Finances Flooring


flooring stain deck

Let us be honest: this renovation process has taken a lot longer than we anticipated. Originally, we were just going to get the floors done and start moving in. We were ready to roll! But that’s not exactly what happened. One brainstorm lead to another. We were so excited and had a bunch of great ideas in one hand and a hammer in the other. We started ripping things out and got kind of “demo happy”.

The other factor that is playing a role in the amount of time this is taking is — simply put — money. It is important to Greg and me that we truck on through this renovation without taking on any debt. That means no credit cards, no loans, and no “don’t pay until 2025” financing deals. After all, we did just finance a house. We feel that if we can be patient going into this, we will enjoy the “fruits of our labor” even that much more when we’re done… with no debt. In light of that, we decided to take the renovation slow and steady; only starting projects when we had the cash in hand to pay for them. It’s been kind of like inΒ Finding Nemo when Dory keeps saying, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming.” Though the road as been a bit longer than we expected, it’s definitely going to be well worth the wait when we get to startΒ living in our brand new (to us) home and not have to worry about any renovation bills hanging over our heads.

Today, we are one step closer. If you remember, when we first purchased the house, about 50% of the floors were hardwood. The three bedrooms had carpet, the kitchen had tile and the bathrooms had… well… we’re not quite sure what to call it. Cork-like linoleum? (You can find the full before and after floor plan here.) One of the first things we did was pull up the carpet, remove the tile and have hardwood put in the bedrooms and kitchen. Now, the entire house has hardwood floors — with the exception of new tile in the bathrooms. We kept the utility room just the way it is. We have been putting off staining the floors until all of the dirty, gritty work was finished. We are now seeing that light at the end of the tunnel! It’s getting closer and closer to that one fine day when the floors have been finished, the polyurethane odors have hit the road and we can start putting furniture in the house. But there is one big decision we have to make … picking out the stain color.

Last night, we were given a little swatch booklet containing 22 stain color options. The super-cool “floor guy” that will be refinishing them asked that we pick out 3 or 4 of the colors that we would like to see tested on the floors.

I have to admit, when we got the stain deck, I squealed like a little school girl. I was just so excited to finally get to the place in our renovation where we were actually READY to pick out the stain color.

There were more stain choices to choose from than we thought there would be. We started our “process of elimination”. The Β lighter colors were the first to go. Since day one, Greg and I knew we wanted dark hardwood floors. We’ve read and researched the pros and cons of choosing to go with the dark stain (more susceptible to scratches, requires more frequent dusting, etc), but our love for the luxurious and modern look outweighed the cons.

Another thing we had to think of is the fact a lot of our furniture has either a black/brown tone or is bright white. Therefore, we wanted to steer clear of stains in the red family. Our style is more modern traditional (or as we like to call it Martha Stewart meets Jonathan Adler) than traditional. So in our case, the darker brown tones are the way to go.

After weeding out all of the ultra light and red-toned colors, we ended up with these three options: Dark Walnut, Ebony and Jacobean.

Dark Walnut is Greg’s favorite. He likes how the wood grain is more evident on the sample. However, since this is just a sample, it may look a tad different on our floor. So we are anxious to see a sample of it applied to our floor.

My favorite is the Ebony stain. I have always been a huge fan of dark, dark hardwood floors so this was the one I picked within 5 seconds of being handed the deck. Now that I’ve had a few hours to mill it over, I’m thinking that it may be too dark. I’m not too keen on having to dust/sweep twice a day, everyday. But again, we won’t know until we see a bigger sample on our floor.

My close second favorite is Jacobean. And it’s just fun to say… “Jacobean, Jacobean…”. Greg likes this one a lot as well. A part of me is thinking that maybe it isn’t dark enough. Only if there were something between this one and the Ebony. I’ve got a feeling that we might end up picking this one. But that could all change once we see a sample in the house.

Do any of you out that have any hardwood advice? Weather it be about maintenance or picking out stain color, we would love to hear it!

Btw, want to stay updated via Facebook? Just click here! And while you are there, be sure to suggest 7th House on the Left to your friends and family. To do that, all you do is click the “Suggest to Friends” button under the profile photo and send the page link to all of your friends! We really appreciate it! Bentley does too πŸ˜‰

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  • Reply
    Hannah B
    October 8, 2010 at 10:41 am

    We used Minwax Dark Walnut for our floors!! We also wanted dark flooring. I think Dark Walnut is the perfect balance between dark and not being too dark as to look black or unlike hardwood. Dark Walnut does show up things but not NEAR as bad as a darker color would. It’s a beautiful color. An idea we did was to stain the floor under the refrigerator with different colors and look and see which looks good in the house with the lighting or in a closet that is hardwood. I vacuum regularly with my regular vacuum on gentle floor setting and use method wood floor care.

