My Hardwood Flooring Adventure!


4 minute read

August 2, 2017

Looking for July, 2017 market statistics?

Well, you’re in the wrong place.  Okay, fine, those will come next week, but in my defence, TREB always takes a few days to release them.

Today, let me regale you all with tales from my hardwood flooring adventure!

Who said a full flood of your kitchen couldn’t end up leaving you in a better position in the end…


That may just be, the most uninteresting feature photo in the history of Toronto Realty Blog.

It’s like the Cleveland Browns’ football team’s logo, which as you might have guessed, is literally the colour BROWN.

In any event, that is the colour I chose for my hardwood flooring, after much debate, and much insistence on some of the guys from the office who happen to have a better design gene than I.

Do you remember where this all started?

Back in June, I wrote a blog about the water damage in my condo.  Feel free to read the post if you want to get caught up.

Six weeks later, and now having gleaming new hardwood floors throughout my condo, I almost feel lucky that my dishwasher exploded.

Let’s start from the beginning…

I absolutely hated my hardwood flooring.

I bought the condo in 2011 from the original owner, who had been there all of a year.

Perhaps red was “in” back in the late-2000’s when this condo was completed, but I absolutely hated the floors.

Red Brazilian Cherry.

Sounds great, but in practice, it was ugly as hell.

Here’s a quick video I shot:

As the years have gone by, and as we’ve built out our terrace with Trex Decking, gutted both bathrooms, replaced our kitchen counter-tops, and concluded a host of other small improvements, the floors were that one outstanding feature that kept this condo from being perfect.

It’s a great condo – the location is A+, the building is fantastic, we have a very rare 1,200 square foot terrace overlooking St. James Park, and the interior layout works well with the split-bedroom plan.  But the “builder-grade finishes” of this condo were garbage, and while we tackled a lot of the work before we moved in back in 2011, the list of outstanding items remained for years on end.

So I almost feel lucky that our dishwasher blew a gasket, and ruined our floors.

I was forced into action, and when the insurance company’s adjuster came into the condo, and for some magic reason, said, “You’re going to have to replace ALL the flooring in the entire unit,” and gave us a dollar-figure that blew our minds, we were basically being paid to replace the flooring that we never liked from the beginning.

So then it’s the simple matter of choosing the flooring.  Where do you go?  Who do you have perform the install?  What type of floor?  What colour?  What finish?  What width? What sheen level?  Glued or locking?

Fun times!

And my wife, God love her, was so fed up with the damage and inconvenience caused by the floor, that she said, “I don’t care what you pick; just pick something.”

I have a great “flooring guy” that I’ve used for a few different condos, and have referred to countless clients.

I had him do the installation, but the hardwood itself, I found on my own at “The Floor Shop” in Leaside.

I went with the Mercier brand, which is a Canadian manufacturer (call me old-fashioned…), who has a massive product line.

I chose maple, 5-inch planks, 1/2 inch thick, LOC tongue-and-groove.

Something called “Smokey Brown” from their “Distinction” collection.  Ooooooh – distinction!

The colour of the flooring is important on its own, but in terms of “matching” it to the condo, it simply has to work with what you’ve got in the kitchen.

Sure, any condo owner could rip out the kitchen cabinets and pick new colours.  But seeing as we have no plans to do so, we wanted to match the cabinets to the flooring.

The ugly reddish-brown colour never really “went” with the espresso brown kitchen cabinets.

Here’s the red floor up against the cabinet colour:

Here’s the new hardwood up against the cabinet colour:



And just for fun, here’s the new flooring, heads-up, against the old flooring:


No contest.

God, do I ever hate that red flooring.

So with the brand, wood-type, width, colour, and style chosen, it was just a simple matter of……doing everything else.

In the spirit of, “A job worth doing, is worth doing well,” I went with a colleague who has a Ram 1500, and picked up the boxes in person:


And that is how 1,200 square feet of hardwood flooring looks, packed against the wall so you have room to navigate around it!

