Distressed Wood Floors

One of the first things that people comment on when they enter our house are the hardwood floors. Here's why.


They are the original 1910 floorboards. And, as if they weren't distressed enough from over 100 years of people walking all over them, the contractor decided to add a stain to emphasize the imperfections in the wood and general knotty-ness. The result is the handscraped look that has been gaining a lot of momentum as a design choice in both old and new homes.

I couldn't believe when I found this hardwood flooring option from BuildDirect for $7 a square foot (!) that looks a lot like my original flooring. It's one of the most expensive options they sell!

Although it may be the design trend of today, there are some definite pit falls to our floors.

Unlike "new" distressed floors, ours has had to stand the test of time which means scratches, high heel pits, house shifting and settling, and of course the complete gut job that occurred last year.

Not to mention, there is no sub floor under these planks. That's right. There is nothing standing between me and the basement except for these decade old planks and some rickety old floor joists. Honestly, it scare me sometimes, but then Jay reminds me that we passed practically a million building inspections and then I feel slightly better about not recreating this scene from The Money Pit.

I hope you actually watched that clip. It's funny! "Let's try BRAD!"

Anyway, now you get the point. No sub floor means, I can see when the basement lights are on since they shine through the floorboards in the kitchen. It's sort of a neat feature if you ask me.

Here's the one thing that really irks me though. The contractor went through all of this work to preserve the original floor and achieve a very unique look, and then he put a super thin coat of polyurethane on it. It looked shiny for about two months. Now the stain is even wearing away in some highly traveled places. We have a 70-pound wild animal and a high-heel enthusiast living in these confines. We really needed the floors to be given more protection from the abuse that we serve up daily.

The photo above is a prime example. The area of the floor right next to the back door that leads to the backyard. This is where Lu digs in her back paws that spring load her out to chase that squirrel she has had her eye on all day. Imagine a bull bucking out of the corral for the first time at the rodeo. That's what she does every day when I get home from work. It's KILLING the floor.

One more coat of poly may have helped. A little. We even made Lu wear socks for a while. That didn't last long.

Is it me or does she look disappointed in me for even thinking that this might be the solution.

I have to admit, I have daydreamed and even calculated the cost to replace the floors. But then I think, what's the point in that? I'll always wear high heels and Lucy will always be looking for squirrels. With these floors we don't have to feel bad about the dents and dings that come with living in a home for a while. "It's the distressed look" we'll say. We don't have to tell people to take of their shoes at the door and we don't have to live carefully because we have paw, I mean hand-scraped floors.

Although maybe one day I'll get around to slapping another coat of poly on them. Do you have any tips to preserve the life of your hardwood floors? Distressed or not?