7 Lessons Learned from Installing Our New Floors

Lessons Learned Installing Wood Floors

Renovating your floors can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be! We learned a lot from our flooring renovation – and we’re here to share those lessons with you.

So whether you’re planning your own renovation or just curious about what’s involved, read on for the biggest lessons learned from our flooring renovation. Trust us; you’ll be glad you did!

Plus, check out our full experience installing white Oak hardwood floors in our entire house.

1. Don’t Skimp on Your Installer

We always recommend getting at least 3 quotes for any project, but you shouldn’t run towards the cheapest one. We opted for a slightly less expensive installer (you can see the full project cost here) and regret it in the long run.

While our installer did a good job, they didn’t have a great eye for details, and it shows. There are some boards that don’t match the surrounding planks, and there was glue on the surface of several planks. Plus, our installer ended up going over their estimated budget by about 10% because they didn’t expect our existing wood floors to be glued down (even though that’s the type of installation they recommended).

These may seem like small details, but they make a big difference in the overall installation. So when you’re getting quotes, be sure to ask about the quality of their work, not just the price.

Floating Floors Installation
A Quality Installer Is Always Worth The Money, Plus They Can Advise On The Best Type Of Installation

2. Try a Fun Pattern

Don’t be afraid to take risks with any project, but especially flooring. While we love our floors, we always talk about how we love a herringbone pattern and wish we’d incorporated it into our project.

One of our favorite ways to do this without bursting your budget is to do a herringbone floor in your entryway or main floor, with a standard pattern of hardwood in the rest of the house.

3. Throw Out More Flooring

For any flooring installation, it’s recommended to purchase 5-10% extra flooring to account for waste. Waste refers to cutting pieces to fit into spaces and accounting for any pieces that don’t look right. This could be pieces with large knots, divots, or that don’t exactly match the color of the surrounding flooring.

While we purchased the extra 5-10% flooring, our installer didn’t throw out as many pieces as we expected. While most people probably don’t notice, there are a handful of planks of wood that stand out in terms of color or pattern from the surrounding pieces.

If we did it again, we’d have the conversation up front with our installer to throw out any floorboards that don’t match or have impurities.

Mismatched Hardwood Floor Board
You Can See A Mismatched Floorboard In The Picture Above; While Not Very Noticeable, Once You See It, You Never Unsee It!

4. Account for where there isn’t floor

Especially if you’re renovating your whole house, you’ll want to account for the true amount of wood floors you need. Spoiler alert: it’s different than the square footage of your house.

You’ll want to account for cabinetry, bathrooms, kitchens, and appliances – all of which reduce the amount of flooring you need.

Since we wanted to account for waste and be conservative, we ordered way too much flooring. In the end, we were left with almost 500 square feet of extra flooring.

5. Prepare Your Subfloor

Even if you’re not installing new flooring, chances are your subfloor could use some prep work. While one installer we talked to had mentioned the additional potential costs to do a light sanding of our subfloor, we didn’t think twice.

The installer we used never inspected or sanded down the subfloor. And while it wasn’t a big deal, there are one or two dead spots in the floor that could have easily been solved by a high-quality installer.

6. Pay Attention During Final Inspection

Once your floors are installed, it’s important to do a final inspection with the installer. This is when you’ll point out any areas that need to be fixed – like planks that don’t match or pieces of trim that aren’t level. If possible, try to do this during daylight so you can really see any imperfections.

In our case, there were several pieces of wood with glue on the surface. This was clearly just from carelessness, and while it does come off with enough scrubbing, we’d much rather our installer dealt with it than us.

7. Hire a Cleaner

After your floors are installed, you’ll want to find a professional cleaner who has experience with hardwood floors. While our installers did clean up after themselves, it was just basic cleaning. They went around the house picking up big scraps and cleaning with a shop vac. But when they left, there was still a solid layer of dust and debris on the entire house.

It’s tough to emphasize just how much dust and dirt was in the house, but the in-progress picture below should help. Even after 10+ hours of cleaning every inch of the house, we still found dirt and dust for months after the project. Take our advice, save yourself the headache and hire a professional cleaner.

Dust And Debris From Removing Old Wood Floors
As You Can Imagine, Even After Our Installers Cleaned Up, There Was Plenty Of Dust And Debris

Bottom Line

Installing hardwood floors is a huge investment, but one that can really transform your home. Just be sure to do your research, understand the process, and hopefully, you can learn from our challenges. In the end, we love our wood floors, and they look amazing in our home!