White Oak Hardwood Floors at our New Custom Home Construction with Bona, Wood Floor Designs, & Scalese Millworks – A Series – Part 1


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FOREVER;  lasting for an endless period of time.

i.e.; a mother’s love, diamonds, legends, your grandma’s cast iron skillet, dreams, 30 minutes of cardio, Grey’s Anatomy, memories, a box of Raisin Brand (at least in our house), Tom Brady’s football career, and one of my all time favorites: REAL HARDWOOD FLOORS.

When I think of our new home construction, also known as #thelaydenlegacy–  FOREVER is what comes to my mind.  My goal in life is to leave a lasting impression in some way, shape, or form– and I want to leave a legacy that will to be passed down from generation to generation (hoping my children will decide to stay in my small town – that is yet to be determined…haha). For the aforementioned reasons, it was of utmost importance to incorporate something as timeless and beautiful as hardwood flooring into our custom home.

Just like any of the decisions I have made thus far, the detailed choices surrounding our hardwood floors were among the most difficult.  I have seriously poured my heart and soul into researching and learning everything I possibly could about wood and flooring.  If you have stumbled across this post as you are searching for hardwood flooring help, I really hope my research and diligence will help you achieve the custom milled hardwood floors of your dreams.



So why did I have my heart set on real hardwood floors?  Because when I fall, it will definitely be there.  Am I right?!?

But really though, with SO many cheaper choices available on the market today- the upside of hardwood far outweighs the potential savings, and if there was one area in my home I refused to skimp on- it was our flooring.  After all- it’s not only the largest surface in our home, but also the hardest to “change”, “switch out”, or upgrade further down the road…

  1. BEAUTY – Our floors are the largest space in our home.  Hardwood floors are beautiful, timeless, never go out style.
    They are usually the first thing people will notice when they walk into a home and will leave a lasting impression.
  2. QUALITY  – The highest quality item you can put on your floor is hardwood.   Hardwood is the organic flooring choice.
  3. CLEANLINESS –  Easier to clean (unfortunately not self-cleaning though..haha), and it doesn’t capture allergens.
  4. RETURN ON INVESTMENT –  house becomes more valuable as soon as real hardwood is added.
  5. LONGEVITY – If installed properly with thought, hardwood floors will last forever.  They will never need to be completely replaced.
  6. SAFEST CHOICE – Hardwood floors are non toxic, environmentally friendly, have low VOC (volatile organic compound) which means  they are healthier and safer.

There’s lot of talk about engineered flooring today and how it compares to real hardwood. Prior to my project, I didn’t know the real difference.  Real Hardwood is made of solid wood, and can be sanded and refinished multiple times.  Engineered hardwood is made up of multiple layers of plywood covered with a thin layer of hardwood.  See picture below.  Some of them can be sanded, but not multiple times.  Engineered hardwood is a cheaper, less quality product, and the price will generally reflect that.  In home building, you get what you pay for and hardwood floors are no exception.  To this point, I am not sure Scott has ever heard of engineered hardwood, and I’d like to keep it that way (i.e. hoping he doesn’t read this post).   He wouldn’t be happy to find out a cheaper hardwood option existed…LOL.


After I decided I was definitely choosing to install hardwood rather than engineered wood, I had to find a custom mill that would manufacture my floors.  Finding a custom mill is very important, because (again) not all mills are created equal.  Ironically, while there may not be a traffic light within 10 minutes of #thelaydenlegacy, there is an absolutely amazing custom mill exactly 6 minutes away (according to Google Maps…LOL).   I had worked with Paul- the owner of Scalese Millworks in the past for a project in my current home-  and I knew that as a miller, he focuses on the highest quality (pieces that other mills would use are deemed defective and thrown out at Paul’s shop!)   The wood Paul uses is only sourced from reputable lumber yards.  He uses the best milling technology and is a true perfectionist when it comes to his product.  With Scalese Millworks, you are getting personalized service.  Paul and his team give every project the time and attention it deserves.  In case you think amazing customer service is a lost art, Scalese Millworks has restored my faith in what customer service should look like.  It was a true pleasure working with his mill on my project!  I wish more people in the world were as passionate about their job and their product as Paul.   Paul cares and it really shows.   I worked with Paul every step of this journey to get an excellent product.  I was able to witness firsthand the way the tree is select cut, how it turns into lumber, then how it enters the mill and goes through many more steps to have the final product.  It’s an amazing process, and I’m in awe that I got to witness my actual floor being made.



