If you're looking to give your home that warm, cozy feeling, hardwood floors might be the right solution for you. This single mom decided hardwood floors were key to transforming her house into a home. Armed with a project plan, a budget and a thoroughly vetted hardwood flooring contractor, she's ready to go.
Homeowner: Brenda Rivas
Project: Replace carpeting from the entire second floor and first floor living room with hardwood floors.
Brenda Rivas is a single mom of three living in the suburbs of Miami. Her 2,400 square foot town home is part of a planned community that is a mix of extravagant homes and town houses. The home has 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. She shares the home with her children, her elderly father and two dogs.
Brenda works from home as an operations strategy consultant for service driven businesses. To do her best work, she needs an environment that will support and nurture her creativity. She feels that replacing the carpeting with hardwood flooring would add the perfect touch.
The carpeting in question is in good shape and a neutral color, but the kitchen has beautiful white tile and the entryway is a wood floor. Brenda feels the carpeting makes the first floor feel disjointed. She has owned homes with hardwood floors throughout and prefers the warm cozy feeling wood flooring provides.
Challenges Installing Hardwood Floors
Brenda faced two challenges when doing the research to replace her carpet with hardwood floors. First she had to pick the type and color of hardwood flooring. Then she had to select a reliable flooring contractor to do the work. When choosing the flooring Brenda was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices available. Between her kids, their friends, the dogs and her father's caregivers, her home is a high traffic area. After looking at lots of information online, Brenda decided her hardwood floors needed:
- To be a wood that would wear well, meaning one of the harder woods.
- To be easy to maintain for her busy lifestyle.
- To come from a sustainable source.
Ultimately, Brenda chose a 3” solid Brazilian walnut (learn more about this wood, also known as Ipe). The finish is darker than oak, and Brenda loves the warm red tones of the wood.
Choosing a Flooring Contractor
Bad experiences with home renovation projects in the past has taught Brenda that research and education will insure she gets the results she wants. In the past, she wasn't as diligent as she could have been about checking references and asking for examples of previous work. As a result, she was less than pleased with the outcome of some of her projects.
This time she took her time and asked numerous friends and associates for flooring contractor recommendations. When she did locate a contractor she thought might be able to do the job to her specifications, she throughly vetted his references and asked for examples of previous work installing hardwood floors.
Have a Plan For Every Remodeling Project
The back bone of Brenda's hardwood floor project is her project plan. Brenda works from home, is responsible for three children, and her elderly father. If this project was going to be accomplished without Brenda losing her mind, she needed a very clear understanding of what was going to happen when. To create the project plan, Brenda:
- Set her priorities, e.g. the downstairs had to be completed first.
- Reviewed her professional and family calendar and the contractor’s availability. During her planning, Brenda consulted her contractor regularly and he signed off on her plan in the end.
- Made notes as she planned of the supplies and labor that would be needed for each milestone. For example, when could she line up friends to help her move furniture? As she continued her planning, Brenda realized she was going to need boxes to pack up the bedrooms. She also realized she was going to need area rugs.
- Included extra time and money in preparation for unforeseen circumstances, which is the contingency Tina recommends for every remodeling project.
Tips From a Homeowner: Selecting & Installing Hardwood Floors
Brenda encourages anyone considering a home renovation project to take the time to research your project before you begin. It is critical for the primary decision maker to educate themselves so they have a strong foundation of knowledge when speaking with potential contractors.
Knowledge and a clear understanding of what you want will reduce the chances that someone will take advantage of you. Work with your contractor and suppliers to have a realistic project plan and a budget that has room for extras. For Brenda, knowing the “why” of her home improvement projects keeps her focused and motivated and makes it much more likely she'll complete the projects she starts. For Brenda, this project is “the missing piece in making my home absolutely perfect for me!”
Brenda Rivas is the founder and owner of Avanté Strategy. Using her experience working with several multi-million dollar businesses and running her own business, Brenda provides small business owners with operations strategy and business process consulting, implementation and training services. Her company can also help implement your virtual business, from business process redesign, information and website design and more.
Thanks for profiling my project Tina! Will keep you posted on the final results!
Brenda, I’m excited to see the after photos, of both your living room & upstairs.