August 17, 2007

Bamboo vs White Oak

We have been researching flooring uptions for the upstairs since last October...

At first, we opted for carpet - cheaper than hardwood (or so we thought), softer underfoot and more durable, especially under St. Bernard foot... Well, turns out carpet was not cheaper - when padding and installation were factored in, it was almost the same cost as oak flooring. Sure, we could have gone with the astro-turf like Home Depot weave at 75 cents/sf, but we really had our hearts set on a more commercial grade carpet or carpet tile, something more along the lines of Bentley Prince Street Entendre Tip-Sheared carpet. It's not that we're carpet snobs... we're just saving the astro-turf for LATER... much later... if we ever build a putt-putt range in our backyard later. The other concern about going with carpet was dust. We still have the entire first floor to gut rehab... which means dust. Lots and lots of dust. Carpet absorbs dust. Thereby, new carpet gets trashed... not an option.

We then started looking at hardwood flooring options - first choice being bamboo, second choice being oak. I've worked on a couple of commercial interior jobs which have a bamboo flooring installation. Also, my friend Wendy just had bamboo flooring installed in their newly rehabbed home (which we saw when we visited them, back in March). It's so nice... plus it's rapidly renewable. However, oak is cheaper, and we have a tight budget... so... we decided if bamboo and oak are around the same price range, we'll go with bamboo, otherwise, it will have to be oak.

We decided to go with carmelized vertical grain bamboo flooring by Teragren, finished on-site (swedish finish = 3 finish coats). Raw materials, excluding installation and finishing, came out to $6.65/sf. Installation and finishing = approx. $3.30/sf. Ouch.
We decided to go with white oak, finished on-site (1-2 coats of drifast quick dry stain and 3 coats of bona traffic finish top coat). Raw materials, installation and finishing came out to around $7.00/sf.

Oak it is.

Installation will start on/around August 27th, so they will be delivering the flooring strips sometime next week, so that the wood can acclimate. Installation should take about one week. That means, Labor Day weekend, we may be able to move upstairs... I'll believe it when I see it!

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