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I'm thinking of laying down some wood flooring in my living room and 2nd floor hallway, so this will be a DIY job in my own house.

From my limited exposure to flooring this is what I don't like:

1: Hardwood flooring that is actually not that hard. This stuff seems to be everywhere, in every house I see that boasts: "new gleeming hardwood floors!". It's scratches and dents when you sneeze on it. Probably made from some rapid growth crap farmed maple/oak...whatever.

2: Flooring made from three foot strips. WTF? This looks like crap, (again only MY opinion). It reminds me of those patch leather purses you used to see.

3: Flat sawn wood with ugly grain. No wonder they stain the crap out of it. It's the only way to hide the grain.

What I do like:

1: Old oak or maple (usually 1 3/4 width). Semi to low gloss finishes.

2: Long board lengths.

3. Generally lighter colours for my house. It doesn't have a ton of natural light.

Any nice South American stuff out there? Garapa?
Is reclaimed oak or maple, (or even heart pine) a viable option?
I'm happy to do the finishing myself.
 

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I like 2"-3" widths and random lengths. For light woods I like maple, birch, and Australian cypress with a satin finish.
 

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The Finisher
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I'm thinking of laying down some wood flooring in my living room and 2nd floor hallway, so this will be a DIY job in my own house.

From my limited exposure to flooring this is what I don't like:

1: Hardwood flooring that is actually not that hard. This stuff seems to be everywhere, in every house I see that boasts: "new gleeming hardwood floors!". It's scratches and dents when you sneeze on it. Probably made from some rapid growth crap farmed maple/oak...whatever.

2: Flooring made from three foot strips. WTF? This looks like crap, (again only MY opinion). It reminds me of those patch leather purses you used to see.

3: Flat sawn wood with ugly grain. No wonder they stain the crap out of it. It's the only way to hide the grain.

What I do like:

1: Old oak or maple (usually 1 3/4 width). Semi to low gloss finishes.

2: Long board lengths.

3. Generally lighter colours for my house. It doesn't have a ton of natural light.

Any nice South American stuff out there? Garapa?
Is reclaimed oak or maple, (or even heart pine) a viable option?
I'm happy to do the finishing myself.
If your going to do the finishing yourself, I can tell you that staining maple, or pine is no easy task. You should think about purchasing pre-finished if you go with one of these IMO.

Also your going to find short boards in most cases. Higher quality manufacturers will have less though.

Reclaimed flooring is generally very expensive, but the look is awesome!

Have you looked at Ash? Looks similar to a white oak, but has less grain.
 

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Carpe Diem
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My favorite (and will be using in my own home) is Brazilian Walnut:



I love the multiple tones and it's hard as hell.

I believe the last time I inquired at my local flooring store, prefinished 2 1/2" was around $6/sq ft my cost.
 

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Brazillian Walnut is terrific, I know it is not a light wood but I love the look of Cherry. I agree if you can find prefinished in your price range I may would go with that. Figure the time it will take you to stain and finish the new wood (not to mention dust clean up from sanding) vs pre-finished, if you can find a good price on the pre-finished stuff it may be the way to go.
 

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Heart pine! Heart pine! Heart pine w/out a doubt is the most beautiful. You have to be careful while you're purchasing it though. I've seen it listed and it's all over the board. People calling anything and everything heart pine. I've seen some flooring advertised as heart pine and it looks like 2x4 someone milled down to 3/4"! There's no real guide line for it. To me heart pine is pine that comes from the heart of old growth (usually from the south) pine trees and was all milled prior to the 1900's. I used to mill it into flooring after recycling it from warehouses. I haven't searched it out lately just because the market has been so tough and I'm nervous about investing more into it. I still have about 3000 sq ft of 4" wide plank left. Lengths range from 4- 16'.

Not only are you getting the most unique floor available, you're buying a piece of American history. (What a salesman eh!) Here are some pieces of it unfinished.

Brazillian walnut is beautiful as well. I also like american walnut but the brazillian looks almost identical and it's like twice as hard (I've never actually installed the brazillian myself, just basing this on what I've seen and heard). I'm also a fan of hickory. Old growth maple can be very pretty as well but it's harder to find nice flooring in the wider planks...

I can get the 2 1/4" wide random length (generaly from 3'- 8' lengths) american walnut unfinished for $2.20/ sq ft. I can get the 1 3/4" maple (rigorous install!) unfinished for $1.75 but it's not old growth.
 

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I'll have to disagree with an earlier poster on the pine. Pine is uglier then sin.

You mentioned limited exposure and you say you're gonna' finish it yourself? Have fun. Take and post pictures please.;)
 

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Bolivian Rosewood (picture above) or Ipe, highly figured, are the two with the best eye appeal in my own opinion...

 

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I'll have to disagree with an earlier poster on the pine. Pine is uglier then sin.

You mentioned limited exposure and you say you're gonna' finish it yourself? Have fun. Take and post pictures please.;)
I think you're the minority on that one. It also depends on the style of your house obviously. I think it's beautiful wood. (That's what she said:whistling!)
 

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Santos Mahogany is beautiful. I also have it in my bedroom.


Pine still sucks hind teat, as the picture above proves...:thumbsup: (I mean come on! Look at that floral pattern on that chair on the right of the picture! Old lady house for ser!).
 

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I like this form the link Angus posted: House is 120 years old I should mention. How much sanding needs to be done after you lay this? If need to drum sand I'll forego the finishing it myself part :whistling

If you like that look, go with a #2 white oak. It's going to have a lot of shorts more than likely, but you'll get the knotty look with all the mineral lines. You'll just be short the nail holes. #2 unfinished white oak should be able to be bought for under $2/bd ft. At that price, you can afford someone else to do the sanding. If you do go that route, get yourself some black filler for the knots. I'd recomend culling out any boards with through knots.

Another good look, if you like rustic, would be hickory. Personally, I like to stain it with walnut or provincial. Makes the white wood a whole lot less white & gives a really rustic look.

More elegant & hard would be brazillian walnut (ipe). It's extremely hard. Weighs twice as much as red oak. Extremely dense. You won't be able to finish it with an oil based finish though, it'll have to be waterborne. It's an oily wood.

If you like a redish wood, there's always brazillian cherry. It's also hard & dense. Unlike the ipe, it can be finished with oil based finish.

You're budget of $5-7 for material opens you up a lot of possibilities.
 
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