    • Reply
      October 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm

      Really?! We definitely want dark floors but still want it to look like wood and not black – so that’s really good to know! Thanks, Hannah!

      • Reply
        October 26, 2016 at 12:30 am

        Hi, where did you get that stain sample booklet? I’ve been looking everywhere.

        • Reply
          May 9, 2017 at 12:45 pm

          It was lent to us by our floor guy.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I’ve always wanted dark hardwood floors too. But when it came time to pick out the stain, I chickened out and opted for a medium brown. I’m anxious to see how yours turns out! Then maybe I can talk my husband into letting us restain ours πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      October 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks! Haha, Hope we can help πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    October 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Being as young as you are, in the long run you are going to be SO glad you decided to renovate debt free! Great decision! Also, we have dark hardwood floors too. It’s definitely a lot more upkeep than lighter wood but we feel like its worth the look.

  • Reply
    linda b
    October 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I’d recommend going with the lightest of the three. Or maybe even a little lighter. You can always darken it up later down the road.

  • Reply
    Sara Bowery
    October 8, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    You will be so happy that you got all of the “gritty work” done before you refinish the floors! We refinished ours before all of our bathroom tiling was finished and we had to get someone to come back and touch up the floors. It was absolute murder!

  • Reply
    Life with Kaishon
    October 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    We have dark walnut and I LOVE it! How smart are you to do this debt free! I wish we had done that when we moved in. We have a lot of 0% cards now and I have panic attacks when I think about how they will end soon. Money : (

    • Reply
      October 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      Oh, we know the feeling! It’s good to know so many people love the dark walnut! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    April Moss
    October 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I agree, you two are very smart to do this debt free! I wish we had done that too! You will be so much happier when you move in DEBT FREE. That’s just awesome.

  • Reply
    Gina G
    October 9, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Good post πŸ™‚ Nice to know what’s going on behind the scenes!

  • Reply
    B Brown
    October 9, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I know whatever you choose, it is going to be gorgeous! I am so conservative that I would probably go with the Jacobean. Your wood furniture is dark enough that it may get lost in the color of the floor.

  • Reply
    Tammy J
    October 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Don’t forget about dog hair! We have dark hardwood floors and a dog that sheds all of the time and it’s so annoying to have to clean all of the time.

    • Reply
      October 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Sure thing! Pomeranians are known for shedding a lot. But lately we’ve been keeping Bentley’s hair pretty short. We also have him groomed regularly. This cuts shedding down tremendously — actually, he rarely sheds at all. Which makes us really happy πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Clint & Jessica
    October 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    While my husband does flooring for a living, some of my most favorite results have been from his creations of two or more stains! While this does add some extra cost, it does also add value. You will have to weigh the look and cost for yourself.

    If you were to apply Greg’s favorite to the bulk of the floor, you would still be able to add boarders in your favorite Ebony and even a few touches of the Jacobean , if you chose. It does give more of a retro or antique eligance, but depending on the look you are seeking could give a lot of charm and personality to your floors!

    • Reply
      October 18, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      That is such a great idea! Love it! We will definitely talk to our floor guy about that. Thanks so much for the advice πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      October 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      I love this idea, too!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2011 at 1:34 am

    I’ve just found your blog so am weighing in rather late on the floor issue! We are leaning toward walnut solid flooring in the house we are currently building. If I noticed correctly in your more recent posts, it looks like you went with walnut or Jacobean…right? It looks GREAT! Nice job.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Which floor color did you finally decide on??

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

      Dark Walnut and we LOVE it! You can read more about the decision making process here.
      Hope it helps! : )

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Thanks for the reply. I was hoping all those beautiful pics of your floors throughout your other posts was of the Jacobean… as we just chose that stain color for our floors. We hope it will turn out as beautiful as yours did with the dark walnut though.

  • Reply
    October 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    This is a really nice guide. It’s good to know that there are a lot of different colors for wood stains.

  • Reply
    Mike Mahoney
    July 5, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Looking for a new fan deck that has all 22 colors to replace told one that has been lost!!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    We have Ebony in our current house. I love it but it does show dog hair!!! We have a yellow lab that sheds a lot, not a good mix. We are getting ready to move and I need to pick a color for our new house. I wanted Classic Gray however there are some stains on the wood that it may not cover. Ebony covered any stains very well. What to do, what to do!

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