Choosing The Right Wood Flooring

New engineered wood floors - Ashley Brooke talks about how to choose wood flooring.

The Biggest Decision

I’m so excited to write this post, flooring is SUCH a big decision and one we did not take lightly. Whether you are renovating a home like we are or starting from scratch, your flooring choices will set the stage for your home, and quite frankly it’s a GIANT decision.

We decided to go with engineered flooring from The Home Depot, and I ordered a half dozen samples to see if it was really something we were going to do. I was kind of like “well, if I fall in love with one of these samples then maybe it’s a sign.” And no surprise, I totally DID.

New engineered wood floors - Ashley Brooke talks about how to choose wood flooring.
Ashley Brooke with her new wood flooring on www.ashleybrookedesigns.com

Truthfully, we went back and forth for weeks and weeks on whether or not we would be removing our tile floors and putting in wood flooring. It’s such a GIANT project and we weren’t sure it was worth it, but I can say with 100% certainty that it was totally worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, dust and all! For us it came down to two factors:

  1. This is something we’ve ALWAYS wanted to do, and
  2. If we wanted to reconfigure our kitchen island, then it was the only way.
Ashley Brooke's kitchen before renovation and installing the Green Kitchen
Before: Kitchen
Ashley Brooke's kitchen island before renovation and installing the Green Kitchen
Before: Kitchen Island

How We Managed:

First off, we went into the process with the mindest that it was going to get REALLY messy before it got better… and I am so glad we did. We rented a Pod and had it delivered to our driveway. We moved all of our belongings into both the pod and the garage. We kept only the essentials.

We were in a unique position becuase of needing to stay in our home due to the fact that we were still in the process of DIYing the kitchen. So our home truly turned into a workshop. TOOLS EVERYWHERE.

Once the house was cleared we hired a local dustless tile removal company come in and take out all of our old Florida tile. It was incredible, our entire house was done in a day! In a perfect world we would have had our wood flooring installers come the very next day, and if you take one thing away from this post let that be it! Line up your installers!!

Ashley Brooke's home before the wood floor installation
Ready for tile removal
Ashley Brooke's home after the tile removal
After tile removal.

We ended up spending almost 4 weeks with just sub-flooring (e.i. bare concrete), which I think was the very worst part of the entire process. The tile removal wasn’t nearly as bad as just living with unfinished flooring. All three of us (Dolly included) were constantly covered in concrete dust. At one point we had gotten completely used to just being “dirty” all the time so when the flooring install team came, we couldn’t have been any more grateful!

Living with unfinished concrete. NOT GLAMOROUS. Actually kind of scary!!
Again, NOT GLAMOROUS. This is how we’d brush our teeth. ha! Everything shoved everywhere!

Picking The Flooring:

If you’re in the market for flooring, you probably know the three big choices:

  1. Flooring Type
  2. Style (width, color/stain)
  3. Floating or glue-down
Trendy wood flooring color samples on ashleybrookedesigns.com
Loved these two right off the bat!
popular wood flooring color samples on ashleybrookedesigns.com
So many great options!

Here are is a simple pro and con list of the top three flooring choices you’re likely to see. Of course, engineered or laminate options may have sub categories like “bamboo” or “cork”, but the following breakdown generally applies:

PROS:

Laminate

  • Low Cost
  • Easy Install / DIY friendly
  • Waterproof Options
  • Durability/Scratch Resistance
  • Does not need to acclimate

Hardwood

  • Highest end, adds value to home
  • Can be sanded & refinished numerous times
  • Visually beautiful

Engineered

  • Medium cost (lower than solid wood)
  • High end, adds value to home
  • Can be sanded & refinished (usually)
  • Visually appealing
  • Can be installed as floating or glued own
  • Stable/Does not need to acclimate
  • Visually beautiful

CONS

  • Cannot be refinished to change the look
  • Synthetic materials
  • If damaged it must be replaced
  • Floating install is most common, which can create a hollow/tapping sound when walking on it.
  • High cost
  • Complex install
  • Can be scratched
  • Solid wood expands and contracts (meaning floor must acclimate and be installed correctly)
  • Best result is glued down which make a more complex installation
  • Limited number of refinishings
Picking finishes!
Narrowed it down to these options!

Why We Went With Engineered Flooring:

For us it was important to get something that was sturdy, but to also know that if the next homeowners (we are not selling anytime soon!) would want to sand down and change the color, they could. The thought of building a home that will stand the test of time was also super important.

