Installing the hardwood floor in the kitchen
Before the sanding and finishing was done

Hardwood Floors

Like all finish materials, we took a lot of time trying to decide what type of wood to use. Even within a particular species, there are a lot of choices to be made. Eventually we decided on rustic hickory, in part because it is a very hard wood (about 50% harder than oak) but mostly because we really liked the rich character. We were attempting to go for an old world type of design in our house, and we felt the knots and color variations in the wood helped to accomplish that.

My sister-in-law's family owns a hardwood flooring company (Croft Beck Floors in Salt Lake City), so finding the right contractor was easy! Their crews are seasoned veterans; the guy on our job has been installing hardwood floors for 25 years.

Besides choosing the wood, we had to choose a stain. After we saw the wood go down, we loved the natural colors so much that we decided to keep it that way - they applied the urethane with no stain at all. They looked great.

We learned that there are a few challenges with hardwood floors. First, the wood has to dry sufficiently in order to prevent buckling and cracking after the floor is installed. Fortunately, the wood was quite dry upon delivery, but even still it had to continue to dry and acclimate to our house for a couple of weeks before installation could begin. Second, when the hardwood floors are being finished, you have to keep everyone and everything out of the house. This was a challenge because as the project was approaching completion, we had literally dozens of contractors that would show up at random times to do very small finish-up items.

They did an absolutely wonderful job installing the floors, and they turned out great. The wood is throughout the kitchen, entry & powder room, adding a lot of warmth and character.

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