Debbie gartner

What Types of Hardwood Do High End Sacramento Buyers Prefer?


hardwood floors high end buyers

Today, I have a guest blogger who’s an expert when it comes to flooring, especially when we’re talking about what types of hardwood do high end Sacramento buyers prefer. Debbie Gartner aka The Flooring Girl is from the NYC metro area, and she is up on all the latest trends for hardwood flooring. Here, on the West Coast and in Sacramento, we are showing the same trends and preferences.

For those of you preparing your home for sale, you already know that hardwood flooring is all the rage these days. It’s the preferred flooring type among Sacramento home buyers, especially those looking for higher end homes. Hardwood looks great and feels great as it simultaneously gives you warmth, luxury and authenticity. And, of course, we all know that hardwood flooring improves the value of your home.

hardwood high end buyers

Hardwood floors are timeless, and they usually last more than a century. They are a natural product and part of their inherent beauty is their natural graining and color variation. They are much cleaner and easier to maintain vs other flooring surfaces, and as a result, they also improve the indoor air quality of your home. Hardwood floors are here to stay.

What types of hardwood do high end sacramento buyers prefer

What types of hardwood do high end Sacramento buyers prefer in luxury homes?

1. Dark hardwood floors

Yes, dark hardwood flooring is the most popular these days, especially among higher end home owners. The preference keeps growing. Dark is chic and elegant and goes so well with gray painted walls (gray is the most popular paint color now…even more popular than white).

Right now, cool shades are more stylish, so this combo of dark floors and gray walls work great together. Be sure to avoid red undertones in the stain color you choose (as red is dated and polarizing). So for those looking for dark hardwood floors, I usually recommend a 50/50 ebony/dark walnut or ebony/jacobean blend. They are dark and stunning (and they drown out the red undertones). If you want to go even darker, try ebony or even true black. (Duraseal would be the stain brand I’d recommend).

types of hardwood do high end sacramento buyers preferIf you want dark floors, but want to go a bit lighter, then try dark walnut (by itself), antique brown or coffee brown. These are still dark, but they are a bit lighter, so they don’t show the dirt quite as much.

The darker you go, the less you will see the wood’s graining; when you are in the mid range, the more you will notice the wood’s graining. It just depends on your preference, but now I’m seeing more people prefer to camouflage the graining as it looks more contemporary and less busy in the room.

Dark isn’t for everyone, nor does it work in all home styles. It’s a great option if you have a lot of light, but it’s not always the best for very small homes or apartments that aren’t well lit. (Note: if the color of the wall usually has more impact on the room’s lighting than the floor does. After all, there are 4 walls and only 1 floor). Also, note that most people add area rugs and this will help lighten up the space, too.

2. Light hardwood floors

types of hardwood do high end sacramento buyers preferLight is the second most popular type of flooring. So, yes, both extremes are in. You can read more about the pros and cons of dark vs light hardwood flooring in this article. It’s one of the most common questions I get.

When people are going light, they are going very light … usually natural (i.e. no stain). Now, here’s the tricky part with light hardwood floors. The yellows and oranges are very dated. If you use an oil based polyurethane, your floors will be yellow, and they will continue to amberize over time due to the natural light and oxidation. So, they will be yellow and get more yellow over time.

But, there’s an easy way to solve this, and that is to use a water borne polyurethane. I highly recommend Bona Traffic HD above all the other choices (it’s the best….you can read more here: What are the best brands of polyurethane)? This will make your floors look lighter and they won’t look yellow. It will give you a more contemporary as well as neutral feel to your home. And, this polyurethane smells less and dries faster (and it’s better for the environment).

3. Gray hardwood floors

types of flooring do high end sacramento buyers preferGray is so hot and trendy now (yes, I know it’s a cool tone). This cooler color has been on the rise for 5 or 6 years, and it’s especially popular among higher end home buyers. Gray is more challenging is and expensive to achieve, and if you’re going to go gray with existing flooring, definitely hire a professional who knows how to refinish with gray.

