About three weeks ago, we got our hardwood floors delivered for the main and second levels. After much waffling between wide plank reclaimed floors and unfinished oak, it finally came down to budget and we went with the oak. I was hoping to at least get 7 inch wide oak planks, but cost nixed that idea as well.
So in the end, we went with quarter sawn, 5 inch wide, unfinished red oak in lengths varying from 1 foot to 8 feet.
I had a lot of flooring companies try to talk me into pre-finished floors since they are easier to install and have a more durable factory finish on them. But I'm a bit old fashioned when it comes to wood. That's why I love reclaimed floors so much!
Site finished floors can be sanded to a super smooth finish with no micro-bevels between the boards and you can finish them any way you like.
If I had it all to do all over again, I would have chosen white oak since it doesn't have the pink undertones that red oak has. But the stairs were done in red oak so I wanted the floors to match.
The quarter sawn boards have a more lined look to them than plain sawn oak which can have a pretty funky pattern in the grain. I like the quiet feel of the quarter sawn oak and that they are more dimensionally stable so they shouldn't have as much movement with humidity changes.
I also prefer the look of long boards, especially in large rooms. So I ended up ordering a bit extra wood and asked our installer to pull all the pieces that were smaller than 2 feet (unless he needed them on an edge).
He did manage to use a bunch of the little pieces in our closet that will eventually be covered over with Ikea Pax units. So now we have a few unopened boxes that we can return.
You might remember me previously mentioning that Steve agreed to finish our floors for us.
The first step was sanding. This took way longer than I thought it would! But Steve is a bit of a perfectionist.
You have to start with a fairly coarse grain and move your way up to a very fine grain and finally screening. The result is a floor that's as smooth as a baby's bottom!
I wanted to use an oil finish on the floors instead of the usual polyurethane. I prefer the feel of an oiled floor underfoot and wanted a light natural or whitish colour.
Steve did a lot of research on this (since he likes oiled floors as well) and found a supplier of Rubio Monocoat. This is a non-toxic, zero VOC, plant based oil that protects and colours the wood in one step. They have 42 colours to choose from, but we chose "smoke". It kept the oak pretty much natural but with a slight light grey in the grain. As you can see in the picture, smoke has a hint of green in it as well which we thought would take some of the pink out of our red oak.
We found the best method to apply the oil was with a sponge.
We then buffed the floor with a red pad and then with a white pad.
After about 12 hours, we could walk on it with socked feet and after about 48 hours you could feel how it hardened the wood.
I absolutely love the colour and the subtle sheen of the floor.
So calm, warm, and natural.
And no off-gassing!
It actually kind of smells nice when it's first applied, and has no odour at all after a couple of days.