add decorative inlays to existing hardwood flooring.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:27AM
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For pets and kids I suggest an indestructible glue down vinyl. We had 4 dogs, 4 cats, and 2 boys, and I do dog boarding in my home. I do not like the coldness of tile or dealing with the grout so I asked a few salesmen at different floor stores what they would suggest. We had a Mannington vinyl plank floor installed (glued down) that looks like hand-scraped wood. The edges are even beveled. It is scratch proof and water proof. If a pet has an accident and you don't find it for weeks, it's no problem. Don't buy the cheap stuff at Lowe's or Home Depot. People come in and cannot tell the floor is not wood. My only complaint is it is too dark and dust shows under chairs and the couch really bad. Get the lightest floor you can live with or one with a lot of color variations in it. If we won the lottery, we would buy and install the same floor, only lighter!
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:15AM
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I have a 60 year old sprawling ranch home that needed new flooring throughout. My first requirement was the cost, next was a natural flowing look, then color, I chose a neutral gunstock red oak. The flooring is 3/4"x 2 1/4" using random lengths. I laid the floor myself which took three weeks for the six rooms. I have no threshholds room to room, the flooring flows thru doorways from each room. This does require that all sub floors are in the same plane. I was lucky, mine were, just needing some repairs in several areas. The sub floor prep also took several weeks to complete. I used three buckets of of #8 subfloor square drive screws to eliminate all squeaks prior to laying the hardwood. The gunstock has character with some knots and varying grain. It turned out great, especially the flow room to room.
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:45AM
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I reluctantly went with engineered wood in the kitchen though we have authentic oak throughout most of the house. Yes, it is cheaper and certainly just as attractive but I feel like I am walking on plastic as opposed to the firmness of real wood.
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 12:43PM
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Color and wood species first, then price, then width. Love a medium brown. Nothing with a yellow or red hue and hickory or pecan would be my favorite wood.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I'm considering bamboo for an upstairs bedroom? Any suggestions or comments about this material?
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 3:12PM
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no one thinks about finish? oiled or poly? Price is important to me, as is color, I try to balance the two.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Would want to know how well it hides dust bunnies, myself! Lots of good input from experience here!
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:30PM
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A Kitchen That Works LLC
Consider sound transmission.
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 5:23PM
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interesting how many anti-oak comments, whereas I am anti-pink in my wood tones, courtesy of being raised in 70s/80's in Australia. A recent home flood means I am looking at engineered boards and I keep getting show black butt and similar types with pink. Nice, but not my thing. Love a white oak or queensland maple!
1 Like    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 5:43PM
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Clear maple! 4"-6" and natural (in a modernist setting). A cliche perhaps, but for a good reason.

That said, I confess I like the wide plank red oak floors I have at present ... stained a medium brown and urethaned in a Victorian reproduction.
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:02PM
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Thanks, AKitchenThat Works. I just googled it. Something to consider, but seems like the sound transmission is not that different from wood?
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:19PM
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A Kitchen That Works LLC
Sorry, I should have been more clear. You are correct, there is no difference with regards to sound transmission between lets say between oak and bamboo. What I was referring to is the notion of putting hardwood in a second/third floor bedroom.
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:26PM
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When we built our home, we checked prices and were shocked to find Brazilian cherry just a tad more expensive than oak. Prices differ, of course, but we just lucked out in our timing. As a result, we put down Brazilian cherry throughout almost the entire house. I think it's stunning and would recommend it to anyone. Many who visit comment on how pretty the floors are. T
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:01PM
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I love my oak floors, but love my two 75 lb. "puppies" more. We use area rugs, and accept the trade off. If you want wood floors, think hard before adopting large dogs, or vice versa.
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:16PM
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kaye cie
initially, price, longevity, character, and sustainability were my priorities. once i had the samples in hand, i fell hard for walnut, and nothing else compared. simply put, walnut is STUNNING. the color is not too dark, not too light, warm without being too red or gold. it has incredible richness & character- fantastic grain patterns and color variations. our walnut floor is quite distinctive, and really classes up our place!

we went with variable board widths, 3-6", and middle grade (i forget the term). we wanted more character, and we love it. simple design to let the wood speak for itself. it's only been a year, so i can't speak to longevity, but so far it is wearing well.

i also really appreciate that walnut is mostly sustainably harvested in the US (since i'd originally really wanted to go with reclaimed lumber, this was some consolation).
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Aegean Designing Whims
We have hardwood throughout our house, includin the kitchen, and I love it. If you have existing hardwood flooring, installed over a raised foundation, it's most likely oak, which isn't really popular today. However, refinishing with a dark stain, is less expensive than purchasing new.

