All About Our Dark Hardwood Floors

All About Our Dark Hardwood Floors | A review and the pros and cons of having handscraped dark hardwood flooring in your home. I share my reasoning and favorite cleaning tips. 

All About Our Dark Hardwood Floors | A review and the pros and cons of having handscraped dark hardwood flooring in your home. I share my reasoning and favorite cleaning tips. Today I’m tackling a question that I’m asked about a lot- the pros and cons of having dark hardwood floors. When it came to choosing the new flooring for our home, I always had a very clear vision of having extremely dark hardwood floors.

They seemed to be the perfect contrast to my love of light colors everywhere else. We began to take the leap three years ago and purchased all of the dark hardwood flooring we would need for the first floor. Here are my pros and cons to living with dark hardwood floors!

All About Our Dark Hardwood Floors | A review and the pros and cons of having handscraped dark hardwood flooring in your home. I share my reasoning and favorite cleaning tips. 

Bell County Hickory vs. Harvest Hickory

First off- the floors themselves. They are Virginia Mill Works Bell County Hickory from Lumber Liquidators. Unfortunately, that flooring is no longer available. I am told that the Virginia Mill Works Harvest Hickory is very similar, just slightly lighter and a bit warmer in color. 

To Replace or Refinish?

Some people may ask why the floors “needed” to be replaced. I’m the first one to admit when we do a project for aesthetics only. However, there wasn’t a single flooring type out of the six(!) on the first floor that was in good shape.

The linoleum was cracked and peeling. The hardwood was worn and damaged. The carpet was threadbare. Any rooms with tile had cracks and missing pieces.

Although we aren’t planning on moving anytime soon, we knew we would get our money back for “hardwoods throughout the first floor”. That is especially true because we chose a material that could stand the test of time (more on that in a bit!). We opted not to try to refinish the existing hardwoods and fill in between with new boards because they were all at different heights- so there wouldn’t be a smooth transition anyway. 

All About Our Dark Hardwood Floors | A review and the pros and cons of having handscraped dark hardwood flooring in your home. I share my reasoning and favorite cleaning tips. 

High Maintenance

While we were looking at samples, we were warned again and again that dark floors weren’t a good choice for us, with a young family and a dog. The guy at the flooring place tried to repeatedly sell us on honey colored laminate- which was pretty much as far from what I was looking for as you can get. There was (and is) some logic to what he was saying. It’s inexpensive and durable. We have a golden retriever (i.e. blonde dog hair) and messy kids that generate crumbs. However, that just wasn’t what I was going for. 

While beautiful, these floors are high maintenance. They have to be vacuumed at least once a day because -as predicted- every speck of dirt, dust, and dog hair shows.

For ultimate convenience, we invested in a Dyson stick vacuum (we have the older version). Being cordless makes it quite easy to simply grab it off of the charger and do a quick run. Better yet, it’s lightweight and easy for the kids to use, so they can be sent to grab it and clean up after themselves if they make a mess.

For mopping, the floors look like new when I go over them with the Shark Steam mop. I try to use an eco-friendly floor cleaner instead of what comes with the mop. 

If I had to choose the biggest issue with dark floors, I would say that the cleaning would be it. However, it isn’t a deal breaker and probably keeps us neater in the grand scheme of things (which certainly isn’t a bad thing!). If I was building a house today, I would still purchase floors on the darker end of the spectrum. 


Java Gel Stain is a close color match

Now that we’re three years in, we’ve inevitably also had a few scratches. The floors are extremely close in color to General Finishes Java Gel Stain, so I use a q-tip to apply it, as well as a little bit of high traffic polyurethane. It does the trick, and the scratch is no longer visible because of the rustic texture. In a pinch, we have also used a black permanent marker in spots, and you can’t even tell. A con would be that scratches are more obvious. However, I think that choosing a rustic texture is more forgiving.  

Handscraped vs. Smooth

Although it’s also important to note that the handscraped nature of the wood leads to some challenges. I was given a robotic vacuum as a gift, and it wasn’t able to navigate the bumpy floors. So if you have your heart set on one, you may want to choose a smoother texture. Also, if ever we decided to refinish these floors, the handscraped texture means that we will have to do extra sanding. We would lose the character of having them handscraped.

