Hey ya'll! So, I've been keeping a little secret from you. In the 9 months that I've been pregnant, not only did we renovate our entire basement, but we also installed new white washed wide plank hardwood flooring in the entire upstairs level of the house. And I've been waiting to share the story with you until everything was 100% finished. And now it's time...I can finally tell you the story of why we had to redo our upstairs floors after only a year.
So, remember those brand new hardwood floors that we had installed last year? Well, about 6 months after they were installed, we watched in pure horror as our wood flooring started buckling, separating, warping, and turning an outdated shade of bright orange. Here's a closeup to show you what I mean.
I tried to keep some perspective about it...it's just hardwood flooring, after all. But, I'd be lying to say I wasn't devastated. We had spent 3 months and a big chunk of money on solid wood floors, and I was quickly coming to the realization that something was terribly wrong.
It was as if our flooring had decided to revert back to the 1970's.
I'm going to put on a brave face and pretend like I handled this well, but there were lots of tears and a few choice fingers aimed at the floor.
So, you're probably wondering what on earth happened.
I don't like to speak negatively about anyone, so rather than getting all worked up about something that has already happened, here's the quickest, most painless way I can describe what unfolded.
Last year, we hired a really bad contractor. I truly don't think there was any malice involved, and I would even go so far as to say that I think he meant well. But the truth is that he took 3 months to do one of the worst jobs I've ever seen. And after he left, it took us another 3 months to clean up the damage he did to our home, and finish the job he started.
And then there's the fact that 6 months after having our floors installed they looked like this.
In a nutshell, after talking to some flooring experts, we discovered that not only was our flooring installed poorly, but the quality of the wood itself was really bad, and that the topcoat used was far from ideal and caused the floors to amber really quickly. So, a few painful lessons I learned from this ordeal (that I refuse to be angry about in the hopes that they will serve me in the future):
#1. Do your due diligence when hiring a contractor. Don't just take a blind recommendation from a friend or family member. Ask to see their work. Ask for a firm timeline. Interview multiple contractors.
#2. Don't get talked into using solid hardwood from a local mill, even if you're told that it will cut your costs in half (because you might end up like us and have your floors warp and separate just a few months after installation). Buy your wood from a reputable business with a warranty. And I have to tell you, after this experience, I will never have floors stained or finished on-site ever again. Prefinished flooring is so much easier to install, much more durable, and you know exactly what it will look like after it's installed.
and #3. Trust your gut. There were multiple instances while working with our first contractor when my instincts were telling me that something wasn't right. I was too afraid to speak up or do anything about it, and it ended up costing me a lot of time and money. Don't be afraid to fire someone who isn't doing the job you are paying them to do.
So, now that my cautionary tale is out of the way, let's move on with the happy part of the story. Back in April, the basement renovation was in full swing, and we had just hired some new contractors to demo the poop tile and install that beautiful gray plank tile downstairs. This time, we did our due diligence when we hired a contractor, and as a result, we ended up working with some really amazing guys. They were organized, meticulous, a pleasure to have around, and their work was flawless. And as they had promised, they completely finished our entire basement in one week.
So, after seeing how pleasant a renovation can be with the right contractors, we decided to hire them to fix the upstairs and handle the hardwood floor installation. We discussed all of our options for a few days, and ultimately decided that because the previous hardwood flooring had been installed so poorly, there was no point in trying to sand them and refinish the hardwood. The old floors would need to come up, the subfloors would need to be replaced (They should have been replaced the first time around but we were talked out of it.), and we would then install new engineered wood flooring.
So, I spent about a week bringing home tons of samples. At one point, there were about 30 sample boards in my garage. And it was so hard to choose because everything looked so weird next to our horrible orange floors. It really threw me off for awhile, but after a week or so I had narrowed down my choices to 3 samples. #1 was my favorite from the start, with #2 being too orange and #3 being too dark.
And that's a terrible iphone pic, but it's gives you an idea of what I'm talking about.
So, I listened to my gut and went for what I've wanted all along...a wide plank white washed floor. I was determined to follow my vision, no matter how weird it seemed to anyone else.
The below pic was my inspiration and it took a lot of searching to find something comparable within our price range.
So, I bought a box of choice #1 and laid it out over our floors to get a better idea of what it would look like.
