mirth hardwood tiles

By Gabrielle.

Holy moly. I finally chose flooring for the bedroom today. It’s getting picked up from a local warehouse tomorrow morning, and the install starts tomorrow too!

I was supposed to choose flooring weeks ago. Actually, months ago. And I did. But then I changed my mind. Like a dozen times. I can’t figure out why, but this was by far the hardest choice I made as far as finish work goes. For anyone who is curious, I’m going to take you through my thought process.

First of all, I had some limitations to work within. There is radiant heat installed throughout the space, and my contractor recommended that I look for a “floating floor” option that would be heat compatible. From what I learned, floating floors are glue-less and nail-less. They click together and “float” on the subfloor, with a simple underlayment between.

If I couldn’t find floating floors, the second option was glue down installation, though my contractor told me that if I ever wanted to pull up the glued surface, it would most likely damage the radiant heat during the demoltion. So if I was going to pick a glue-down option, I should choose something I would love for a very long time. I also had to keep in mind that this flooring would go in our bedroom, our (new!) walk-in closet, and the landing/hallway too — which gets a lot of foot traffic. And of course, there were budget considerations too.

Mirth Floor Tiles_Flirt

The first product I looked at was Mirth Floor Tiles. They are hand-painted hardwood and they are gorgeous! I’m obsessed with this one and want to figure out a project where I can use it some day. For our space, I was thinking about the one called Pearl. I thought it would fit in well with the surfaces we already have going on downstairs (like the white-washed floors). But I waited so long that I had to leave this option behind. Production time on these floor tiles can be 5 weeks or more!

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

Then I started to look at concrete options. I adore the look of concrete floors, and have since I was a teen. I feel like they are trendy now and I don’t even care. They can go in and out of style all day long and I would still love the look. Poured concrete wasn’t workable, so I wondered about doing the same DIY technique we used in the reading loft. It has held up beautifully there, but I finally decided against it for the remodel, because it seemed too risky over the heated floors — I just don’t know how it would hold up with the heat, and across a more high traffic area.


As a concrete alternative, I looked super seriously into concrete-look porcelain tiles. There are tons of gorgeous options out there, but my favorite ones were the Eleganza Firenze Grigo and the Vives Rift Cemento. The first comes in 24″ squares, and the other in 32″ squares. The 32″ squares were the best — oversize, and dramatic and industrial-looking! But of course, they were also over twice the price per square foot ($9.57) as the smaller ones ($4.40). Hah! In the end, I decided against these because the thought of someday removing giant, glued down tiles felt like a nightmare. They just seemed too permanent. (If you’re shopping, I tried lots of Bay Area shops and had the best luck, and found both of these picks, at Coliseum Tile.)


So then I turned my attention to floating wood floors. Generally, the options for floating wood are in the engineered hardwood category. But I did find one true hardwood version. The trick with wood (engineered or otherwise) was that many weren’t compatible with heated floors — it voids the warranty. This option from Jasper Engineered Hardwood is one exception. Isn’t it gorgeous? It made my top 5 list for sure, but was a bit too rustic for the look I wanted.


My floating wood floor searches sent me down the bamboo path. Turns out there are tons of solid bamboo, floating floor options that are approved for radiant heat. The bamboo pros: They’re highly sustainable. The price is right — my favorite versions all hovered in the $4.50 to $5.50 per square foot range. I’m told that because they are solid wood, they can be refinished, but apparently the factory finish is difficult to sand off. (Related, I found this youtube video that shows a tool that will take off a factory finish). Bamboo is super hard and difficult to scratch or dent. Hardness is measured on the Janka scale — Oak is around 1500 on the scale, Bamboo is 5000. Bamboo is highly recommended for families with kids or pets (or both).

Can you guess? Bamboo is where the hunt finally ended today. I had narrowed my choices down to 4 different bamboo lines that I liked — US Floors Muse Strand, Eco Fusion, Plyboo, and Cali Bamboo — and I had samples of each. All four lines offered a white-washed look (I already know I love the white washed look because of our downstairs floors). I called each supplier to confirm the price, availability, radiant-heat compatibility, and shipping times. Turns out one of them (Plyboo) has a warehouse about 20 minutes away. Jackpot!!! And that’s what I chose! So instead of waiting a couple of weeks for the floorboards to arrive, they are being picked up tomorrow morning! I was feeling dumb I’d been so indecisive, and was sad the install would be delayed, but tomorrow is pretty much the soonest they could have been installed at all. Yay! It all works out!


You will laugh at me, but after I placed the order this morning, I arrived home, and buyers remorse set in. I spent a good hour looking at Marmoleum floors and wondering if I’d made the wrong decision. Do you know Marmoleum? It’s the brand name of a linoleum line. I’m a huge linoleum fan. It’s natural, long-lasting, available in tons of colors, and affordable too. It’s amazing stuff. And I just discovered today that there’s a floating version! No glue needed!

But I finally stopped searching, looked at my inspiration boards and remembered that the whitewashed bamboo floors had been thoroughly researched, thoroughly thought out, and were definitely the right decision for this space.

Giant sigh of relief. I really can’t quite figure out why this was such a tricky decision for me. I’m typically pretty fast at this sort of thing. Too funny. I’m just glad the decision is made. I can’t wait to see the floors! Another timing bonus: the contractor told me that since the wood has been stored locally we won’t need to acclimatize it. He’ll confirm that with the warehouse in the morning. Crossing my fingers he’s correct.

That was a long report, but if you’re still with me, I’d love to hear: What’s your dream flooring for a master bedroom? And do any of you have floating floors? These will be the first ones we’ve had in any home we’ve lived in. I’ve heard they’re the best thing since sliced bread. Apparently they are easy to repair (simply remove and replace damaged boards), and super easy to DIY install.