Goldilocks was on to something.  There is just right… and then there is everything else.

At the end of the day, you want all your projects to wind up in your own personal “Goldilocks Zone” (yes, I am re-appropriating that phrase from astrophysics) where everything has come out just as you wanted.  You’ve done all the research and legwork. You’ve invested time, energy and money.  Now you want to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor with that deeply satisfying feeling of “just right.”

Installing a new floor is no different.  After the deliberation, discussion and planning- you are finally ready to go all in on your new floor and start enjoying your newly transformed space.  But this is a crucial moment where you need to (please forgive the pun) take a page out of Goldilocks’ book and make sure what you are getting is just right.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for ensuring that you get the floor you want.

A picture says a thousand words…
It is no secret that any company is going to want to show its product under the best possible circumstances.  However, there is a general lack of knowledge concerning the amount of work that goes into setting up those best possible circumstances.   Suffice to say, it’s a lot.

This leads to tip number one: Do not make a purchase based solely off of a picture.  Pictures are a great way to get a visual idea of what a floor will look like.  Keep in mind, however, that the what you are looking at was probably set up and shot in a studio under perfect conditions. Real life will, more likely than not, look a bit different.

A piece of the whole.
If you are buying a floor- you have probably seen more sample boards than you would care to count.  Sample boards are wonderful tools for letting you get a tactile sense of the floor while showing it off in real life conditions.  Many retailers will even let you take the board with you to get a sense of how it will look in your space.

Tip two:  Do not make a purchase based only on a display board.  A display board- even an exceptionally large one- is a very small section of the series.  How a display board is manufactured will have a significant impact on the amount of color and character variation that will be reflected. Keeping this in mind will certainly help mitigate potential surprises.

A tree is a tree… right?
Even if you’ve never thought about it specifically, you probably know that all trees are different.  Nature loves variety and of the roughly 3 trillion trees estimated to live on the planet at the moment, no two are going to be exactly the same.  Each is going to have its own unique characteristics that tell the story of its life.

Tip three:  Know what your floor is made of.  There are a significant number of factors that will affect the final look of your floor, from species and cut to stain and fillers.  Understanding that any natural hardwood floor is going to fall into a range of color and character is vital to making a choice that is going to fit in your vision of just right.

Last Looks
At this point- you’ve done enough homework to feel pretty confident in your choice of flooring.  Congratulations!  You are now ready to make a purchase!  But because we are shooting for just right, here are three last recommendations to ensure you wind up with a floor you love.

Tip four:  Buy one box first.  Take one box home and lay it out in your space before you commit to the full purchase.  This will give you a much clearer idea of what you are going to see once the full floor is installed and may save considerable amounts of time, energy and money if it turns out to fall outside of your “Goldilocks Zone.”

Tip five: After purchase- open a few boxes and lay them out while they are acclimating.  Acclimating your floors is a vitally important step (for more information check out our blog on acclimation here) and should not be skipped or abbreviated.  So, during this time, we encourage checking a few boxes to ensure that any surprises you encounter from this point on, are happy ones.

Tip six:  Be present at the beginning of the installation.  This is your final sign off, and once the floor is installed, it becomes an entirely different issue if you dislike it.  Taking a bit of time to make sure you are going to love the final product before you are fully committed can make a world of difference, even at this late stage of the game.  As a bonus, professional floor installation is pretty cool to watch.

Ultimately, it all boils down to taking the time to make sure the floor you install is the floor you love.  With all of the flooring options available today, odds are, that “just right” floor is out there waiting for you to find it.  Just remember the lessons of Goldilocks and keep going until you find it.

Also- Tip seven: Do NOT steal from bears.

For additional information concerning your floors, please visit our frequently asked questions.  You can also request 3 free samples of any of our flooring products, find local retailers, or contact our team of flooring experts to answer your lingering questions.