Choosing a wood type

To try to prevent having to sand in the first place leads to my final talking point- the wood type. I love the look of wide pine floors. However, I knew it wasn’t practical at this point in life because of their softness. Contrary to popular belief,  I’m not against oak- but hickory actually proved to be a harder option. We have been happy to deal with minimal issues due to this choice. You can use the chart that we did to compare flooring types here

Overall, the pros of beauty, durability, and character outweigh the cons of visible dust to me. Ultimately, you will have to weigh your own pros and cons.  It will help to take your lifestyle into account if you are considering hardwood floors. I hope at least that this post may have helped you along the way! 

All About Our Dark Hardwood Floors | A Review and Pros & Cons

All About Our Dark Hardwood Floors | A review and the pros and cons of having handscraped dark hardwood flooring in your home. I share my reasoning and favorite cleaning tips. 

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  1. I have dark floors and love them too. My house was built in 1940 and I have the original hardwood. They were golden oak and I had the refinished/stained. I love how they turned out. I also use a steamer to clean mine…however I only use water in the steamer. I am pretty sure it said to NOT use any cleaning solutions in the steamer…only water. I have been using it with water only for years….my floors are always perfectly shiny:)

  2. I was wondering how you liked the Dyson stick vacuum? I had an old Dyson animal that I stupidly replaced with a bissell pet hair eraser. We have hardwood throughout the house with the exception of 2 braided and one seagrass rug downstairs and wool area rugs in each of the kids rooms upstairs. Parts of the bissell broke almost immediately, it spread more hair than picked up, destroyed the binding on my seagrass rug, was an all around dog to operate for the 2 months or so I owned it until the brush roller snapped and I happily returned it to BB&B. We have 3 large shedding dogs and 3 small children. Daily floor cleaning is a must around here. Does the Dyson stick have the power I would need to suck all that yellow lab hair out of the braided rugs?

    While I found the bissell pethair eraser to be lacking in quality and performance if I ever chose to leave my wonderful husband, it might be for my bissell crosswave. It’s that fabulous.

  3. We were told NOT to use a steam mop on our hardwood floors – I used it on the ceramic tile in our kitchen before we got the hardwood, and I loved it. I now use Bona that is made for hardwood floors with the Bona mop, and I’m very please with it. I think I need to get a stick vacuum because right now I use a handheld one — it’s getting too difficult the older I get! We also have hand scraped floors, and I wouldn’t want anything else!

  4. I have the dark hardwood floors and absolutely love them . I dry mop daily and I use pledge hardwood floor cleaner once a month .

  5. Beautiful and inspiring! Ours are dark too and throughout the house, however, they are oak so they have that orangish tone. And they’re waxed, and we haven’t cleaned and rewaxed them nearly enough. Also have beveled edges. Questions: would it be worthwhile to have them refinished and polyurethaned instead? Would a robo vacuum work on them? They’re 2.25 width, if I remember correctly.

  6. We are close to replacing floors, & dark hardwood is my favorite! I’m now leaning toward wood-look tile. Do you have any experience with that? Did you research that route at all? It’s such a permanent decision that I don’t want to screw it up!!

  7. I have those exact floors. I clean them often/daily/hourly as well. So I have been using Bona hardwood cleaner and the mop thing…you’re saying I can just use a steam mop? Hmmm. I can’t seem to get their original sheen back after a battery innerd spill…they just look foggy now. Sad face. Thanks for the tips and the recommendation for the gel. Something I’ve been searching for!

  8. I have dark hardwood floors too and I agree with everything you said! Only we clean our floors about 3 times a day! I love the look, but as a designer myself I never recommend them to clients just because they always look so dirty! Of course most people don’t like to hear this, so from now on I will happily refer them to this post! Thanks for sharing your hinestexperience.

  9. Shark steam mop, huh? I have been cleaning my dark handscraped hardwood floors by hand, because I thought I couldn’t use too much “wet” on my wood floors. My problem is dog water drips showing up, and wondered if a steam mop would work better. Any cons to this process??

    1. The only con is that mine has a cord- but I think it’s the older version of the one I linked. Other than that, I don’t have any complaints! What I like most about the steam mop is that it steams away the cleaning solution immediately, so the liquid doesn’t sit on the floor for very long. We keep our dog bowls on tile, but I use it to clean up the snowy/salty bootprints in our foyer and it works quickly and perfectly for that!

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