I've tossed around the choices for a new living room floor for about a year – carpet, tile, laminate, or wood. I'm looking for an option that is affordable and environmentally friendly. I'm fed up with carpet, and with the dog turning ten, older dog or future puppy accidents are all too likely. We love the tile in our family room – we never fuss at the boys about what they are doing on it -- but we can't quite picture it in our more traditional living room. Also, the floor isn't quite flat. Laminate just doesn't suit my style – I really prefer less processing. I'm not completely comfortable with the engineering of bamboo, and the fact that it doesn't have the ability to be refinished (or at least not multiple times). We don't really like the look of cork for our living room. So we're left with wood, and the concern that wood and boys may not go together.
We do not have a formal living room. In fact, the boys may spend more time playing in the living room than in the family room. The stairs , the office, the front door, and the downstairs bathroom all abut the living room. Our TV is in the living room. Keeping the boys out is not an option.
I'm not crazy about the look of oak (just a personal preference). I've been looking at pine and hickory. I love the look of pine, and my hope is that we could manage to distress it in an attractive way. Hickory is much harder, but also more expensive. It's attractive, but I prefer the look of pine. I worry that hickory would get damaged, but not in an all-over way as is more likely with the pine.
I'm looking at penetrating oil finishes rather than poly. I like that I could refinish any parts of the floor that needed it. My top picks are Osmo, Bioshield, Velvit, Waterlox, or Tung oil.
I'm leaning toward the pine. I prefer the look, and I can get very affordable pine from a mill about an hour away – it's local, the logging has to meet any environmental standards here. Also, our boiler recently needed a new motor, using some of the money earmarked for the floor. I will finish it myself, probably with Osmo or Bioshield. I'd like to lightly stain it, so that it coordinates with our trim. We'll see if we have the nerve to purposely distress it when put it in – we probably should! Our tax rebate is going to be funding this project!