I am asked regularly to weigh in on wood flooring choices. There are so many great choices that I immediately try to narrow the field by asking questions such as: Do you have dogs and are they large dogs? Is it alright with you if the floor gets scratched up a lot? Softer woods will show scratches in no time. Another question that is important is: ‘Do you need to brighten up the room with lighter wood flooring or is a darker floor more appealing?’
Another question I ask is if they would be interested in using reclaimed materials for their floors. Wood planks taken from a 200-year-old barn are going to have a wonderful patina if milled properly and will be more durable than a new board of the same species. A board of that age would have been from old growth forests where the trees were mature, the growth rings tight, and the insect and rot resistance would be strong. There is an additional cost for reclaimed materials, but many of our clients feel reclaimed wood is a real value.
In addition to the choice of woods, there are many ways to finish floors including polyurethane-both water and solvent based, tung oil, stains, and penetrating sealers.
With so many choices for wood flooring these days, the real issue is deciding which one(s) to use.
Photography: Rob Karosis