We get asked all of the time about our wood floors. People that see them in person think they are original to the house. I have a post up about them already, but it’s included in with the entryway remodel. So, I thought I would write a post specifically regarding our inexpensive wood flooring using pine boards and give you tips and tricks. Because, after all, I think this idea is worthy of its own post. 😉
Yep! We used regular old #2 pine boards pictured above. They are the same pine boards that Mr. and Mrs Crafty Pants make shelves and craft items from. The #2 means they come with a few knot holes which is perfect if you want a rustic looking floor.
But first, what are my honest thoughts about using pine boards as an inexpensive flooring?
Some people are very hesitant to use pine boards as flooring because pine is a very soft wood. I wanted to clear it all up and answer the most common questions we get asked.
*Do you still like them after years of use?
YES. First off, I think they are gorgeous and we both love them. They truly do look like they are original to our house built in 1945. They add a rustic touch to a room and can be used in basically any type of decor style. We installed them in our previous home, which we lived in for several years, and still loved them when we sold.
*Do they scratch easily?
If I were to take a sharp tool and scratch the surface of our flooring, yes, it would scratch. If I were to slide a heavy piece of furniture across the floor without using sliders, yes, it would scratch. But what flooring wouldn’t? We have found that regular, every day use does not scratch this flooring if you use the correct finishing products.
*Will my dog’s nails scratch the floor?
We have a 60 pound dog and her nails don’t scratch the floor. BUT, we also, don’t allow her to tear around the house 100 mph, either. If she starts getting a wild hair, we let her outside to do that type of running.
*Are pine boards difficult to install as flooring?
They are super, duper easy to install. We can add ceramic tile and several different types of laminate wood flooring to our resumes. We’ve done both of those projects, several times. This, BY FAR, is the easiest flooring we have done. Since the boards are 3/4″ thick, it hides a multitude of problems in sub-flooring, etc. Basically, you cut the boards down to the length you need and install it right over the sub-flooring.
*Can you use this on a house with a slab foundation?
This is a question that I cannot answer. I added it to this post because it is one we get asked quite frequently. You obviously wouldn’t be nailing the boards down, but I have no clue if there is any type of vapor barrier or glue that would work. I would talk to a contractor about that before attempting to install this on a slab foundation.
*How do you clean this type of flooring?
We use a little Murphy’s Oil Soap in our water and a damp mop. That does the trick.
*How much does it cost?
They look very expensive! That’s why I love them. But they are actually just the opposite. I believe we installed around 2500 square feet in this house and it cost us under $4,000. That is for all of the supplies, nails, and refinishing products.
Where to Purchase the #2 Pine Boards
You don’t just want to buy any old #2 pine board and throw them down. I LOVE Menards and Lowes for LOTS of different reasons, but their #2 pine boards is not one of them. 😐 They actually suck pretty bad. I give them two thumbs down in that department. It’s only because they receive big shipments of wood to their stores and basically store them in little bins which can cause them to warp, dry out, and crack. You don’t want that. Trust me!
If you are going to use pine boards as flooring, you will want to get them from your local lumber yard. They have the best #2 pine boards ever, that are really better than the big box stores “best” wood. I had our lumber yard order them special for us because we needed such a large quantity AND we wanted newer boards. Newer boards are a lot more pliable and you will soon learn and appreciate that fact. 😉 They gave us a fabulous deal because we ordered such a large quantity, too.
Helpful Tips We Learned
This isn’t our first trip on the merry-go-round!!!
We’ve installed pine boards as flooring several times in different homes. We are, by no means, experts on it, but I would say we are “experienced”. We’ve learned different tricks from each project installing these pine boards as flooring and I thought I would share some of them with you. Basically, I’ve learned a lot over my 150 years of being alive!
- Purchase “newer” boards – I cannot express this tip enough and, I know, I have already covered it. (That means it’s really important.) You don’t want to use boards that are dried and warped. Your local lumber yard boy will know what exactly what you are talking about when you say you want new boards.
