There are a handful of reasons as to why pine remains to be one of the most popular choices when it comes to home flooring. For one, it is a relatively affordable choice compared to other wood floorings. It does not fall short when it comes to durability too. Aside from these, pines are easy on the hand and are versatile to work with as a flooring material. But like all other softwoods, it is not perfect and others might disagree with the descriptions used. Thus, to objectively describe pine floorings, we will cover here its pros and cons.
Pine flooring Pros
It is easy to advertise pine floorings as one of the best but for what reasons? In this section, we will flesh out the best features and characteristics that make pine floorings worth every penny.
First of all, pine flooring is visually attractive thanks to the wide range of colors pine woods have. Pine woods come in red, tan, rich to dark brown and yellow to golden yellow colors. Its knots and grains also add to the rustic appeal of pine floorings. When it comes to this feature, pine woods are easy to work with. You can improve the aesthetic appeal of your pine flooring using either varnish, paint, or tung oil only. If you want to go rustic and traditional, you may apply tung oil to the pine flooring. If you want to suit the color to your home’s color tone, best know that pinewood can absorb paint and stains well. If you want your pine flooring to maintain its color and aesthetically age on its own, the varnish will do. Tung oil or vanish, there is something warm about the rustic glow of pine floorings, especially when used in log cabins or in industrial, modern designs.
Another pro of using pine flooring is that pine woods are generally durable. The fact that pine trees could live for a hundred years (and even more for some types) is enough manifestation of its durability to withstand elements. It is also shrink-resistant and will not expand in moisture. Although it could swell in humidity, applying polyurethane will amend the problem. Sure, linoleum is cheaper but if you want flooring that will stay with you for the long haul, go for pine flooring.
Take note that softwoods have a faster growth rate compared to hardwoods. They are also easier to replenish than hardwoods. This characteristic makes pines (being a softwood) more sustainable when it comes to supply. If you want to go down the sustainable/environment-friendly route, you may use reclaimed pine woods or those used pine woods in building and home construction and transform them into wood flooring.
It is also a general fact that softwoods like pine cost just half of the hardwoods like mahogany or oaks. So basically, between the two, know that pine floorings would be the better choice if you are keen on the cost. Aside from this, softwoods are also cheaper compared to linoleum and luxury vinyl tiles. You might say that cedars, spruces, and firs are way cheaper than pinewood but then again, they lack the sturdiness, shock, and disease resistance of pines making it a consistently popular choice for flooring.
Pine flooring cons
As have been mentioned, pine woods are not perfect and it would be objective to also present the cons of pine flooring.
Susceptibility to wearing
Maintaining the pristine condition of pine floorings is impossible especially that softwoods like pine are prone to scratches and dents. Hence, pine flooring is not meant for high traffic floors with kids running around or with big appliances and furniture that might potentially scratch the flooring when moved. This con in pine flooring generally depends on the type of pine you are using and the wood quality of the pinewood you have chosen. If you really want pine flooring, make sure that you know the most durable type and that your home does not have that much traffic.
Needs regular maintenance
Regular maintenance means that you should vacuum your floor every two weeks and make sure that no debris or objects are present that could scratch or dent your pine flooring. If you cannot commit to this type of regular maintenance, then pine flooring might not be meant for you. Another part of pine flooring maintenance would be staining it or sanding it once in a while. It also involves coating it with polyurethane. For average to low traffic homes, these maintenance procedures are musts every ten years. For high traffic homes, these should be done every three years.
You can have your pine flooring installed by a contractor but after that, you are on your own, and mind you, pine flooring needs finishing. Be it using varnish, tung oil, or paint, pine flooring requires finishing techniques to ensure longevity and to maintain its rustic look. If you are not cut out for this type of extra job, perhaps pine flooring is not the best fit for you. You can always go with hardwoods like maple or oak.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is pine a good wood for flooring?
Yes, but with certain reservations. Pinewood is good for flooring because of its durability, longevity, physical appeal, and affordability. However, being a softwood, it could be vulnerable to dents and scratches and needs regular maintenance strategies for its pristine condition to be maintained.
What type of pine is used for flooring?
Astonishingly, there are at least 15 types of pine wood used for flooring and these are the following:
- White pine
- Sugar pine
- Limber pine
- Southern yellow pine
- Longleaf pine
- Loblolly pine
- Western yellow pine
- Lodgepole pine
- Ponderosa pine
- Red pine
- Slash pine
- Shortleaf pine
- Eastern and western white pine
Is it worth refinishing pine floors?
If you are willing to let professionals do the job, then yes. But if you are thinking of doing it DIY, probably no. Why? Because pine wood is more difficult to sand compared to maple or oak. It will really cost you a lot of time especially if the surface area is large. Best leave it to professionals who will charge you with minimal fee ($15-40).
Can you leave pine floors unfinished?
The answer is yes. Leaving pine floors unfinished have a certain appeal to them. As long as they were properly installed and sanded, they can be beautifully raw to look at and just as durable as finished pine wood floor panels. Regular sweeping and vacuuming the unfinished floor panel would be required, however.
Pinewood remains to be a popular choice for flooring because of its upsides. It is affordable, durable, and visually appealing. But it also has its set of shortcomings like being prone to scratches and dents, having regular maintenance requirements like sanding it once in a while, and regularly vacuuming it to prevent debris from scratching its surface. Nonetheless, the upsides still outweigh the cons of pine flooring. Because of this, it is no wonder why when left with the choice between pine and some hardwoods, pine is still a favorite choice.