When building or remodeling, new flooring selections can be really stressful. It is a huge investment and something you will look at and touch constantly, so choosing something you love is important!
For our new build, I was looking for real wood floors to add warmth and coziness without being too orange, red, or gray. Whatever I selected also needed to feel both modern and rustic, without being too much of either. And a matte finish was non-negotiable. I avoided shiny surfaces as much as possible because they show dirt more. With those caveats in mind, I found an engineered hardwood (1st and 2nd floors) and an LVP (basement) that I love. I personally find them both to be timeless, and their colors and textures give me a lot of flexibility with decor.
After shopping around a bit for a supplier, I decided Boardwalk Hardwood Floors was the best fit for our flooring needs. They have a huge selection of gorgeous options in their showroom and are super knowledgeable about each product. They were the first supplier I looked at products with and no other suppliers I checked out measured up. And their prices were great too – a big deal when you need flooring for an entire house. The staff (Cathy!) helped me figure out how to achieve the look I wanted with the products I selected. They are now my go to for anything flooring or tile!
Hardwood floors were a “must-have” for our new home. They add such a sense of warmth and softness to a space - and with our allergies we could not have much carpet. I’ve lived in homes that have had true, stained, hardwood floors and can and do get damaged and scratched over time, especially if you have kids and dogs. Solution? Engineered Hardwood.
Engineered Hardwood Floors
Engineered hardwood flooring is a type of hardwood flooring that is made up of multiple layers of wood, with a top layer made from high-quality hardwood such as oak, maple, or cherry, while the lower layers are made from plywood, another hardwood, or high-density fiberboard (HDF). The layers of wood are glued together in a cross-grain construction, which provides the flooring with greater stability and resistance to changes in temperature and humidity compared to solid hardwood flooring. A protective coating is typically added to the surface to make it even more durable and easy to clean. Additionally, the top layer can usually be sanded and refinished to restore its original appearance, making engineered hardwood a durable and long-lasting flooring option.
Our home features Valaire Nouvelle French White Oak Engineered Hardwood. The wood has a ton of grain variation and a range of warm tones. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it - sometimes you just have that gut feeling about something! It has a distressed, wire brushed finish to give it a slightly rustic look and an ultra-matte top coat making it super durable and scratch resistant. It’s also easy to clean with just a vacuum or dry mop without any special products.
The entire main floor and second floor of the house have the engineered hardwood, with the exception of the upstairs bathrooms. I can attest to its durability - our golden retriever’s nails have left zero marks on the floors, and they damage everything else!
Additionally, this particular engineered hardwood is free from VOC, is CARB2 certified (tested and verified to have low formaldehyde emissions), is CA Prop 65 compliant, and is made from certified PEFC renewable plantation hardwood. Making sure we were using clean products as much as possible was super important for my chronic autoimmune issues.
Engineered hardwood flooring is durable and long-lasting
✔ LOW MAINTENANCE:
Super easy to clean with just a vacuumn / broom and a dry mop. The matte finish hides dirt between cleanings.
✔ REAL WOOD:
Made from real French White Oak with beautiful variations in tone and grain. Distressed, wire-brushed finish for a slightly rustic look.
Free from VOC, PEFC and CARB2 certified, CA Prop 65 compliant / certified, and made from renewable plantation hardwood
Our basement flooded three times during the historic rainstorms in July 2022 due to a faulty sump pump. We have since replaced the old pump and installed a second one on a battery backup so it never happens again. I am super sensitive to mold and we were not willing to risk mold growth, so unfortunately, we had to tear out the wet drywall, insulation, and the existing flooring. The original flooring was a mix of carpet and LVP, but I was not in love with either, so this was a chance to make some better selections.
What did I want to put on the concrete floors now? Well, I had a few thoughts. As the old vinyl flooring was pulled up, we noticed that the planks were holding onto water like sponges and mold had already begun to grow underneath. So, any new flooring needed to be both waterproof and antimicrobial. Hardwood isn’t waterproof, so that was not a viable option in a space that could *technically* flood or have moisture. We also chose not to put carpet back in the main open space because it was not great for allergies. That meant the new flooring would cover the entire basement (except the bathroom) needed to coordinate well with the real hardwood.
