Choosing Hardwood

September 10, 2015

There was never any doubt– hardwood was the only option for the main floor.  The richness, class, and perfect flow with both modern and traditional cannot be beat.  But just because we had decided on hardwood doesn’t meant that was the only decision we needed to make.  There are all kinds of wood, stains, plank sizes, different patterns, and with each of those decisions comes a unique set of things to consider and cost variations.  Today I’m sharing what we settled on, why, and what I wish I had known beforehand.  Here we go: my process for choosing hardwood for the #staggreno.

First up:  wood type.  For this home, I chose white oak.  Why white oak?  Several reasons.  It’s practical (read, it doesn’t scratch too easily), it’s on the lower end for cost, and it had the right color tone I was looking for– not yellow.  One thing to note, some oak has a lot of grain.  I don’t dig a lot of grain, so white oak was a good choice.

Next, the plank size.  Now, there are all different sizes of planks and the wider the plank, the more expensive it gets.  However, there isn’t much of a price jump from one size to another if you stay under 5 inches.  We went with 4 inch planks and I think it’s jusssssst right.


Once the floors went down, it was time to choose a stain.  I had an image in my head of what I wanted them to look like and we tried out several stain options.


Left clear coat, right light stain.

Neither of them felt right– not even the clear coat.  It just felt too yellow.  My heart wanted whitewash.

There are two different ways to whitewash: flash the wood with water first to open up the pores then put down the white wash.  This will be a more dramatic, whiter finish.

The second is to simply put down the white wash on the floor.  This will be a less saturated look.  That’s exactly what I wanted.

I had them try a whitewash sample.  It looks sort of bluish in comparison to the stain, but I promise it is amazing on a larger space.image3

The flooring guys protested.  They don’t like whitewash because it’s a lot of work to make look even.  I’m sure glad I didn’t listen to them and stuck to my guns because the floors turned out beautifully.


Don’t you love it?

Now, a couple things to know if you’re going the whitewash route: know that they don’t patch easily.  If you damage them and need to repair an area, you have to sand down the entire surface and re-stain it.  Unfortunately we learned this the hard and painful way.  Our painter stuck down a cover on the floor after it was finished to protect it during ceiling painting.  Unfortunately, he used a tape that stuck too firmly to the floor and damaged it once we pulled it up.  That meant right before we moved in, they had to sand the entire thing down and re-stain it.  What an expensive nightmare.  The painter felt awful but it was an honest mistake.

Also, pick up some furniture pads no matter what stain you go with.  These little chair leg sleeves are the best ever and I wish they came in shoe size so I could cover every single person’s shoes who comes in the house.  They are great for barstools, small table legs, and chairs.  Seriously, buy some and you’ll understand.

Honestly though, even with the re-staining headache (more like a migraine), it was still worth it.  They turned out exactly as I envisioned and I love them dearly.

This week I have more fun posts coming up and next week starts a big reveal– the kitchen!  All week I’ll be sharing every detail of the finished kitchen and you guys, it’s my favorite.  Ok, I feel that way about most of the house.  But really, it’s goooood.  Get ready for #staggreno kitchen week starting Monday!

As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and the virtual hip bumps, friends.  xx


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  1. juanita says:

    ohemgee!! looks gorgeous! this is def. what i need in my life!

  2. Ann C says:

    So love the floors. Just wondering did they put a polyurethane down after staining it to protect the wood?

    • Administrator says:

      Thank you so much! I should have included that. No poly– we did a water base top coat instead. No smell, dries faster, love it.

  3. Sarah says:

    So glad you went with the white wash – looks amazing. I can see how drastically different it looks on a small area compared to the entire floor. Can’t wait for the final reveal!

    xo, Sarah

  4. TradesmanNow says:

    That white oak really makes for stunning floorboards. The grain really pops and adds some beautiful natural texture to the space. Nice choice.

  5. Julie says:

    Hello! We are closing on our new house in a couple of weeks and as we’ve been looking over flooring options I remembered LOVED yours when I saw them when you first posted.

    We are in Utah too and wondered if you would mind sharing where you got the flooring from and/or who you used for the install.

    Thank you!

  6. Kristen Brynestad says:

    These floors are beautiful and I’m going to copy for our house. First question when you say “white wash” what exact stain did you use? Our contractor uses Minwax. I’ve also seen Duraseal Country White? And then I see it was a water based top coat, is there only one finish with that or did you choose matte? We have white oak in two room and then red oak in the kitchen. Do you think it would look ok on red oak? I’m afraid it will end up pink!
    Thank you!!

    • Jen says:

      Hello! I would test it out on a small section. Our contractors flashed the wood with water to open up the pores, then used white paint, then wiped it off and sealed it, creating a true white wash. I hope that helps!

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