Friday, May 14, 2010

Love Wood Floors!

Let’s talk about one of my many ‘favorite’ things in interior design – wood floors. There are so many advantages to them it’s hard to know where to start. First the look is completely unbeatable. They are beautiful to the eye, easy on the feet and legs, and have a natural warmth to them. I love the depth of color and texture in the wood because they are made from a ‘living’ substance. All in all, wood floors make a very comfortable, livable and visually pleasing space to live and work.

The variety of floors we have available to us is really quite remarkable. In our area of the country we predominately use a red oak sand and finish floor. It is installed with raw wood, one plank at a time, and then stained and finished. If the house is being built or is having major remodeling, we put down a “nail down” floor. If however, you are living in the house and decide you want wood floors, we now have the option of a “glue down” red oak wood that can be sanded and finished and looks just like the nail down. (Putting in a nail down floor after the house is completed would require changing the height of the baseboards because the nail down floor has a plywood sub-floor first. Most people do not want to go to that hassle. In addition, the process for a nail down floor takes much longer than a glue down floor and most people tire of the disruption before the process is complete.) Both the nail down and the glue down boards come in multiple widths. In the ‘old days’ most every floor plank was 2 ¼” wide. Today we have the options of 2 1/4” 3” , 4”, 5”, 6” wide planks. I have just finished 2,000 square feet of a scraped 6” floor that is simply breathtaking (see above and left).

Both the glue down and the nail down wood can be sanded smooth or scraped, with or against the grain. How you scrape a floor makes a significant difference in the feel of the room. If you scrape against the grain it will be more rustic and ‘lodge’ looking. You will see darker spots in the floor as the stain sinks into the roughness of the exposed grain. Scraping them with the grain can give you the best of both worlds. It still gives the durability of scraping and yet is more elegant, has a comfortable, upscale feel. Sanding floors smooth is timeless and I love it, (see below) AND you have to be mentally prepared for the floors to show more wear and tear. If you have dogs or small children, I usually don’t recommend sanding the floors smooth. Every time the dog skids across the floor with its nails gripping the wood, you have the chance of seeing those skids marks, though slight, in the polyurethane coating on the floor. Over time, those marks really add up.

The variety in wood is extensive and begs for another post, check back in a couple of days. But for today, red oak scraped with the grain and red oak sanded smooth. Wood floors beautify any space, add value to the home and are extremely livable. I would recommend them to anyone. They are more expensive than carpet and you must figure in area rugs when you’re considering the budget on wood floors, but they are well worth the minimal life disruption during installation and the cost, if your budget allows. Enjoy!


  1. Are wood floors difficult to take care of? Don't you have to treat them (sand, stain, etc) every few years? Also, how do you cut down on the echo factor that seems to be prevalent in a wood floor house? Mindy

  2. Thanks for the questions. Wood floors are not hard to take care of. There are special polyurethane wood floor cleaners. Simple to use and keep up. You only need to re-sand, re-finish a wood floor if it gets to looking really beat up or it gets sun damaged - that shouldn't happen too often - you may never need to do it. You will need rugs to cut down on the noise factor.