We decided to give our aggravating hardwood floor install another go and we’re SO glad we did!!! We upgraded up our flooring product (unintentionally – an ordering mistake on our part whoops) and the (unintentional) payout was HUGE. Last time around we used Bellawood’s solid 3/4 x 3 1/4″ Natural Maple, so beautiful but a nightmare to install, and this time bought the Select Maple. It was worlds better in quality – straighter, less milling imperfections, easy to install, and almost no trash boards. A wood flooring success for once in our lives! Over Christmas break we easily tackled our son’s small room over a couple of days (I’ve yet to share pictures because: Lego explosion), and last weekend we knocked out our daughter’s room in 3 long but satisfying days, including baseboards and paint…a record for us slow poke DIYers. Photos to come, it’s beautiful! Install was a dream compared to the previous wood, though still backbreaking. How do people do this professionally??? Previously we were throwing out nearly half the boards, this time our junk board pile was tiny. A few boards still needed to be bent into place, but it was doable. My husband rigged up this system to wedge unruly crooked boards in line:There’s some noticeable differences between the natural maple and the select. I LOVE the almost zebrawood-like look and variation in tone of the natural maple, but I’d take a more uniform, mild look any day to avoid our previous installation woes. The sheen is slightly different too, more matte and slightly textured compared to the smooth glossy shine of the natural, but not noticeable unless you are rubbing on the floor…which hopefully nobody will be doing? As expected, the new wood currently contrasts starkly with the aged, yellowed older stuff, emphasized by the extra pale (but oh so straight) board we decided to start with in my daughter’s room. It looks intense right now, but I’ve watched similar transitions mellow out over a few months in other parts of the house. I’m not worried, though it’s always so interesting to see side by side and something to take note of when you are thinking of purchasing prefinished wood flooring: the finish will darken and yellow in time!I’m so thankful for a flooring win finally. We needed the morale boost! And I can’t wait to share the rest of this room next time (here)! It’s amazing what a difference wood floors can make!!!