Remodeling 101: A Guide to the Only 6 Wood Flooring Styles You Need to Know

Remodeling 101: A Guide to the Only 6 Wood Flooring Styles You Need to Know

Information about Remodeling 101: A Guide to the Only 6 Wood Flooring Styles You Need to Know

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Reclaimed or salvaged wood can be any kind of wood with any kind of finish, so long as the wood itself isn’t new. “You do have to treat it differently than new wood,” says Margolies, including paying attention to filling voids and such. The Hudson Company works mostly with reclaimed white oak, heart pine, similar softwoods such as cedar and redwood, and sometimes maple. (See more of Margolies’s insights on this topic in Expert Advice: The Ins and Outs of Reclaimed Wood Flooring.)

Know that reclaimed wood floors are extremely versatile style-wise, and the aesthetic depends on your preference: a reclaimed wood floor could be bleached, ebonized, or given a natural look. The Hudson Company used reclaimed heart pine in floors they installed at New York City’s Whitney Museum, for example, giving it a chalk matte finish that subdued the red and yellow tones and enhanced the whites for a modern, almost Scandinavian look.

Pros:

  • Highly versatile aesthetically, with almost endless looks available.
  • If your floors will be subjected to high traffic (such as kids and dogs), you’re less likely to stress out when they’re reclaimed wood: You know your floor won’t stay perfect. As Craig says, “it may even improve the patina.”

Con:

  • Depending on the style and finish, reclaimed floors aren’t necessarily less expensive than new flooring.

4. Gray-Toned Floors

silvery gray toned floors by dirty girl construction; see expert advice: 4 aff 12
Above: Silvery-gray-toned floors by Dirty Girl Construction; see Expert Advice: 4 Affordable Floor Finishes from Dirty Girl Construction for more.

Up until three or four years ago, gray floors were a big trend, says Margolies. While they’re still popular, they’ve been overtaken by versions of white and the natural (“unfinished”) look, and by black or ebonized flooring.

Achieving a gray floor requires using either a combination of stains, or a mineral-reactive finish—a chemical process that reacts with the tannins in the wood. “This is the most difficult of all the floor finishing trends,” says Margolies. “You’re working with natural wood that will react differently, and the success of gray is very nuanced—it can look artificial, or not what the client expected. Gray is every color—it has greens, purples, blues, browns—and everyone sees those colors differently.” Take heed: When we featured her Portland remodel, blogger Eva Kosmas Flores told us that when tried to stain her existing golden oak flooring in gray tones herself (with a DIY stain of steel wool and vinegar), her floors turned a vivid shade of navy blue (an unfortunate reaction with the type of wood). This kind of treatment is best left to the professionals.

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