wood floors - help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2000
wood floors - help!
Wed, 07-23-2003 - 10:33pm
We are getting wood floors installed throughout our first floor. We both have the same taste, but we cannot seem to find what we are looking for! I want something kind of "rustic" looking, where you can see the grain/knots in the wood, not just solid color wood flooring. It's so hard to tell when looking at a tiny sample in the store, how it's going to look when done in large scale.

Not only that, but my BIL just had wood floors installed, and he said he doesn't like the finish on them b/c you can see footprints on the floor. This would drive me crazy but I have no idea what finish to get in order to not have this problem.

Those of you who have wood floors, what do you like about them? What do you dislike about them? If offering advice to someone who is installing them, what would you tell them?

Also, do you have hardwood or engineered wood? Most of the stuff we've been looking at is engineered wood, which has come recommended by several people. If you have engineered, do you like it?

There are just way too many choices. And since this is going to be a big investment, I don't want to screw it up!

Any suggestions????


Avatar for lucy4980
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 08-01-2003 - 3:46pm
My mom's house is also a 1930s house with wood floors. The previous owners had them covered with carpet. We knew the floors were wood when we bought the house, but didn't know what kind of shape they were in. The floors in the bedrooms were unfinished and in very good condition. We sanded, stained, and varnathaned them and they are great. It's been 10 years since we did the floors and they still look as good as they did when we finished the job. We just sweep or run the floor attachment of the vacuum over them and mop them occasionally. The livingroom floor was finished and we haven't redone it yet, but its on the list. The sealant that was used isn't as durable as the varathane we used, so the finish gets cloudy for a little while if water is spilled on it. I love the wood floors though. They are so easy to keep up.
Avatar for bobcatkathi
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 08-01-2003 - 1:02am
My home was built in the 1930's so there are hardwood floors all through it. Except they have been covered by carpet for 60 years. I had no idea we had hardwood floors until I had already paid for the carpet. Next time we are refinishing the floors. They are beautiful except in a few places they need some work. I have wood parquet floor in my big den but it scars easily. I think wood floors are really nice and very classic.

Also they are easy to take care of.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 11:55pm

I just stumbled across your post.... and I had to let you know something. I just installed wood flooring. I love it except for one thing... it is too light, it shows everything! With kids it is best to go with something medium colored!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2000
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 10:01pm
THanks for your insight ladies. It is all valuable information that I will have to look into. As for engineered wood, no it is not like Pergo. Here is a definition from a flooring website: "A wood flooring that consists of layers of wood pressed together, with the grains running in different directions resulting in a dimensionally stable plank not affected to the same degree by moisture as solid plank floors." I don't care either way if we do solid or engineered, but engineered seems to be the latest thing. My BIL is an architect by training, but now works in the construction business from an operations standpoint and he just bought engineered wood for his house. He really likes it so far, except for the glossy finish.

The flooring that we've tentatively picked out is called "rustic pecan" - but I'm still searching around in case I see something better. I would actually love to do pine b/c that is the look I'm going for, but I think it would be too soft for us with the high traffic volume.

Thanks again for all the info, esp about the type of finish to get!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 12:08pm
If you want rustic, I'd say go for pine, or even better is you can afford it, cypress. My cousin has gorgeous solid cypress floors. (Of course, she's the enterprising type. When they were tearing down a lot of the old warehouses in New Orleans to make room for the convention center, she hired a semi and a driver, then walked around until she found a demolition crew willing to sell her some boards. Then she took the truckload back home and stored the wood in a rented warehouse for 2 more years until she was ready to start building her house, pulling out the nails whenever she had the time. When they were ready to build, she hired someone to refinish the boards. Her floors are stunning, and they are 2 inches thick! Cypress is one of those woods that gets stronger as it ages, and it is waterproof.)

As to footprints, that's easy. Just be sure to specify a satin finish polyurethane, NOT a gloss finish. A gloss finish is a VERY bad idea on a hardwood floor. I grew up with waxed hardwood, and I spent most of my childhood on my knees buffing it; my mother was ecstatic when Dad finally gave her an electric floor buffer for Mother's Day. When we bought our 1947-vintage house, the first thing we did was rip up all the carpets and have the floors refinished and polyurethaned.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-16-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 11:49am

We have hardwood floors throughout our house and ours date back to the original construction of the house(1883), so when we needed to replace some of the boards due to damage we found a source for antique/reclaimed flooring to match. It's expensive, but it has that rich patina and extensive tight grain structure that's missing from modern lumber IMO. The floors on the first floor had the traditional wax finish of old when we bought the house, but we have removed it and refinished the floors with polyurethane for better durability and less maintenance-wax floors have to be cleaned, buffed, and rewaxed regularly to protect the wood and preserve the finish while poly is a more wash and wear finish. The upstairs currently has a painted finish, but we plan on stripping that off, sanding and polyurethaning those floors this fall after the heat and humidity dies down a little. I would guess what your BIL's floors have is a high gloss poly finish, which is a slightly harder finish but which is going to show any signs of wear quickly. When we did our floors we went with several coats of high gloss as base coats, but our final coats are a satin finish which has less of the highly glossy, reflective appearance and hides wear better. We have many pets and as such have a lot of traffic over our floors so hiding wear was important to us! Since ours were already installed and we did our own replacement and refinishing work I can't really offer advice on that, other than if you do go with a poly finish make sure to get a good brand(we used Schreuder Isotol I believe for most of ours), because there is a noticable difference in quality and durability. We had run out of the Schreuder's with one room to go and wanted to finish quickly because we had guests coming so we bought a mid-range brand at Menards, and the difference in wear is astounding. The room we used it in is our lowest traffic room(formal living room), but it's showing much more signs of wear than our high traffic family room and dining room.

I absolutely love my hardwood floors, and wouldn't trade them for anything! Our family's allergy problems are greatly reduced now that we don't live with carpets trapping dust mites and pollens, and cleanup of spills or other accidents is much much easier. You do notice hair and dust accumulating more than with carpet, which is a good thing for me since it provokes me to clean more often*G*.

Avatar for taylormomma
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 8:08am
I have hardwoods; they are really old but I kind of like that about them. If you like a more rustic look you can go with pine (I really like the wide-plank floors, which are becoming popular here). It's a softer wood but should still hold up well.

My hardwoods are polyurethaned. I know people who go with wax, but frankly I'm just too lazy and cheap, because the poly finished floor is easier to keep and waxed floors have to be re-waxed/buffed every so often. (this might be the finish your BIL has, because the poly finish doesn't show footprints)

I'm not sure what you mean by "enigneered" wood - is that like Pergo, or is it just a composite wood? Personally, I like the real stuff - it's the flaws that make it interesting to me. But then, I'm the one who bought a house because one of the Mexican tiles in the kitchen had the imprint of a dog's paw in it, so don't listen to me, lol.