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Builder hardwood or re-stain solid hardwood?

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  • Dec 28th, 2020 9:45 am
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 21, 2020
34 posts
39 upvotes

Builder hardwood or re-stain solid hardwood?

We are the in the GTA area. Our builder is installing 3" red oak solid flooring in the main floor standard, but the nicest upgrade (and the one we love the most) is almost 14K for a white oak stain wire brushed 5" engineered flooring (approx 1300 sq ft). Obviously you'll never get a great deal with the builder, but how bad is the up charge here?
The other option is to have the solid 3" sanded, stained, and sealed after we move in but I'm hearing that would be at least 8K for a good job, or are we being quoted too high/low for this?

Any thoughts appreciated.
21 replies
Member
Jan 21, 2011
469 posts
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GTA
Can you ask for carpet and use credit for something else?
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Dec 4, 2009
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Raysm85 wrote: We are the in the GTA area. Our builder is installing 3" red oak solid flooring in the main floor standard, but the nicest upgrade (and the one we love the most) is almost 14K for a white oak stain wire brushed 5" engineered flooring (approx 1300 sq ft). Obviously you'll never get a great deal with the builder, but how bad is the up charge here?
The other option is to have the solid 3" sanded, stained, and sealed after we move in but I'm hearing that would be at least 8K for a good job, or are we being quoted too high/low for this?

Any thoughts appreciated.
Builder is quoting you just over $10/sqft. If you can get the floor you love, installed (including floor removal), for less, then do it after. Either option though (staining or new install) means you won't be moving into your home once you get the keys. Something else to consider.

I'm loath to ever suggest going with the extortionate rates builders charge but you probably won't save much, in the grand scheme of things.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
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Jan 15, 2017
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Hard to comment without knowing the brand and grade of hardwood. Once you know the exact brand and grade of hardwood, you can go to flooring stores and compare prices.

As another poster has pointed out, the builder is charging about $10 sq ft installed. When you price aftermarket, you need to take a few things into consideration. Back taxes of 13% out and you are at about $9 sq ft. You could probably look at at least $2 sq ft to install. You will also need to look at removing and dumping what is there. This could be another $1 - 2 sq ft. This takes you to about $5 - $6 a sq ft for the actual hardwood. Doesn't seem like an outrageous price to me. Of course, this depends on the brand and grade that the builder would install.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 21, 2020
34 posts
39 upvotes
Thanks so much for the replies so far. The standard we're getting is Red Oak 3" in Natural by Vintage. And the upgrade we're looking at is Vintage White Oak 5" in Nautilus .

I could see what the carpet credit would be but I'm afraid it would be dismal or nonexistent (should I have negotiated it before we signed but it was a high interest release of lots and builder sales agent refused to budge on any extras). However, even without a credit, carpet install might make the removal easier vs removing solid hardwood.
Deal Expert
May 30, 2005
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Richmond Hill
skeet50 wrote: Hard to comment without knowing the brand and grade of hardwood. Once you know the exact brand and grade of hardwood, you can go to flooring stores and compare prices.

As another poster has pointed out, the builder is charging about $10 sq ft installed. When you price aftermarket, you need to take a few things into consideration. Back taxes of 13% out and you are at about $9 sq ft. You could probably look at at least $2 sq ft to install. You will also need to look at removing and dumping what is there. This could be another $1 - 2 sq ft. This takes you to about $5 - $6 a sq ft for the actual hardwood. Doesn't seem like an outrageous price to me. Of course, this depends on the brand and grade that the builder would install.
I agree, $10/sqft actually isn't terrible considering builder prices are usually out of the roof.
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Dec 4, 2009
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Raysm85 wrote: Thanks so much for the replies so far. The standard we're getting is Red Oak 3" in Natural by Vintage. And the upgrade we're looking at is Vintage White Oak 5" in Nautilus .

I could see what the carpet credit would be but I'm afraid it would be dismal or nonexistent (should I have negotiated it before we signed but it was a high interest release of lots and builder sales agent refused to budge on any extras). However, even without a credit, carpet install might make the removal easier vs removing solid hardwood.
I would do carpet if you can, credit or no credit, if you decide to do floors after closing. Itl be cheaper to remove than wood, you could even do it yourself. But you still need to get rid of it.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
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May 30, 2005
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Richmond Hill
Toukolou wrote: I would do carpet if you can, credit or no credit, if you decide to do floors after closing. Itl be cheaper to remove than wood, you could even do it yourself. But you still need to get rid of it.
One thing to consider is whether opting for carpet instead would make the builder go with a lower nosing in the stairs. If so, OP will incur costs to raise the nosing.
Member
Jan 21, 2011
469 posts
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GTA
Get a quote of how much it would cost to do 1300sf of hardwood after to see if it’s worth it. I would keep flooring size consistent.

If you wanna save some money, upgrade main to the floor you want and do hallway upstairs. Decide if you need bedrooms done or not. You can do them later on, but you will need transitions.

There might only be about $3-4000 different between contractor and builder, but would you want to be riping into a new house. Ask builder to throw in upgraded post and handrail at that cost.
Last edited by lamin on Dec 27th, 2020 10:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Oct 16, 2008
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OP,
Does the builder offer downgrade to carpet? If they don’t, why would they give buyer credit for carpet, there is more work for them!
Just bite the bullet and pay builder to upgrade if you want. Save you the hassle later on, dust and inconvenience.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
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OP, does the 1300 sq ft include the kitchen? Changing hardwood after closing if it is in the kitchen will be a major job as the floor is installed first and then the kitchen cabinets are installed on top of the floor.
Deal Guru
Feb 29, 2008
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You're always going to pay a lot more with the builder. Everyone knows this. The debate is whether the convenience is worth the extra cost. That's it. If you have hardwood in the kitchen it will be hard to take it up and put down new flooring. If you have tile then see if the builder will install carpeting and then you can just take it up and install hardwood later.