And I was so excited...I knew we had a winner.
It's called Beach Front Oak from the Coastal Urban collection by Primo Florz. They aren't paying me to tell you this, I'm simply including a link to the manufacturer so that you can find it if you need to.
And so it began. Our contractors spent a few days ripping up all of the gross orange floor and replacing all of the subfloors. And then they began installing all of the new flooring. All in all, it took two weeks, just as they had promised.
Can you believe it only took two weeks this time? Last time it took almost 3 months. And I don't even wanna talk about it.
Since everything was finished so quickly this time, I decided just to show you the finished results rather than attempt to tell you about it while all of this was underway. So, here is how the upstairs looks today with the new flooring.
It feels like a glorious new beginning.
No more angry orange floors.
All of our old living room furniture is being used downstairs, so I've decided to redo our upstairs living room (hopefully before the baby gets here). So, for now, only the dining room has been moved back in.
I decided to use the pink rug in here for awhile.
I love this thing, but tend to get sick of it after like a week, so I make no promises if it will stay.
But I love it for now.
I'm just so happy with the way everything turned out. It finally feels right (even though I got it so terribly wrong the first time).
Here's a little glimpse of the hallway with the new flooring.
And a glimpse of the hallway with the old floors, just to remind you of how much they sucked.
We also used this opportunity to replace the old sliding door in the dining room with a new set of pretty french doors.
To remind you, the old 1970's sliding door looked like this.
It was a pretty sassy addition to any dining room, really.
...but one we felt inclined to part with.
Nothing like spending a day with a gaping hole in your house.
It's funny how a little thing like a door can make such a big difference, but there's just something about not having to remove a big stick from the floor every time you want to open the door that makes me feel so happy.
If you've ever had one of those old sliding doors, you KNOW the stick I speak of.
We also had the new contractors fix our stairs. I've never really talked about this (because...sigh) but the old contractor did a horrible job on our stairs. They were never finished and sounded like they were going to break every time you stepped on them. And they were also never trimmed out, so they pretty much just looked bad from day 1.
I'll present you with the evidence.
I'll present you with the evidence.
and another glimpse.
I'm not kidding...that is how they looked when they were 'finished'. And this is why I'm choosing to leave a lot of words unsaid...because it's not even necessary.
You have eyeballs.
And now...the stairs today.
I never thought stairs could make me so happy,
BUT I APPRECIATE THEM SO MUCH IT HURTS.
And here's how the upstairs set looks today.
And another glimpse. The stair treads had to be custom matched to our flooring, and I was so thrilled to see how flawlessly they were done.
And that's pretty much it, ya'll.
That's the story of why we chose to redo our hardwood floors for the second time in a year. And with any luck, I will hopefully never have to think about flooring ever again while we live in this house.
Feel free to laugh about the fact that it took me two redos to get it right in both the upstairs AND the downstairs.
It's beyond ridiculous, I know.
I intentionally waited awhile to tell you about all of this so that we could approach it from a place of humor rather than rage.
Because there were times....
It's such a relief to have it all finished and finally be able to 'move back in' and resume our normal lives.
On a sidenote, so many of you have been so excited to see the nursery and now you know what's been taking me so long. I've spent the last 9 months tearing my entire house apart.
Now that everything is finished, I've finally been able to start on the nursery. For now, we've decided to use the old guest room at the end of the hall (the room with the dark gray walls).
I'm currently almost 36 weeks and kinda wanna cry tears of relief that I've made it this far.
The thought of making it to term seemed so far away for so long, and I'm so thankful to be so close to the finish line. As you can imagine, I was so scared for so long that I never really allowed myself to think about the nursery, so I'm just now starting to finally put the room together.
And it's so much fun.
Since it's still highly likely I could deliver her before her due date at the end of June, I don't know whether I'll end up sharing her nursery before she gets here or after she's already arrived. But, either way, I promise to eventually share it, because I'm very excited about what's going on at the end of that hall.
But, if for some reason I decide to take a bit of a 'maternity leave' for the entire month of June or July, just know that I'm allowing myself a little time off and that I'll be back. I'm not going to try to predict or plan anything...I'm just going to relax and enjoy the moment. Thank you guys for allowing me to do that.
'Til next time!