Torly's EverWood Elite
Thanks to Boardwalk Hardwood Floors, we discovered Toryls® Smart Flooring. They are a Canadian company that is known for innovative, realistic, easy to maintain, green flooring. They offer pretty much any kind of floor you would need from hardwood to leather (yes, leather!) and so many options in between. All their floors are VOC free, and CARB and FloorScore® certified. I had a lot of fun looking through all the options on their site and in the showroom, and after taking a couple samples home, I chose the EverWood Elite™ Vinyl in the color Brook Falls.
The EverWood Elite line met all my criteria for the basement and then some. It is waterproof, antimicrobial, and looks real! The planks have a cork backing which means they will feel warm underfoot (our old floor was freezing cold) and walking on them will be much quieter. The planks are also nice and wide, just like our hardwood, so it will match nicely.
Why Torly's EverWood Elite?
✔ REALISTIC WOOD LOOK:
Designed to be randomly spaced and textured, giving it an authentic hardwood appearance.
Scratch-resistant, waterproof, and stain-resistant - ideal for our kid + dog family
✔ LOW MAINTENANCE:
Requires only sweeping or vacuuming and occasional mopping.
✔ WARM & QUIET:
The cork bottom layer prevents heat and sound transfer
✔ EASY INSTALL & REPAIRS:
Planks have a unique locking system without the need for adhesives or nails and can be removed easily for replacement if needed
Basements are typically more prone to moisture and humidity than other parts of the house, which can cause hardwood floors to warp, buckle or cup. Wood is a porous material that can absorb moisture, leading to swelling and other damage. Even if the basement appears dry, it may still have high humidity levels that can negatively impact the hardwood flooring.
Hardwood floors require a stable and flat subflooring to be installed properly. Basements often have concrete floors, which are not suitable for nailing or gluing hardwood floors down. To install a hardwood floor in a basement, a subfloor would need to be installed first, which can add to the overall cost of the project.
Basements can have a wider range of temperature changes compared to other areas of the house, especially if it is not temperature-controlled. These changes in temperature and humidity can cause hardwood floors to expand or contract, leading to gaps or buckling.
Mold & Mildew
If moisture or humidity levels are not controlled in a basement, mold and mildew can form on the hardwood floors, which can cause health problems and can be difficult to remove.
Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP) or Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) are both great options for a basement because they can mimic the look of hardwood flooring while providing the durability and water-resistance needed for a basement.
Additionally, vinyl flooring is usually less expensive than hardwood flooring, making it a more cost-effective option for a basement. It's also easy to install, easy to clean, and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors, allowing homeowners to choose the look that best suits their design preferences.
Boardwalk Hardwood Floors actually has a sister company that it shares a showroom and staff with called Tiles of Distinction and is where I found all my marble tile. I am a bit of a marble fanatic and wish I had used it on more floors in the house. I just love the depth and bit of sparkle marble has when the light touches it and it feels so earthy to touch. So, even before walking into the showroom, I had my heart set on a large herringbone marble tile pattern for our primary bath.
After comparing several different types of marble, I chose Glacier as my fave. It has a bit of sparkle, is not very gray at all (it's more blue), and has soft veining that is not too high contrast. In order to get the exact look I wanted for the herringbone, we had to special order the 6” x 24” tiles, but the staff made it a breeze. The marble is honed, so not polished or shiny, and has held up perfectly with occasional washing with gentle soap and water. We have had zero stains or other issues.
The shower floor is also Glacier marble in the 1 inch hexagon tile mosaic. One thing to keep in mind when selecting flooring for a shower is how slippery it will be. The small tiles mean a lot of edges and grout lines which create great traction when you are barefoot on soapy stone floors. If they were larger, I think it may be too slippery. These too look just like they did after install with just gentle cleaning!
Hope you enjoyed the tour!
Still have questions? Feel free to message me, or click the link below to ask the experts at Boardwalk Hardwood Floors. Tell them you saw my house and have questions about the flooring we used - they will be able to help!