We opted for paying the upgrade because we had hardwood throughout and since it was in the kitchen, it would be hard to replace afterwards, plus stairs.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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Toronto
Can you get carpet instead of hardwood and save some money? $10 per foot installed is a good deal for premium hardwood product (I'd want to know the manufacturer before signing any deals). It would cost probably 2x that much if someone needed to rip out the existing hardwood flooring.

If it was me, I'd get the cheapest carpet I could from the builder if it was an option. Easy to pull out and then I'd install my own hardwood.

The standard hardwood they're installing is probably worth $4 per foot max at retail if you were buying it (I've never paid more than $6 for Preverco oak and birch hardwood, solid and engineered). So if the upcharge is $10, the total value to you is about $14 installed for your wide, wire-scraped planks.

Not a bad overall price, and the convenience, warranty etc. is something to consider with the builder as well. Do you really want to deal with refinishing or replacing floors after you take possession?

But again - who is the manufacturer of the hardwood? That's critical to know - you don't want made-overseas crap. You want made in Canada or US hardwood from a reputable manufacturer if you're shelling out that kind of money.
Member
Jan 21, 2011
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GTA
OP mentioned Vintage Hardwood is the manufacturer. I would imagine Vintage would cost about $6-8 after the fact for the same builder grade hardwood.

Just make sure to look at some houses before hand if you can too see their workmanship . I went with some Lauzon hardwood and I am not happy with it at all, Vintage was way better quality. Lauzon has issues with knots, discolouration and splitting on the edge as well as middle of the plank. Builder only had Kentwood and Lauzon, I liked the colour of Lauzon better on the sample piece.
Member
Dec 25, 2006
252 posts
70 upvotes
Restaining the 3" standard hardwood should cost around $2/sq.ft. Your estimate of $8k is high, even if it included stairs which cost $100+ for each step. If you do decide to go through with this approach, consider the following:
- get basic baseboard from builder and upgrade it during your restain job to a nice 5" or 7" trim. This will make the staining job much easier. Even consider asking the builder to not install baseboard. This does have added cost however and is optional. Otherwise expect to paint the baseboard the builder gives after the staining job
- as mentioned above, consider getting the builder to stain your staircase(s) the exact colour you wish. It will make your staining job easier and much cheaper
- purchase the standard hardwood in all areas needed (i.e. if you wish to have hardwood in the kitchen and the builder is giving tile, update and purchase the standard hardwood there too)
- restaining is a messy job which will take a few days


Goodluck with your choice and keep us posted.
Jr. Member
Mar 9, 2019
148 posts
73 upvotes
vintage red oak 3" when we purchased was 5.75/sqft plus the cost of install about 1-1.50/sqft in 2016. So prices do go up over the years. We had vintage 5" white oak Atlantis in our last house and the quality from vintage is great compared to other Canadian floors and I think the showroom is in Etobicoke which is close. Personally I would do it with the builder for the little price of convenience makes life easier then you ripping out the floor and disposing it.
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Feb 26, 2019
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I’ve never bought a new house, so can’t offer much direct insight. BUT, what a screwed up set of economic incentives that it could be cheaper to throw an entire house worth of flooring in the landfill. Don’t take my comment as a judgment on anyone who chooses to do so.
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dottawat wrote: I’ve never bought a new house, so can’t offer much direct insight. BUT, what a screwed up set of economic incentives that it could be cheaper to throw an entire house worth of flooring in the landfill. Don’t take my comment as a judgment on anyone who chooses to do so.
We are a society of consumers with an insatiable hunger to consume.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
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Feb 4, 2010
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Raysm85 wrote: We are the in the GTA area. Our builder is installing 3" red oak solid flooring in the main floor standard, but the nicest upgrade (and the one we love the most) is almost 14K for a white oak stain wire brushed 5" engineered flooring (approx 1300 sq ft). Obviously you'll never get a great deal with the builder, but how bad is the up charge here?
The other option is to have the solid 3" sanded, stained, and sealed after we move in but I'm hearing that would be at least 8K for a good job, or are we being quoted too high/low for this?

Any thoughts appreciated.
A while back I was looking at getting my flooring replaced with hardwood (~1300sqf) and if I recall estimates from the flooring company were over the $10k mark (I'm outside the GTA) so I don't think the price you're being quoted is that unreasonable plus it will be less hassle (removing what's their, baseboards, mess, delayed move, etc.) for you if you choose not use the builder grade stuff. Still worth trying to negotiate a better price in case they're willing to drop it a bit.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 21, 2020
34 posts
39 upvotes
Thank you all! A correction, there was a miscommunication, 14K / 1300 sq ft was not for the highest upgrade, it was for a 3" red oak stained in a medium brown and it isn't including tax. The highest upgrade will be close to 20K before tax. The staircase is solid oak natural stain and to get a matching stain will be 3k.

If the $2-3 per sq ft for re-staining and re-sealing is do-able, that is a route I'd be interesting in taking. We are in the position where we don't have to move in asap once we close. That might also let us rip up the carpet upstairs and get hardwood done at the same time.

Any suggestions for a reliable and reputable floor refinishing company?

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