It’s so hard to say goodbye… to hardwood.

Word of advice when it comes to planning a kitchen: if you’re inexperienced like us, be prepared for things to not go your way. Just when you think you have things figured out, you run into a roadblock. And then you kinda have to jump through hoops, do a hundred jumping jacks and then a few rounds of hula-hooping before you get back on track. It really is an obstacle course. I’ve found that taking a few steps forward, a few steps back and then a few steps forward again is what this remodeling game is all about. And gradually, I’m starting to freak out less and less when we hit snags here and there. Or rather, everywhere.

Speaking of snags, we hit a big one a few weeks ago with the kitchen hardwood floors. Remember how we cut back the linoleum and plywood in the kitchen and hit the hardwood jackpot? (See that story here.) Well, said jackpot turned out to be a pot of fool’s gold. Because while the bottom layer of our floors is hardwood, it’s not the same wood that was laid throughout the house. The flooring throughout the house is oak. And the hardwood in the kitchen is yellow pine. Two very different types of wood, as evidenced in the photos below.

Yellow Pine

Photo courtesy of Muscanell


Photo courtesy of Brownstoner

Obviously, the coloring is very different. The yellow pine is much lighter, while the oak is darker and warmer. The yellow pine also has a very rustic, cabin feel. Which is cool if you’re interested in turning your kitchen into a ski lodge. (Which for the record, I am not.) Yellow pine is also a softer wood. In fact, some sources on the Internet wouldn’t even put it into the hardwood floor category because it’s so soft. And thanks to the info over at Rediscovercny, I learned that yellow pine ranks #2 after Douglas Fir wood on the Janka test, which ranks hardwood hardness.

See, yellow pine is a real softie.

Photo courtesy of Rediscovercny

To add more insult to injury, the yellow pine in our kitchen is thicker in width than the oak floors throughout the rest of the house. So much for a seamless flow.

We did speak to a hardwood floor refinisher to determine if we could harness the power of Tim Gunn and “make it work”. And he said that even staining the yellow pine to match the oak floors would make for an odd look.

So the question became, do we want to lay down oak hardwood or should we venture into the wonderful world of tile? Well, I think we found our answer today when we visited a company called ProSource Flooring. They work with trade professionals and sell flooring at wholesale prices. But luckily, the company I work for offers pricing at the ProSource membership rate to all employees.

So  this time, we really hit the jackpot. After working with the store manager, we’re pretty much sold on Armstrong’s line of Alterna vinyl flooring. At under five dollars a square foot (wholesale price), it’s a crazy good deal. The 16×16 tiles are very easy to install, and with us being first-time remodelers, ease is a high priority. Here is the sample that ProSource let us take home today.

This taupe/gray color is our top pick.

We also considered hardwood floor options, but a few things steered us away from that route.

  1. The only way to lay hardwood on top of hardwood is to lay the new layer in the opposite direction as the old layer. Otherwise, the stability of the floors becomes very weak. So if we were to proceed with laying the new hardwood in the opposite direction, it would lay perpendicular to the rest of the hardwood in the house. Not sure if that’s technically a design no-no, but I’m not willing to risk it.
  2. We’re always thinking of our big bundle of joy, The Bear. And I can just imagine him scratching up brand new hardwood floors as he darts through the kitchen on the way to the backyard. Tile would be much more durable and better suited for a Bear of his size and off-the-wall energy level.
  3. Hardwood is harder to install, and the ProSource rep recommended it be installed by a professional. ‘Nuff said there. We’re leaving hardwood behind.
So once again, I feel like we’re making good progress. Today, I am a happy kitchen remodeling camper. Tomorrow, it could be a new snag, roadblock or fork in the road. We’ll see…


Filed under Home Improvement, Uncategorized

2 responses to “It’s so hard to say goodbye… to hardwood.

  1. you are brave to take on the kitchen remodel on your own. my fear is you may be saving on overall price or price per undertaking you are losing on time/effort/stress. I hope there are less snags along the way.

    • Thanks for your concern. But I think the stresses are only natural, considering we’re first-timers. We’ve got expert carpenters in the family who will be helping us once the demo and installation begins. So we’re not completely on our own. Thankfully.

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