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Old 05-01-2017, 06:53 AM
 
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I have only ever lived in or bought houses built before 1950 and as such, I have grown used to "old" hardwood. One of my current houses has very plank wide heart of pine floors. Another I lived in had oak hardwood everywhere except the bathrooms. A house I have as a rental has a really cool herringbone hardwood pattern.

We have been looking at new houses/newer construction and I am really disappointed in the look of the wood floors. They just don't seem the same. I have heard that the "old" hardwood is farmed out and a "wood" floor now is not the same as it used to be. I don't mind newer materials like bamboo, but prefer not to have vinyl floors made to look like wood.

What is going on with modern hardwoods? Are there any brands that have the look of the "old" wood? Or would you have to reclaim some old floors to get the same look?
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Old 05-01-2017, 06:58 AM
 
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Most wood floors nowadays are engineered hardwood. You could always install solid hardwood, but it's going to cost a ton of money.
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Old 05-01-2017, 07:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarnivalGal View Post
Most wood floors nowadays are engineered hardwood. You could always install solid hardwood, but it's going to cost a ton of money.
Does solid hardwood look the same? I feel like one of the houses I looked at recently was touted as having "solid hardwood" and I kept thinking "that doesn't look like hardwood I am used to." I am going to have to do some research.
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Old 05-01-2017, 07:41 AM
 
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White oak is white oak is white oak.... I've have 2 homes (1950 and 1930) where I had new white oak laced in with the original to do some damage repairs and it was Completely seamless in the 1950's house, and nearly seamless in the 1930's house.

The real difference between new and old is the older floors have picked up some 'character' (read that as imperfections/damage) that give them a little interest, at least IMHO.

Real hardwood isn't really that much more expensive than "engineered" and with site-finished hardwoods you don't have that Annoying 'V' groove between all the planks. That's a visual turn-off to me.
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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I'll be honest, I don't think old and new hardwood floors look the same at all. Our last home before H died had awful carpet in the LR, DR, and hall, so I replaced all of that with high quality solid hardwood floors. They did look nice, but just not the same as older hardwood. One of the house I've owned (built 1952) had solid red oak floors that I had refinished (previously had carpet over it), and they looked just gorgeous. My current 1927 house has original heart pine floors with a lot of patina and character - I don't think that look could be replicated unless reclaimed salvaged wood was used.
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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No they are not the same.

You cannot buy the same kind of wood they once used (old growth). Engineered or not, you are nto going to get the grain patterns. You are also not going to get the patina of age. One thing that makes a big different in appearance is an actual improvement in modern wood floors. The seams are way tighter now, virtually invisible in many floors. While this is conceptually an improvement, it takes away from the look of the floor.
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:35 AM
 
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I think a lot of the engineered hardwoods look terrible

The real hardwoods that are finished onsite look ok to me. I think the stain matters a lot as to how they turn out
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Old 05-01-2017, 11:26 AM
 
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Yes, you can get the "old" wood. It is not "old" but not prefinished. Prefinished is the way a lot of houses go unless they are expensive houses. Prefinished floors are used a lot because you can walk on them immediately after laying them down. Non finished floors have to be installed, sanded, stained if desired, and polyurethaned then have to harden often weeks before you put furniture on them. I think the trick to prefinished is not to go cheap. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each Pros & Cons of Prefinished vs. Unfinished Wood Flooring.
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:03 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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You aren't imagining it. The way the joints in the flooring look is different. On-site finished, the seams are absolutely flat and tight and the only reason you know it is a seam is that it changes the direction of the grain. That is, by the way, a very expensive floor to have installed and you will most likely only see it in old houses and very top end custom houses.

I was just in several expensive houses and most had engineered flooring. The only ones with real flooring were houses that the owner had custom built for his own family to live in. Anything spec or newer construction meant to be sold, like a housing tract, had engineered, which is a lot cheaper and doesn't look nearly as nice. Most of those had cheap end carpeting in most of the house and just wood in the entry, living room, and maybe the kitchen.

The on-site finished is installed and then it is sanded and after that it is stained. The sanded in place makes a huge difference in how it looks. The pre-finished hardwood doesn't have as tight a joint, but it still looks really good. The finish looks different than the stained and waxed finish of the old floors, so it does look different.

You are probably not seeing a lot of real solid wood flooring, OP. I put real wood flooring in mine, but my family does the install which cuts the cost of it in half and I buy what is on sale and I am flexible about it.
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Old 05-01-2017, 01:48 PM
 
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To add a little to this, I have heard several people say a house has hardwood floors. They apparently meant just "wood" vs. carpet because the floors were then pine, a softer wood.

We loved living in historic homes with all hardwood, a real plus because in the old days, well off people had hard wood on the first floor showing their wealth. And often pine on the second floor where the private rooms would be. But homes of extremely wealthy people back in the day would have hard wood on the first AND second floors. Almost impossible to afford nowadays.
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