Understanding Pine Flooring
Pine is a softwood that has been used in home construction for hundreds of years. It was a common flooring material during the colonial period.
Wide planks are a common style for pine boards. Some types of pine are suitable for strip flooring as well.
Pine flooring is often sold unfinished. Because of this, you can apply stain or another finishing treatment to make it a perfect match for your decorating project.
In addition to virgin pine flooring, you can also install reclaimed pine that was previously used in another project. Over time, well-worn pine develops a unique finish. This is sometimes known as its patina. The time-worn patina of reclaimed wood may lend a sense of history and character to your home.
One other option for pine floors is engineered wood. With this style, instead of being a solid piece of wood throughout, each flooring plank is made of a thin layer of solid wood that’s attached to a plywood base. Engineered pine floors can be slightly cheaper to install, but you won’t be able to refinish them as many times as you could with solid wood.
Reasons to Install Pine Flooring
Pine has been popular for flooring for a long time, and there are plenty of good explanations as to why that is. Check out some of the top reasons that you might want to use pine wood flooring in your home.
Pine floors are renowned for their beautiful appearance. They convey a sense of warmth and welcome that’s fitting for many home decor schemes. Whether you’re going for a traditional look or a rustic one, you can incorporate pine into your design.
Pine planks often come unfinished. The advantage of that is that you can customize them to your liking.
Many homeowners choose a shade of stain that will coordinate with the look of the room, but paint is another option that works well in some designs. You could also finish the flooring with a coat of oil that will let the natural grain and color shine.
There’s no one set style for pine wood flooring. Some varieties feature tight, straight grains. Others have wide grains or sweeping patterns. Knots are common, but some flooring manufacturers have low-knot varieties as well.
The same goes for the color of pine wood. Depending on what type you buy, your floors might be anywhere from nearly white to a rich shade of amber.
Wood flooring is rarely the cheapest option for redoing your floors, but pine can be easier on your wallet than most hardwood varieties. The price of a solid pine floor usually starts at around $3 per square foot. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, may begin closer to $5 per square foot.
If sustainability is important to you, pine flooring could be eco-friendly smart choice. Compared to some other tree varieties, pine trees grow fairly quickly. New ones can be planted to replace those that are harvested.
Also, pine trees grow in many regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere. That means that getting pine planks to your home doesn’t necessarily require a trip from one side of the world to the other. If you’re concerned about conserving resources and minimizing your carbon footprint, that news may be music to your ears.
The fact that some homes have had the same pine floors for around 300 years should encourage you that this type of flooring can serve you well for a long time.
Now, you’ll probably hear that pine is susceptible to scratches and dings. While that may be true, it shouldn’t have you wringing your hands in fear over what’s to come for your pine wood flooring.
For one thing, pine flooring actually gets harder over time. As your family members go about their daily lives, they’ll slowly compress the boards. The more compressed the wood becomes, the harder it will be. You don’t have to do anything special to make this happen; it’s simply a side effect of the everyday activity that naturally takes place in a home.
Also, if your pine floor starts to look quite worn, it can be refinished. You can sand down the top layer and then apply a new coat of stain or paint. The ability to refinish your floor is one advantage of solid pine flooring over engineered pine. Solid wood can be refinished again and again, but you can’t sand down engineered wood too many times.
If you’re still concerned about the durability of pine flooring, consider heart pine for your project. It can be more robust than some hardwoods.
Plus, you could use pine in your less-trafficked rooms. If you’re concerned about dropped knives and constant back-and-forth wear doing a number on your kitchen floor, think about installing pine planks in your bedrooms instead.
Types of Pine Flooring
Several species of pine trees can be used for flooring. They can vary in color, style and hardness.
Eastern White Pine
For people who want wide pine planks, eastern white pine is a popular choice and has been for many years. In the northeast, many old buildings feature eastern white pine floors that have been in place since colonial times.
White pine boards are usually light in color and feature smooth, tight grain patterns. This material is known for having small knots, but you may be able to find varieties with hardly any knots.
This type of pine is softer than some other varieties, but refinishing can keep it looking beautiful for years to come.
For a harder, more durable pine wood floor, try heart pine. This term refers to the heartwood of the longleaf pine, a type of southern yellow pine.
Heart pine is available in warm shades like yellow, gold and butterscotch brown. It’s known for its distinctive grain pattern, which often features a flame-like shape. Vertical-grain heart pine is available as well.
Southern Yellow Pine
Heart pine is made from a type of yellow pine, but not all yellow pine boards qualify as heart pine. You can also buy plain-sawn southern yellow pine that’s harvested before it reaches the heartwood stage.
Yellow pine is one of the most affordable options for a solid wood floor. It features a wide grain, warm hues and plentiful knots.
Pine Flooring Drawbacks
Before you commit to pine flooring, there are a few factors to consider. They may not be enough to strike pine from your must-have list, but they’re still worth reviewing.
For some people, the fact that pine scratches more easily than most hardwoods can be an issue. It might particularly be of concern for families with pets or young kids. Yes, there are ways to deal with the issue — for example, applying a polyurethane coating to the floor or putting felt pads on furniture legs — but you might not be interested in dealing with those steps.
Day-to-day maintenance of pine isn’t hard. Regular sweeping will help ward off scratches, and occasional vacuuming and mopping will keep the floor looking nice.
Every few years, though, you’ll probably want to refinish the floor. That can be a big job that entails sanding and then staining the wood. Of course, once you’re done, the pine flooring may look good as new again!
Alternatives to Pine Flooring
Many homeowners appreciate the beauty of pine wood floors, but it’s not the right choice for every home or every room. One of these alternative flooring options below, you might be able to create a similar look with a material that’s more suitable for your space.
Although a popular choice, pine isn’t the only softwood option out there. Instead of pine floors, you could consider fir or spruce for your remodeling project. Spruce is generally lighter in color than pine and softer too. Fir, on the other hand, is typically stronger than pine.
For high-traffic areas or houses with pets, pine wood flooring or another softwood may not be the best bet. If you’re still committed to the idea of natural wood flooring, consider a hardwood variety instead. Popular hardwoods include walnut, oak, cherry, hickory and birch. As you shop for wood floors, you’re likely to find a few hardwood options that are quite similar in appearance to pine.
A variety of manmade flooring materials can be designed to mimic the look of pine planks. Options may include tile, laminate or luxury vinyl. Often, these flooring types are available in peel-and-stick or click-together varieties for easy installation. Plus, they often provide impressive durability and water resistance.
Like pine wood flooring, cork is a natural material. It’s harvested from the bark of a tree, which means that this is a sustainable product. Plus, it absorbs noise, retains warmth and feels comfortable underfoot. You’ll find some options that look very similar to real wood.
You might be surprised to learn that even concrete floors can resemble pine planks. Previously installed concrete can be textured and painted to achieve this look. New concrete floors can undergo a stamping treatment. Concrete is a smart alternative to pine wood floors in outdoor spaces, rooms that are subject to frequent temperature changes, and laundry rooms or other high-humidity areas.
Is Pine Wood Flooring for You?
Although you can get a similar look with other materials, there’s nothing quite like genuine pine flooring. This traditional material is beautiful, practical and long-lasting. Will you be installing pine floors during your next home renovation?