About this time last year, we had just moved into our home. My head was on a high comparable to my three year after a bag of Skittles. SO MANY IDEAS! SO MANY PROJECTS! THIS PLACE IS GOING TO LOOK AMAZING!!! Now, a year later I am finally able to start making those ideas come to life. One of those crazy ideas was, ‘let’s get a puppy! The boys will have so much fun!’ I will say that most everyone, EVERYONE, in my life told me this would be a terrible idea.
“Now Ashley-Anne, I know you love dogs and yes, the boys would have so much fun! But shouldn’t you wait until Hubs gets home? It’s going to be a lot more work on top of your already full plate!”
Well…let’s just say I disagreed.
Hugo Baxter Wallace officially became part of our family in early March of 2017. A pure bred Giant Schnauzer from a wonderful family in Maryland. The boys were so excited to meet him. He was already a big lap dog at 10 weeks and now, at 10 months, he’s definitely giant.
We had his ears cropped, but only one took. His uni-ear totally fits his personality. We call it his ‘left turn signal.’
My inner OCD voice finally stopped wanting to fix it with some superglue and a popsicle stick just last week; it gave up.
So what does Hugo have to do with flooring? Isn’t it obvious? A large puppy? 2 little boys? White carpet? Yes…floors needed to be replaced. After too many carpet cleanings to count, and a few too many ‘maybe all of my family and friends were right about this puppy idea’ thoughts, Hubs and I decided to move replacing the flooring to the first priority in the order of march.
We planned on doing the entire first floor, the stairs, upstairs hallway and the master bedroom. I took measurements, added a 10% waste/fudge factor and came up with 1300 sqft.
Wood look tile or hardwoods? That was the question we had to answer. We knew two definite things:
- My sanity wouldn’t last much longer with white carpets in the common spaces and 2 1/4″ honey oak wood in the foyer and kitchen.
- When we get orders to our next assignment, we’re going to rent this place out. We need something that will last and can be repaired easily.
***Note: I am a historic preservationist with Colorado blood in my veins. That means I have a very high white blood cell count and am VEHEMENTLY opposed to using plastic for anything in my house (except for maybe the plumbing.) Vinyl floors are out – yes, they’re cheap, but hold no resale value. Yes, they’re waterproof, but when you have to rip one out due to UV fading that plastic strip goes where? That’s right…into a landfill. NOT COOL. Plus, they sound terrible when walking across in a pair of heels. Tile and wood have been used for thousands of years and have lasted, therefor they are good enough for my home. Rant over.***
I did my research, asked friends that had done both options and even called my realtor for her thoughts on resale value. I came to stalemate. Both options were good, like really good. One was waterproof, but cold on the feet. One was classic, but a little more dinero. How much more dinero? Tile equated to about $2.75 a sqft including the tile, backer board, mud, grout and needed tools. Solid hardwoods were anywhere from $2.50 to $10.00 a sqft. Our budget kept us within the $3.50 range – oh thank you budget, for narrowing down my seemingly endless choices. Engineered hardwoods were out because refinishing them isn’t really an option. Yes, I realize it can be done, but I’d much rather stick to the solids that have the potential of being redone more than once if needed.
One rainy Saturday afternoon, we went for some samples of both tile and wood at Lowes, Home Depot and Lumber Liquidators.
After I looked at all of the options, there was only one choice of hardwoods that really fit into our budget, but I wasn’t crazy about the color. It was the above 3 1/4″ Tudor Brazilian oak by Bellawood sold at Lumber Liquidators for $2.89 a sqft. Crazy good deal and there was enough square footage for my project. It was on clearance because some of the product in that particular set (not saying all of their product was this way), less than 10%, had slight defects. I was willing to work around that small factor. But…the color was a bit too red for my cool-muted-toned dreams for my house. I kept it as an option and continued to look.
I asked for a few quotes on the 5″ planks that Chris and I both agreed to just to see if my math was correct and yes, they were FAR outside our budget. I just couldn’t do the red oak, so I decided on tiles. I’ve laid tile before, this will be easy! If one cracks from us or future renters we can pop it out and replace it. Then I asked the question:
“Now can you show me some of the stair tread tiles? Wait…what? I could have sworn you just said that they don’t make those, ha! But seriously, I have 12 stairs that I need to cover. …….Oh, you were serious…”
Pop! That bubble just burst.
I needed some consoling. I put the boys to bed, then went to Pinterest. “Pinterest, you wouldn’t believe what I found out today….” “It’s okay sugar,” he said, “look at all of these pictures of people just like you that overcame the no-stair-tread-tile problem! You can totally do this, sweet cakes!” “Oh, I love you Pinterest, thank you for the encouragement!”
The next morning, removed from my romantic encouragement, my loved and hated OCD came knocking hard on my brain as soon I walked down the stairs – before coffee even! No! There will not be any 90 degree cuts for stair noses, nor will there be any metal snub nose trims! NO! FINAL ANSWER. Now, where is my coffee.
And just like that my mind was changed.
Back to the search. Remember that fateful Tuesday morning that I found our front door? If not, you can click HERE to read more about that adventure. That same morning, my oldest and I went to Floor & Decor. My little men are such troopers for not complaining about multiple trips to home repair and decor shops. Although today I did get asked before we went in, “Are there toys in this store?” “Define toys”, I replied. Our definitions were only slightly off.
If you haven’t been to a Floor and Decor, stop what you’re doing and go. It. Is. Amazing. Chances are there is one near by. So many beautiful tiles, rich floors, super nice people and the best part, INCREDIBLE prices. One of the representatives asked if he could help me find anything. My face must have been a combination of wonderment and being completely overwhelmed. Or he was just doing his job. I told him my budget, my preferences and he walked me up to this glorious sample:
Saddle Oak Smooth Solid Hardwood, my oh my, you are beautiful.
Color: Spot on, check.
Width: Greater than 3″ at 3 1/2″, check.
Solid Hardwood: Solid oak at 5/8″ – not quite 3/4″, but I was totally okay with that. check.
Price: Yes, a thousand times, yes!!!
Luckily, the Hubs was still awake because he didn’t have to work the next day (Veteran’s Day Weekend). Little Man and I FaceTimed him (for the second time that morning) to show him what we found. We talked it over and we both agreed that it hit all of our wickets and we really wanted this search to just be over. “Let’s do it, babe.” “Consider it done, babe!” We’re a good team like that.
Little Man and I celebrated – me, for having made the final flooring selection, and him, for getting to leave the store. We paid, had a good conversation with the clerk who was a Marine vet and skipped out of the door into the freezing rain! Now…who has a pneumatic floor nailor that I can borrow…
A few end notes:
- Total Cost: $5,201.38 (that includes the underlayment and one of the tile samples was $1.38.)
- Biggest Lesson Learned: Searching and shopping around in order to stay under budget totally paid off! (by $800 for us!)
- Best Tip: Talk to the store clerks, they know their inventory and product lines and if you tell them that you’re DIYing, they’ll be even more encouraged to give you some additional pointers.
- Most Favorite Part: Scoring that AMAZING deal after months of searching and opening my phone picture library to see the floor shopping documentary.