How would you do a hardwood floor?

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Forum topic by Keith Kelly posted 06-01-2015 06:18 PM 1053 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Keith Kelly

215 posts in 1081 days

06-01-2015 06:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

1) buy premade prefinished at a store
2) buy unfinished and finish it yourself
3) buy rough cut and mill it yourself

This is the question I am beginning to face, since my wife has decided that hardwood floors are towards the top of her list (and keeps getting bumped up during each potty training accident on carpet). That’s reasonable.

We have oak hardwood in our dining room, and I wish to go away from that since oak is everywhere in this part of the country. The rest of the rooms have carpet that we will replace.


-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri,

32 replies so far

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Keith Kelly

215 posts in 1081 days

#1 posted 06-01-2015 06:21 PM

Note: I am leaning towards finishing them myself. I’m really into finishing, like to use dyes etc and lean towards finding a light fast dye or stain (relatively) and using a water borne poly like GF EnduroVar or similar. But I would certainly be up for some alternative advice.

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri,

View hotbyte's profile


825 posts in 2393 days

#2 posted 06-01-2015 06:30 PM

Are you thinking of pre-finishing or finishing after installing?

My sister had unfinished oak put down and they still sanded it once installed before finishing. Not sure if that is normal method or not. Sanding makes a mess.

PS – Hope the wife is potty trained soon :)

View chrisstef's profile


15456 posts in 2424 days

#3 posted 06-01-2015 06:36 PM

Youre going to get a much better, longer lasting finish on prefinished floors than you will finishing it yourself.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View AlaskaGuy's profile


2392 posts in 1727 days

#4 posted 06-01-2015 06:46 PM

Factory finished flooring will have a much tougher finish than you can apply. Assuming you’re buying a quality product.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View mahdee's profile


3456 posts in 1185 days

#5 posted 06-01-2015 07:28 PM

I concur with others. Pre-finished is best. Also consider that the thinner boards (2” wide) look nice but take forever to cover a large area. May want to rent or purchase a descent hardwood floor nailer. It saves a lot time and frustration.


View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 648 days

#6 posted 06-01-2015 07:31 PM

Buy a new house that has the floors you want.

Or buy prefinished.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2263 posts in 1787 days

#7 posted 06-01-2015 08:03 PM

I also agree with prefinished. And, you get a warranty on the finish, usually. That’s the route I went. I also liked the fact that I can tear out the carpet, pull the molding, put down underlayment and the new floor in a day (on a 12×12 bedroom). I like woodworking, but that doesn’t extend to flooring installation.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View bbasiaga's profile


730 posts in 1413 days

#8 posted 06-01-2015 08:08 PM

How will you keep potty training children, dogs, other pets, thrown toys, etc., off of the flooring area while the finish you apply dries between coats?


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View DrDirt's profile


4135 posts in 3160 days

#9 posted 06-01-2015 08:15 PM

^^ Bbasiaga – -

My top reason for prefinished. You have kids/pets etc. Unless you are shipping them off for a week while you do this, you need a “ready to go” surface that nobody needs to stay off of for a few days while you sand – stain – and finish the floors.

If you only lay half the living room… you can still walk across from the bedrooms to the kitchen.
And your wife gets to pick EXACTLY the color… without coming back later to say “I though the finish would be darker, lighter, redder.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View Keith Kelly's profile

Keith Kelly

215 posts in 1081 days

#10 posted 06-01-2015 08:24 PM

Wow this helps quite a bit. Thank you for steering me away from a big(ger) project.

And you had some good points. As for potty training the wife…yeah it’s been hard work :). Actually, it’s our 2 year old and we have friends who have younger kids already potty trained. And we hope to have a few more.

Maybe I can buy unfinished, and feed the kids something that turns their urine into polyurethane.

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri,

View hotbyte's profile


825 posts in 2393 days

#11 posted 06-01-2015 08:31 PM

Maybe I can buy unfinished, and feed the kids something that turns their urine into polyurethane.

Excellent idea! I remember that Superman flavored ice cream would do wild color things to their dirty diapers…if you wanted to tint the floors :)

View ClammyBallz's profile


297 posts in 554 days

#12 posted 06-01-2015 09:00 PM

And don’t forget all the dust everywhere and the smell of the sealer in the house for the next 2 months.

I found out there was oak flooring under the carpet in our living room when I pulled up the carpet one day. Since we had just moved in at the time and didn’t have much furniture or money, I decided to rip out the carpet, renta pad floor sander to sand the floor, strip the steps & rail next to it and refinish it with Waterlox. It was a mess with the dust and the smell lasted for a while, but I was glad I took the time to do it. Over 10 years later and it’s still holding up well with all the animals in the house.

When it came time to replace the carpet in the bedroom and dining room, I decided to save the aggravation and install prefinished hardwood flooring instead.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4403 posts in 3378 days

#13 posted 06-01-2015 09:19 PM

Buy ENGINEERED flooring for the look of real wood. Much thicker veneer, many colors, and finished with an aluminum oxide surface. That stuff is tough, color fast, and has suface options.
We opted for a hand scraped surface. Kinda a rustic look which we like.
If you’re on a slab, you would glue it down. If on a subfloor, nailed.Check it out.


View jdh122's profile


878 posts in 2236 days

#14 posted 06-01-2015 09:53 PM

I agree that a factory finish will be more resistant than anything you can install yourself. But I really prefer the look of finished-in-place flooring. You don’t get the beveled edges that you have with pre-finished and the floor is smoother and flatter.
On the down side, finished in place is way more expensive, since unfinished flooring costs about as much as prefinished and then you need to sand it and finish it (or pay someone to do it).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View laketrout36's profile


196 posts in 1445 days

#15 posted 06-01-2015 10:09 PM

There was a story on 60Minutes in the last six months that highlighted American homeowners that bought veneered flooring and they were getting very sick. It turned out the flooring was made in Ch*na with Formeldahyde. People have been forced to tear the stuff out of their homes for health safety reasons. Look for the segment on their website. Well worth the education.

A few years ago we bought hardwood flooring sourced from American forests that was prefinished and installed it ourselves and saved a ton!

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