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Pine vs Oak Flooring Options

When it comes to wood floors there is almost too much to think about. We've thought about it all, because house #3 has it all. Property #3 has 2 1/4 inch white oak sand and finish in the foyer and dining, 2 1/4 inch oak prefinished in the hallway, formal living (now a bedroom) and former office (now a closet), and 5 inch pine in the living room and kitchen. With the kitchen deconstructed, it's time to make a decision about kitchen flooring or our kitchen renovation timeline will get pushed back. One thing that I am certain about is: a) we want uniform flooring throughout the main living areas, b) we prefer sand and finish flooring over a prefinished and c) I love the look of the wider planked flooring. As far as our options on Pine vs. Oak, here's what our research told us:


  • A soft wood, so it dents. We know this for a fact, because we have track marks from where some appliances or cabinets were rolled out during kitchen deconstruction. This also may not be the choice for those of you with large dogs.

  • Doesn't take darker stains well

  • The yellow tends to show through stains

  • It may fade more than typical hardwoods when in direct sunlight

  • It shrinks more than hardwoods

  • More prone to water damage or staining

  • My floor guy doesn't like it (so much so that he never gave us a quote on new installation costs for pine)

  • Comes in a variety of widths

  • Comes in a variety of species - white pine, yellow pine

  • We have 5 inch sand and finish pine (heart or yellow?) in the kitchen and den (about 600sq feet)

  • Refinishing costs $1.80-3.20 per sq. ft.


  • Also known as long leaf pine

  • Has a large heart with little surrounding sapwood

  • The heart is incredibly dense and insect and rot resistant

  • Early American settlers used heart pine for flooring and construction purposes (even as railroad ties) until it was almost timbered to extinction by 1900

  • Most "new" heart pine flooring is actually reclaimed when old buildings are deconstructed and then re-milled

  • We have 5 inch sand and finish pine (heart or yellow?) in the kitchen and den (about 600sq feet)

  • Refinishing costs $1.80-3.20 per sq. ft.

White Oak:

  • Very durable

  • My sand and finish white oak may not stain the same as the oak prefinished (probably red oak) when refinished

  • Comes in a variety of widths

  • Comes in a variety of species - red oak, white oak

  • We have 2 1/4 inch sand and finish oak in the foyer, small half bath and dining room (about 500 square feet)

  • We have 2 1/4 inch prefinished oak in the former formal living room and office (now tween bedroom and closet (about 300 square feet))

  • New Sand and Finish installation pricing quotes between my floor guys ran from $6.50-8.50 per square foot

  • Refinishing costs ran from $1.80- 3.20 per sq ft.

We decided to stick with the pine for three main reasons: it's cheap to refinish, a bit of a cleaner and quicker process than adding new floors and I love the 5 inch wide planks. We purchased 40 sq. ft. of 5 inch yellow pine to go in our new pantry and fill a few bare spots that are the result of our new kitchen layout. Initially our main floor guy told us that we had yellow pine (maybe the yellow stain confused him); however, after kitchen deconstruction and finding bare wood, butting our new yellow pine to it, we realized that we actually had heart pine flooring.

Our plan is live with the newly refinished pine for a year and then likely add heart pine in our foyer and hallway (as long as we find the pine can handle the traffic of our crew). Due to the expense of heart pine, this will likely be a multi-year, multi-step process. At the end of it all, refinishing the pine on the front end will not save us any money due to the expense adding it on the back end.

Research and information on this post was provided from the following sources: Heartwood Pine Floors The Flooring Lady

The Satin Poly Is Drying on the Refinished Pine

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