We will finally be ordering our hardwood floors at the beginning of March. I can't believe the time is nearly here and I'm now growing more and more concerned about making the right choices when it comes to what kind we go with and how to care for them. We have pretty crazy household - three kids (who all have friends that visit every week) and two dogs.
Our *original* plan was to install unfinished wide planked heart pine. I really like the rustic look and feel. We weren't going to poly the floors, but planned on just using a tinted tung oil.
I doubt tht we'll be going in that direction, however. Besides the fact that what I like isn't within our budget, I've read that it's imperative to intall wide plank flooring just right or else you run the high risk of having your planks buckle. We are first time renovators and everything is an experiment. We can't afford to mess up our floors.
I found what seems to be a reputable company out of Missouri, Kenny's Hardwood, that has been around for over fifty years. Though we'll end up paying about $500 to have the flooring shipped, their pricing seems pretty inexpensive for solid 3/4 inch flooring. Anyone had any dealings with this company?
So now I'm wondering if we should go with unfinished (which we would tung oil) or prefinished wood. I found some really pretty prefinished white oak (right) that is 2.89 a square foot. In many ways, I like the idea of laying the floor and boom! We're done. But I also worry about the wear and tear of prefinished w/ poly protected flooring. I'm all for naturally distressed floors, but I have a feeling that chips and dings and scratches in prefinished flooring isn't as acceptible as they would be in more rustic, natural tung oiled wood.
Kenny's Hardwood offers a very beautiful selection of unfinished flooring. If we go the unfinished route, we will use a penetrating seal and then wax finish. Of course, more work will be required upon installation, like sanding and applying the sealant. However, I like the idea of just letting the floor *be* after that (imagine the natural patina after years and years) and the relatively simple upkeep.
"This finish has been widely used on residential floors. As its name implies, the sealer penetrates or soaks into the wood pores and hardens to seal the floor against dirt and certain stains. The penetrating sealer may also contain a stain to impart additional color to the flooring. These finishes may be used in all areas but kitchens and daily eating areas where frequent water contact is likely. This finish does protect from surface moisture but will stain, dull, and/or whiten if the moisture remains on it for more than a short period of time.
At the surface it delivers a low gloss satin finish that wears as the wood wears. The satin luster helps camouflage surface abuse. However, since the finish wears with the wood, eventually traffic lanes may show a lightened or dulled area. When an area does begin to show wear, it can be refinished or renewed. The renewed areas can be made to blend into the existing finish without lap marks or other obvious signs of repair.
The beauty and wear resistance of wood floors finished with a penetrating seal may be further enhanced by wax. A wax coating forms a barrier against the most frequent kind of abrasion, can be easily renewed, and imparts a soft shine to the floor. "
We have a few more weeks to decide. If any of you would like to share your experience with both prefinished and unfinished flooring, please do! We're trying to weigh all the pros and cons so every tidbit of information helps.