Further, read this article on how to refinish hardwood floors gray..the right way). Many of the calls from across the country I get are from homeowners with a contractor who can’t seem to get the color right. Be sure that your contractor uses Bona Traffic HD for the polyurethane. This is super important both for looks and longevity. Most other polyurethanes will turn the floors yellow (including some of the other water borne polyurethanes).

If you are buying a home and love gray, I say go for it. But, if you are selling a home, please recognize that while gray is trendy, it’s still niche and polarizing to many. Going very dark (or very light) is probably a better option if you’re planning to sell in the next couple of years.

4. Wide plank flooring

types of hardwood do high end sacramento buyers preferWide plank flooring is more stylish and it makes the room look larger. At a minimum, go with a plank that is at least 3 1/4″ wide. (The standard 2 1/4″ narrow strips just don’t look as impressive). This of course assumes you are adding new hardwood. If you have existing hardwood, I’d generally recommend that you keep what you have.

Of course, if you can go wider with a 4″ or 5″ plank, that’s even better as it’s more contemporary and will make your space look even larger. Please note that if you are installing 5″ or wider solid hardwood, you need to both nail and glue it, so this will cost a bit more for labor. That’s because planks expand and contract more. This is a common mistake made by general contractors (as they are not flooring specialists). Unfortunately, I see it too often and it’s impossible to fix (unless you completely rip up the floors).

5. Solid hardwood

I always recommend solid hardwood over engineered hardwood flooring, when you have the option. Solid will last MUCH longer. There is no question about it. Here in New York, virtually all mid and higher end homes have solid hardwood flooring, and I would guess it’s very similar in Sacramento.

Solid hardwood will last well over a century (in fact, we’ve refinished solid hardwood from the 1800s and even several homes from the 1700s). Solid hardwood also gives the option to refinish in the future (i.e. if they get scratched/worn down, if you have a flood or even if you just want to change the color and decor of your home).

6. Hardwood in the kitchen

types of hardwood do high end sacramento buyers preferToday, most homeowners prefer to have hardwood in all of the main living areas, including the kitchen. It’s easier on your feet (vs. tile) and easier to clean. And, importantly, having hardwood in the kitchen makes your home look larger and more cohesive. The fewer flooring changes you make from room to room, the larger your space looks.

If you check out the pictures of kitchens on Pinterest and Houzz, you’ll see how popular hardwood in the kitchen (especially dark hardwood with white cabinets). Now, we are even seeing hardwood flooring in powder rooms and entryways.

7. Satin and matte finishes

Shiny finishes are out! Shiny finishes are dated, look cheap and are impractical as they show scratches, dents and dirt more. Remember, avoid glossy and semi-gloss finishes. Go for satin or even matte finishes as they are more up to date and will last longer.

8. White oak over red oak (if you are adding new hardwood)

types of hardwood do sacramento home buyers preferMany customers don’t realize that there are multiple species of oak. In fact, there are many. The two most common oak species are red oak and white oak.

While red oak is more abundant in the US (and therefore more common on floors), white oak is growing in popularity. I recently wrote an article on the 7 advantages of white oak hardwood floors.

The main advantages of white oak (over red oak) is that white oak is a bit more contemporary looking, it gives you more staining options (better for dark stains and gray), it’s a bit harder and it’s more resilient to water.

So, if you’re looking to install new hardwood floors, I would consider white oak flooring. If you are matching existing floors, then match to the existing species you already have.

Conclusion on Types of Hardwood Do High End Sacramento Buyers Prefer?

Hardwood floors are an important element of Sacramento homes, and they play an important role in your home’s decor. If you are buying a new home, the world is your oyster and you can choose whichever type of flooring your prefer; if you’re planning to sell your Sacramento house soon, I’d encourage to follow the trends and preferences among the higher end home owners and make sure they shades work with the style of your house. It’s also helpful to consult your real estate agent (or a stager) to get their perspective on what is most popular for your area and house style.

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