We could have never lived through the installation – with an 8-month-old child, and a condo full of stuff.  Well, I mean we could live through it; first-world problems, and all.  But instead we had the work done over the long weekend when we were away, and it was amazing.

We packed up about 10 cardboard boxes full of personal stuff, and left all the big pieces of furniture where they were.

My flooring guy and his team were able to move everything we owned, rip up the old flooring, install new flooring, and put everything back the way it was.

We came home after a couple of days away, and it was like a magic-wand had been waved, and we had new floors.

Everything was back in its place (save for the 10 cardboard boxes, but it sure did give us something to do on “Date Night” that Saturday!), and the flooring looked amazing.

We have since walked on it (I tried my hardest not to make contact, but evidently, it’s not possible…), and there are already a few paw prints, but here’s how it looks:

All in all, I’m very happy with the new floors, the overall look and feel of the condo, the simplicity of the process, and the odd dollar-and-penny I have left over from what the insurance company gave me…

I’m not the most optimistic guy in the world, but this really was a case of turning lemons into lemonade.  I’m just not sure if my analogy accounts for the 40-something grams of sugar in each can…

P.S. – I almost forgot, the Oil of Olay video! I know I’m insane for the nostalgia and/or uncanny recollection of useless 80’s moments, but tell me if you remember this commercial.

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. ming

    at 9:35 am

    where you get those Mercier hardwood floor? for much per sqft?

  2. Joel

    at 10:51 am

    My wife and I had a similar experience last year on Halloween. Pipe burst in the upstairs bathroom and water dripped down to the main floor. We ended up with new bathroom floors and new hardwood on the main floor. The person that bought the house had installed that same red hardwood and we removed it to put in a brown Oak floor.

    So much nicer without the red flooring!

  3. mordy weinberg

    at 11:39 am

    Looks amazing!
    Side point- you might want to consider using show moulding and not using quarter round.
    Looks much more modern

  4. Joe Q.

    at 12:25 pm

    That commercial is a classic.

  5. Richard

    at 6:45 am

    What? You haven’t bought your house yet? But its been over 6 months.

    I guess you are waiting for Toronto prices to drop 50% back to the long term trend. No problem. In Toronto this happens like generational clockwork. At this rate your wife has not long to wait. Half way there now David.

  6. Libertarian

    at 10:38 am

    If you can’t answer this question, that’s fine, but whose insurance covered the costs – your own or the building’s?

    I know condo boards recommend to owners to get their own insurance, what I called “contents insurance”, but I didn’t bother getting it because I had a bunch of random crap. So I’m wondering…if I had a dishwasher leak, would I have been out of pocket?

    Do you generally recommend to your condo clients that they buy “contents insurance”? Or is that beyond your purview?

    Again, if you don’t want to answer because that’s personal info or it’s work product, that’s fine. Perhaps other readers will give their two cents on the subject.

    1. Condodweller

      at 4:22 pm

      It is always recommended to have your own content insurance for your condo. The condo corp’s insurance only covers common elements. Keep in mind that if your flood affects other units you will be responsible for their repairs as well out of pocket if you don’t have insurance. I don’t know why anyone would choose not to have condo insurance as it is actually quite reasonable typically at a few hundred $$.

    2. David Fleming

      at 6:15 pm

      @ Libertarian

      My home insurance covered the cost.

      The condominium’s insurance covers common elements, which is essentially everything behind what you can see in your unit.

      But either way, your insurance company would pay for the claim, and either eat the cost, or bill the condominium’is insurer if they deem they’re responsible.

      There is a difference between “contents insurance” and “home insurance,” but you have to dig deep into the policies to know what’s covered. As you suggested, it’s a bit out of my purview. But my policy runs about $900 per year.

    3. Libertarian

      at 10:04 am

      Thanks for the replies! Seems I dodged a bullet during my condo years.

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