Otherwise entitled "Maple or Oak, Gloss or Semi-Gloss?". So, the Great Floor Debate (Part 1 and Part 2 here) is not totally solved...but we have a plan. And thanks for all your great feedback when I posted some inspiration photos of dark hardwood floors here.
To review...our downstairs currently has 4 different types of flooring. Like so:Not good for consistency, flow or making the space seem larger. Humph.
What has finally spurred us into action is the NASTY CARPET in the living room and family room. It has to go. To be replaced with hardwood. Soon. So, we must make a decision...how to unite all these spaces when we already have 2 other different hardwood floors going on - old skinny oak floor with a natural finish in the dining room and newer wider maple floors with a cherry finish in the kitchen and foyer.
We've thought about it, done some research, gotten some quotes. The most important component in this whole thing to us is color...we want a consistent finish in a color we like. So here's what we've decided to do:
1. Living Room and Family Room: install new unfinished hardwood floors (same width as the kitchen and foyer), stain new dark color that we like
2. Kitchen and Foyer: sand and re-stain (with our new darker color) existing maple hardwood floors
3. Dining Room: sand and re-stain (with our new darker color) existing oak hardwood floor
This way we will have one consistent stain color (that we've picked) throughout...and the same width boards in most of the rooms (except the dining room). So, like this:
***Cue angels singing!!!!*** We think this is the best decision for us at the current time. If we were starting from scratch, I would love to install really wide distressed planks, but it would turn out way more expensive than the unfinished wood and the labor for installing and staining it. And if we did that in only the 2 rooms, we'd still have inconsistency with the width of the boards and look of the other 2 rooms. And I would hate to tear up or go over the kitchen and dining room floors (which are completely in good shape) with the new stuff.
This leaves us with a couple of decisions still to make:
1. Which stain color to go with? Our floor guy is currently making us some samples of wood with more of a dark walnut vs. ebony stain...we already axed the red mahoganyish color because we felt the red undertones were too close to our current cherry finish that we don't want. I have a feeling I'll like the dark walnut (lighter) and Paul will like the ebony (darker) better, but we'll see:)
2. Should be put new maple (to match the kitchen) or new oak (to match the dining room) in the living and family room? The grain in maple is much more flat and smooth, so when stained the color is more consistent. This is what we have in the kitchen and foyer (the boards we are matching the new width to). Oak shows much more grain. The oak is way cheaper than the maple. Any thoughts on how the 2 hold up with wear compared to each other? Do you think its worth the extra money to match? Maybe the oak will give me more of the distressed look I like?
3. Should we go with a high gloss or semi-gloss for the poly/sealer? Any thoughts on this? Which finish shows less dirt/dust/scratches/wear and tear?
Would love to hear your advice on those last 2 questions! Thanks, guys! And remember...baby steps. That's how I roll.