Grout Cottage: Hardwood Selection

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

Choosing what type of hardwood I wanted for the flooring in Apartment B was a lot less about style than it was about price per square foot. Sure, I wasn’t going to choose something so hideous that it would compromise the whole look but price was a huge factor.

Normally, we can salvage the existing hardwood floor. Fortunately, in the downstairs apartment we had amazing heart pine floors to refinish that came out beautifully. In apartment B (upstairs) we didn’t have that same luck. Also after you consider the time it takes to de-nail and very carefully pull up every floorboard without damaging it, cost would significantly increase. We had an uneven, uninsulated upper apartment floor, my attempt to salvage was overruled and the heart pine was gone.

It just so happens that the price of hardwood flooring has managed to increase significantly just since the summer of 2012. In 2004 we bought a closeout load of 5″ wide Brazilian cherry and Tigerwood flooring for around $2.89 per square foot unfinished. Today that same material is around $6.00 + per square foot depending on where you are shopping. So it was sticker shock at Moore Floors.

I went in to the showroom wishing for Hickory but willing to settle for white oak. But what I ended up with was pretty different.

  • Budget was $4 or less
  • Pre-finished
  • Solid wood

Here are the notes that the lovely Carla at Moore Floors wrote down for me,

grout floor notes

We jump in with Hickory first,

Hickory floor

and quickly jump back out because 2.25″ boards are $5.26 per square foot + its $2 a square foot to install. I need 550 square feet so that’s $4,000 for just flooring let’s not count the matching shoe mold I want and tax.

OK oak what’s going on with you,

oak floor

According to Carla this oak by Mullican is at good price right now. I can only tolerate white oak and natural, Gunstock is really on sale but I just can’t do Gunstock. The price for Mullican white oak is $4.46 per square foot.

Then Carla says in a really thick Southern accent, “lemme cawll this ma-an and see if he’s got any deals” yes Carla give him a ring-o.

The guy does have a deal, turns out he’s got what is referred to as “character grade” maple for $3.84 per square foot. They made too much at the mill and now they need to get rid of it. Sounds good, maple is pretty hard but what is the grade of wood. “Character grade” means darker mineral striations and filled knot holes in the boards. So a quick internet search yields these images,

character grade maple floor maple flooring

I’m ok with it and the price is too good to pass up. I signed on the line and in a little over a week I’ll become very familiar with character grade maple flooring.

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  • My boyfriend lucked out a couple years ago and got one of those kind of deals on hickory, which I now love. I was afraid it was going to look too country, but it looks great… and that character grade maple has some resemblance to the nice variation that hickory has. I’ll be crossing my fingers for you!

    • Gives me hope Jenn and now that you say that I guess it does have some resemblance to the natural Hickory

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