That being said, there are so many hardwood floors availale today, deciding can be very difficult. The first thing I'd do is go to a reputable floorcoveirng store, and see what's available. I'd stay away from the big box store, and companies that adverise price.

You need to be very careful and not purchase hardwood on price alone.

Other thngs to consider is whether you have children and pets, as these really dictate which way you should go.

As far as selecting color, darker floors show dust, but medium colors hide a multitude of sins.

Something else to consider, is the newest laminates. They've fallen out of grace, mostly because of the hollow sound, but there are some really great new products that look so much like wood, even an experienced salesperson, or installer has to look at the side of the material to tell if they're real wood or laminate. As with wood, be very careful you don't buy on price alone!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 9:19PM
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Like the design
    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 9:38PM
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I had a light maple installed in a small back room, having been told that maple is a "hard" wood. Within a few weeks the floor looked terrible, thanks to my great dane and leonberger's nails. When redoing my living room floor recently, I did my homework.The hardness scale available for woods shows how much force it takes to make a dent in the wood... good to know, but not giving me information regarding scratch resistance. In that case, it's the finish of the wood, and how many coats of poly, and other protective coats such as aluminum oxide are used to protect the wood. Of course no wood is totally scratch proof, but I wanted to stay with wood, so I stayed away from big box stores where it's impossible to know the quality of the finishing process on what you're buying. More color variation in the wood would also better hide any scratches that do occur, as opposed to a plain dark or light wood.
TSKN - I considered bamboo. It is a very "hard" wood, and the sample I received was very scratch resistant, but none of the colors available came close to what I had in an open, adjoining room, so I passed. Be careful on the finishing process of bamboo, LL sells a product which had hundreds of complaints from buyers about the terrible smell that burned their eyes and throats months after installation. I found a site - Cali bamboo - that seemed like the way to go, if buying bamboo. Check them out.
    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 2:58AM
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Studio Homes
deffinately price prevails...but after that durability...its gotta last. no one plans new hardwood with a refinish project in the future. The grain has to be clean...no tavern look or knots of any kind. Dark dark espresso is my favorite color for a room with lots of light and a really warm blond like natural bamboo is my other preference. I Dont really go for much in between as from a design stanpoint its usually about contrast... dark floors with white couch and light walls and so on...light floors with medium toned to dramatic walls. I also keep in mind dust settling on dark floors.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:17AM
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My preference is wood durability, color, then price (only because in big city good deals are here and there all the time). We prefer medium brown color because it match with most wood furniture colors, dark enough in contrast to light wall color, but dust not as visible, as on very dark floors. Also we consider that older house, due to smaller windows, doesn't have enough natural light (Canada).
We had changed layout in bedroom area (back split house) so had to renew hardwood floor. We goggled and found following (and more) information "Ash falls between red and white oak on the hardness scale. It has been used in making baseball bats because of its excellent shock absorption. An ash floor holds up well in high traffic areas and playrooms, as it can take a lot of abuse." So we bought pre-finished floors as it was very close in color to our living space floors (white oak). We decided it's safer than try outs to get the right color. After 3 years I can certainly say it's not close to the white oak hardness. Anything was dropped left marks, we are disappointed in term of hardness. In living space our 90lb Golden R. is running, sliding (trying catch the ground in terns) and no marks on 50 y.old white oak floor.
    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:27AM
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I am desperate to replace my 1950's parquet, in mini squares, in my 1,000 square ft apartment with a French inspired herringbone.

I've been searching in Toronto, where I live and the best price I can get is $18 per square installed. Some are as high as $40 per square foot. Are there better sources in the US? I'd be happy to drive down and load up the car. Mrs. Brinder
    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 5:58AM
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