The Malibu Wide Plank line from The Home Depot checked all of our boxes. Honestly after doing hours (and I mean hours!!) of research on flooring we felt so confident with the Malibu, almost all of the samples I ordered were from their line and I couldn’t have been any more impressed with both the quality and the colors. If you are looking for a great source for wood flooring you might not think Home Depot, but WOW. Think again.

Not to mention, The Home Depot can also do the install!

The day the flooring was delivered!
Look at that grain detail!

The Right Flooring Color/Style:

Choosing the correct color flooring for our home and taste felt like a lot of pressure, it’s not like paint… so I wanted to get it RIGHT. I ordered all of these samples below but knew from the get-go that I really wanted something traditional. Our home feels very traditional to me and I was going for timeless. Not too red, not too orange, not too light, etc.

Once the flooring samples came in I compared it with both our kitchen paint color and countertop choices to really narrow down the “feel” that we were going for. I also took pictures of the samples in every single room since the lighting is different in each. I kept coming back to the same sample.

Malibu Wide Plank in French Oak Stinson

I texted my entire family and a handful of friends just to make sure I wasn’t absolutely insane… and everyone agreed, French Oak Stinson was totally our vibe!

Once we placed the order on Homedepot.com the pallets were delivered in about a week, and the installers came just a few days later. Thankfully since it was engineered wood we didn’t have to let the wood “acclimate” in our house and were able to keep the pallets in the garage. That was a huge plus. The Installation took about 3 days in total, which honestly wasn’t that bad. The first day they came and leveled the concrete, and then took two days to install flooring and new baseboards. It was actually incredibly quick.

The glue down process!
Such a cool process!

Glue Down or Floating Floors?

We ended up gluing the wood down to the concrete and we are so happy with it! Gosh it just feels so good. The house feels sturdier, do you know what I mean?! Floating is not a bad option either, and can make a lot of sense within a budget, when fast updates are needed, or if you just don’t like the permanency of glued down floors. The tapping/hollow noise below isn’t the end of the world and for the most part, it’s all that noticeable (we had floating for YEARS in different parts of the house).

Floating
  • Pros
    • Easy Install / DIY
    • No glue expense
    • Can easily be torn out/replaced
  • Cons
    • Can have a tapping/hollow sound when walked on
    • May require expensive underlayment (what the floor “floats” on)
Glued Down
  • Pros
    • Sturdy
    • No tapping/hollow noises
    • High end feel
  • Cons
    • Somewhat permanent
    • Complex install
    • Cost of materials (glue)
    • Difficult to remove
We all jumped for joy when the couch was moved back in!

What a Difference!

All the beautiful unique wood grains throughout the house just make it feel so cozy. If anything, we wish we had done it sooner!

For us this process took about a month and a half, but next time I will do a better job at timing things out. Like I said though, it was worth it times a MILLION. We are SO happy with our new flooring. It has completely changed our home and I can’t say enough about the selection at The Home Depot. The process of finding what we needed and getting it ordered was absolutely seamless.

Malibu Wide Plank in French Oak Stinson

In partnership with The Home Depot

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17 Comments

  1. Barbara
    September 29, 2020 / 7:46 am

    Your Renovations are awesome! Love your dress❣️ Will you share the brand? Thank you.

  2. Ann
    September 29, 2020 / 8:47 am

    Love it. What a difference.

  3. Alisha
    September 29, 2020 / 9:28 am

    The floors look amazing!

  4. Jane H.
    September 29, 2020 / 10:01 am

    This is very informative. And the final selection is beautiful, just right for your home.

  5. Merilynn Bergstresser
    September 29, 2020 / 1:54 pm

    Very Pretty rug under your couch and coffee table. Manufacturer?

  6. Merilynn
    September 29, 2020 / 1:55 pm

    Very Pretty rug under your couch and coffee table. Manufacturer?

  7. Anna
    September 29, 2020 / 7:08 pm

    It looks absolutely gorgeous Ashley!! LOVE how it turned out!

  8. October 3, 2020 / 11:00 am

    We’re about to start renovating our home and this post was so helpful! I absolutely adore how your flooring turned out! It’s beautiful.

    • October 9, 2020 / 2:07 pm

      Ah! I am so glad it was helpful!! Good luck with your renovation, I know it will be beautiful!

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