Materials and Supplies

perfect planks: selecting a wood floor

As I mentioned before, first on our renovation to do list is putting down some beautiful hardwood.    You’d think because of my career field it would be much easier and this girl would already know what she wants.  Not so much!  I think because I’ve been exposed to a wide plethora of choices it has made the decision that much harder.  There are so many different factors to consider with wood floors.  Before you make a selection, you need to make a decision on the construction & maintenance, wood species, plank size and texture, and color/stain.


This tops the list for a reason.  The most important thing you need to consider above anything else!  It’s such a large investment, you need to carefully consider the types of woods available, their price, their installation method, and how to maintain them.

It being an older home, I reallllly wanted to put down solid flooring, sanded and stained on site.  I soon found that the labor costs would bust the budget.  Then I explored some prefinished solid wood options.   The greatest advantage going with solid is that you can always sand the floors down and restain.    But when we began looking at engineered, I found there were so many more options, styles, and colors available, and usually at a better price.

Putting wood in the kitchen is big right now, but you need to remember: wood + moisture = disaster.  So if this is in your plan, make sure to order extra wood so you can replace boards in case of a leak or water damage down the road.

Hardwood in the bathroom is never a good idea, but have you seen the new plank style tiles that resemble wood?  That’s actually tile in the bathroom below.

tile that resembles wood


In search of something in a medium color, I realized I do like some color contrast in the planks.  Certain wood species are more uniform in color, while others have more variation.

living room by Haynes Roberts

This hickory and pecan floor mix (below) is really pretty. Variation but subtle.

hickory floors in bedroom

Certain species (like Pine shown below) are very knotty, giving a very rustic feel.

pine door and floors

Researching the different types of wood is a great way to learn their characteristics and what to expect in terms of hardness, color change over time, etc.


Smaller planks (2-3″ wide) tend to be more traditional, and can be found in older homes.

original oak floors

Most of the plank sizes you find right now are 4 or 5″ wide or even larger.

wide plank floor

Hand-scraped patterns for engineered floors are really in right now, most of what you find will be that.  Distressed and hand-scraped are more forgiving than smooth floors, as scratches will be much more noticeable.


I love the look of a dark stained wood floor, but the maintenance is something to be desired.  I’ve watched it go into many of the projects we do, and let me tell you every piece of dust, dog hair, and footprints would show up on this.

Kitchen by designer Linda McDougald

The look of very light wood is great too, but is a lot more contemporary and informal.   For my project, it’s  almost too modern for the look I want to achieve.

light wood floors

When considering color, you need to remember it’s all part of a bigger plan for your room.  Think about the colors of the furniture and fabrics you’re putting on top of it.  For example, if you have all very dark furniture or want to paint the room a dark color, it may not be a good idea to put down dark wood floors.  You could put a light-colored rug to create contrast, but more often than not the whole room will seem very dim or smaller.


After weeks of looking at different products, we finally decided to go with a natural walnut.  Not too light. Not too dark. Beautiful color variation.  The downside?  Mucho dinero.  I swear if it’s ridiculously expensive, I gravitate towards it.  Luckily, I found one that we carry that had been discontinued so I got a good price on it! 🙂 It looks similar to the floors in the picture below:

american walnut wood floor

Can’t wait to see how it turns out!