After I knew I would be working with Scalese Millworks for my floors, I then had to make a hard decision.  What wood species and color would I choose?  I went to Paul’s retail location and had the opportunity to view a large variety of the wood species.  My heart led me to oak.  I have always loved oak floors and although I went into the shop with an open mind, I have always dreamed about oak flooring.  Why Oak?

  1. TIMELESS –  Trends come and go but I firmly believe that oak floors will never go out of style.   They have been around for years and are a safe choice for flooring.
  2. SHOW CHARACTER – Oak has a strong grain pattern which means it is able to mask scratches, dents, and nicks better than other types.
  3. VERSATILE – Oak works well with any decor style!  It is neutral in color and therefore are a classic choice.
  4. JANKA RATING – Although oak is not the hardest wood species, it is still durable enough to handle high foot traffic.
    The softer the wood (as shown on the chart below) the more dents, etc. that will naturally happen overtime.  If you have pets, I highly recommend choosing a harder wood type.
  5. VALUE  – Although oak is not the cheapest wood species, it is also not the most expensive, making it a great value for how beautiful it is.  Coosing oak for our flooring will add value to our home.




So why did I chose white oak over red oak?  I really think that both white or red are great choices.  The deciding factor was that I felt that white oak has a more designer feel.  I really loved how white oak looked in it’s natural unaltered state.  At this point in my flooring journey, I wasn’t sure if I would be using a stain or keeping the wood in its’ natural state. I felt if I ended up not using a stain, white oak was the safest choice.  Red oak has a much warmer feel.  It tends to pull out more amber and red tones, especially when finished.  White oak is also currently in higher demand and would add a slightly higher value to our home.


After I chose the wood species and color, I had to decide on the width of the planks.  I knew I wanted the width of my wood to be somewhere between 5-7 inches wide.  Our family room area is quite large and design trends are currently leaning towards coordinating the wood width in proportion to the size of the room.  “Scale” is very important from a design perspective.   After seeing all three sizes of wood  width planks in my home, I decided that the 6 inch width would be the perfect choice.


I say this often, but in custom home building you get what you pay for.   The wood grade is the determining factor of how much you are will pay per square foot.  Basically the more clear the wood is– the higher the price is going to be.  Because #thelaydenlegacy is a transitional home, I didn’t want my wood floors to have too much character or imperfections.   I worked with Paul to ensure that my oak flooring would be either a clear, select, or better grade of wood.


Are you overwhelmed yet by all the decisions I had to make regarding my hardwood floors!?!  Ha!  The next decision I had to make was what kind of sawn I wanted.  The sawn is the way the tree is cut to actually produce the floor.  As you can see from the chart below, some sawn types create a lot of waste.  The more waste and more complicated of a cut, the higher the cost will be.  This makes live sawn the least expensive option and rift sawn the most expensive.  For our floors I did a combination of quarter sawn and plain sawn.   The wood still has some character and movement and the boards blend very nicely together.





After I had all of the detailed decisions made and my flooring was manufactured, I then had to find someone to do the install and refinishing at our new custom home.  Because we made such a large investment in the actual wood that was sourced, I knew I wanted the installation and refinishing to be done with the highest level of expertise.  Paul introduced me to Bona, because he had been using their products for years.  Founded in 1919, and headquartered in Sweden, Bona has been the leader in providing products for the installation, maintenance and renovation of wooden floors for 100 years!  Sidenote:  They are also the official hardwood floor care partner of the Boston Celtics.  Do I need to say anymore?   I began to look into the company and within five minutes, I knew I wanted Bona to be the hardwood floor care partner at #thelaydenlegacy.  The rest as one would say is history– and I nearly fainted when I found out they wanted to be a part of my legacy and work together!


The Bona Certified Craftsman (BCC) program is a network of highly skilled and trained hardwood flooring experts that use the complete Bona System to deliver outstanding results to the consumer.  In other words, the BCC’s are the connection between the consumer and Bona.  Every BCC goes through a rigorous training program before being accepted into the program.  The truly are a specialty and the BCC is a one of a kind program.  I knew that I had to find a BCC to perform the installation and refinishing at our new home construction.  Rudy and his team at Wood Floor Designs agreed to work with me to install and refinish the 6 inch white oak floors at our new home.  I’m so excited to show you my continued journey with Wood Floor Designs and Bona.  They turned my hardwood flooring dreams into a reality and I can’t wait to reveal the finished floors at #thelaydenlegacy!



I worked in collaboration with Bona, Wood Floor Designs, and Scalese Millworks on this project. I was compensated for this project, but as always, all opinions are my own.








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