25 May 2009

Refinished Oak Floors

One of the first "finish" steps in the remodel has been completed. It is so motivating! We have been living in plastic, construction paper, and dust for so very long. With all of that removed and our floors in a final finish state, it feels like such a milestone.

We had originally wanted to install entirely new hardwood flooring, using wide plank local Oregon myrtlewood. Although it is not FSC-certified wood, it is a very green option in terms of being local and relatively quickly renewable. More so, it's just a beautiful wood with ashy and olive-y undertones. With budgetary constraints, however, we instead opted to refinish our existing (and fairly new) narrow plank oak flooring.

Before (red floors) and After (nutmeg/medium brown floors):

Our previous floor had a very red, artificial looking appearance. Some people actually wondered if it was Pergo even though it was a real solid hardwood. Since it was prefinished flooring, it also had very deep grooves between boards. The grooves actually do not bother me like they bother some people. I really hated the color of the floors though, as well as the high gloss finish which showed every smudge, smear, and bit of dirt. I also dislike the narrow strips of 2 1/4" width.

Most remodeling projects involve compromises and ours has been no different. Though my heart was set on using myrtlewood, I decided I could still love our new kitchen with refinished oak flooring even with the thin strip widths. I couldn't love it with the same color, though. So, we elected to save some money, skip the myrtlewood, and restain/refinish the floors with a matte finish. The new color is a combination stain of "nutmeg" and "medium brown." The grooves are now sanded down smoothly as well which is a nice bonus as far as cleaning the floors go (less chance of trapping crumbs and the like).

I am liking our new floors way more than I thought I would! I am now actually relieved we didn't choose to spend the money on myrtlewood. Although I love myrtlewood in and of itself, the olivey/ashey hints of color were actually becoming problematic to design with as I was searching for other finishes -- so many stains and colors were too yellow, too red, etc, all clashing heavily with the myrtlewood. Finding things to "go with" this new floor stain has been considerably easier than the way my luck was running with myrtlewood.

And while myrtlewood is a good green "conscious" option... the best green option, of course, is usually to just reuse what you already have.

Almost full-length photo of great room in natural light at 4pm:
On a non-flooring note, you can see in the above picture that the stair wall has been cut down to a pony wall. Also the two cutouts in the stair wall are for the recessed speedcook oven, which fits just under the stair landing, as well as the recessed easel that we added to the kitchen design as one of our last steps. I had wanted iron or wood balusters with a rail for hardwood stairs. Again, budgetary constraints dictated compromises so I had to stick with my carpeted stairs and use a pony wall. We turned lemons into lemonade by recessing a cute little easel into the stair wall where the balusters would have been.

For now, our project is on hold for two weeks as the new floor topcoat cures. We are supposed to have no heavy-footed contractors with tools in the house, risking damage to our floors while everything sets. At the end of two weeks, we will have some painting done, baseboards put back in place, and furniture moved back into a couple rooms of the house. Then flooring protection will be reinstalled in the kitchen area, and work will proceed to actually installing cabinets in the kitchen!
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Paul Anater said...

Progress! You must be thrilled to have that out of the way. You have me really intrigued by the idea of Mytlewood. I've never heard of it before. Sounds like it's time for a Google image search.

Rachele said...

Myrtlewood (or with a space - "myrtle wood") grows in only two places in the world, I was told -- the West Coast, in Southern Oregon and Northern CA, as well as in Israel. It is also called California bay laurel.

There's lots of really bad pictures of myrtlewood online. Here's a couple links:

fairly accurate photo of unfinished myrtle wood:

(You typically finish it with a clear sealer, though the sealer does add some yellow/warmth... see next photos)

good summary product info page:

sample installation photo:

walton02 said...

Thanks for the informative post.
Another option is that you can opt for the oak laminate flooring as it can also help you to add a rich color to your home. It will allow you to create the same rich yet very warm feel in your home usually created by the hard woods.

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