- Install the pine boards shortly after you purchase them – You are probably thinking to yourself, “Oh my gosh, old lady, how dumb do you think we are?” I’m only reminding you of this because we learned from experience. We had a large amount of wood delivered to us for the main floor of the house. We had a stack of wood leftover from that project to use upstairs. When we finally got started on the upstairs, they had probably sat for about a month in our house. They were already dried out and extremely hard to use. Therefore, don’t order tons of wood to be delivered tomorrow if you aren’t going to get to your project for a month.
- Remove all of your base boards before installation – I know, I know. Some of you are probably saying “DUH” again, and giving me the old eye roll. But, I’ve seen people install flooring with the base boards on. BUT, you need to keep these pine boards about 1/8″ to 1/4″ away from the walls to give them room to expand and contract. Therefore, your base board trim will hide that gap very nicely.
- Install them with adhesive AND nails – We used an adhesive on the underside of each board AND nailed them, both. Since the boards are new, we didn’t want them to warp when they dried out and pull up. Therefore, we ensured that they would stay attached with both glue and nails. Now, we used square nails for installation, because they appear like rustic old barn floors. Although, we have installed them using an air nailer which obviously takes about half of the time.
- Pre-drill holes if using square nails – TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. We learned that the hard way. We tried pounding those nails without pre-drilling holes, and were worn out ten minutes into the project. It takes less time to pre-drill the holes than it does pounding those gimundo nails in without.
- Beat them up and make them look old – Take all of your frustrations out on your pine boards after you have them installed and before you re-finish them. Seriously, beat the living shit out of them. We used chains, hammers, screw drivers, crow bars, etc. This part is very important. When you ding and dent them up before you re-finish them, you won’t notice imperfections from installation errors, etc.
- Apply three coats of polyurethane “specifically for floors” – After we chose and applied our stain color, we applied three coats of Super Fast Drying Polyurethane for floors in all of the high traffic areas, kitchen, and bathrooms. We only applied two coats in the bedrooms.
- Do not use a water-based polyurethane on your wood floors – We tried that once. Don’t do it. The instructions said that you can use it on floors, but it didn’t hold up well at all. Talk about scratches. 😠 DON’T DO IT.
- Use different widths of boards – This is something that you don’t have to do, but it makes things a lot easier. If you notice in the pictures, we used boards that are 12″, 10″, 8″, and 6″ wide. If you use all of the same size, I would recommend start installing them in the middle of the room and work your way out on both sides, keeping the last board on each side the same size. If you use different widths of pine boards, you can start at one end and work your way to the other. When you get close to your wall, you can kind of control what size goes where and won’t end up with a sliver.
- If using different widths, install them randomly – This helps also with the problem above. If you are using different widths of boards in a random pattern, when you get close to the wall, you can lay two of the same size boards in a row rather than having that sliver that I talked about above.
Products We Used
Your contractor will have everything he needs to install pine boards as flooring, as far as tool wise. And, I’m assuming if you are going to try this method yourself, you have the proper tools needed and know a little bit about projects.
I do, however, want to show you the color of stain and the type of polyurethane we used because that’s another question I get asked, a lot.
We took scrap pieces of our pine boards and tried several different colors of stain. The color we loved the most was Provincial, by Minwax. It has the perfect amount of warmth and is not too dark. The colors will all look different in your home due to different lighting, etc. Therefore, I suggest you do the same thing. Purchase the little sample sized cans of a few different colors and stain individual boards and see what they look like in your room. You don’t want to get this far and then despise the color you choose.
This is the polyurethane that I swear by for floors. It dries really fast and holds up really well. We used a Satin sheen, because in my opinion, it’s the best for flooring.
Oh…. and this is the poly that we used on our wooden bathroom vanity top, too. We used three coats and have no issues, whatsoever, with water marks.
Woooooohoooooo. That was a long post!
BUT, I really hope it helps you out and I answered any questions that you may have if you are thinking about installing pine boards as flooring. Please reply in the comment section if you have any other questions that I didn’t cover. I would be happy to answer them for you. We learned all of this by trial and error.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I pledge my love to all of my readers.
Buh bye now, said in an old lady’s voice that is just tired from reminiscing about installing our floor.