I used to have carpet. Key words – USED TO. With multiple cats and rabbits, the vacuuming and cleaning the occasional accident became overwhelming. Half of my first floor (kitchen, dining room, entry way) is porcelain tile – which I love – but I wanted a warmer, softer feel in the great room.
So the logical choice was hardwood, but I had a lot of concerns. What if it gets scratched? What if someone has an accident and it ruins the finish? For me, the absolute best solution was recycled BARN WOOD. Not only am I doing my part for the environment (no trees were killed!), but I have a durable floor that looks even BETTER with wear!
Advantages of barn wood:
I chose an OAK barn wood to match my décor and because I love the grain and durability of the wood. Plus you will find that many of the old barns were made of oak, so this is a common barn material. I chose the rough-sawn finish since it retains the rustic look of the original wood. This option may not be for everyone. Smooth styles are also available.
Not only will you need to choose the type and style of wood, but you will also need to choose the type of FINISH. I choose a TUNG OIL finish (3 coats) as opposed to a polyurethane top coat. Why? Because if I do get a scratch or someone has an accident, I can easily sand it and apply more Tung oil to the spot.
What do I like about our barn wood floor?
- You CANNOT damage it. It already contains knots and imperfections – that I think are beautiful – but that also easily mask any type of wear and tear.
- It’s easy to clean. I simply vacuum and occasionally use a soft mop to wipe it with furniture oil – maybe several times a year.
- It does not show water marks. We have had pet accidents as well as overwatered plants that have dripped onto the floor. Simply wipe up with a paper towel.
The best place to buy barn wood:
To avoid mark-ups, do NOT buy this kind of flooring through a local retailer. Instead, buy direct from a MILL that salvages and planes the wood. Searching online, I found that the majority of them are in eastern states like New York and Vermont, but there may be others. I am in Michigan and shipping charges were more reasonable than you might think. You will need your own flooring contractor to do the installation.
- Ask for SAMPLES of the type of wood and the finish that you choose. Most mills will send out at no or minimal charge.
- Understand measurements. This is one problem that we had with the mill – I did not realize that the tongue and groove was part of the width – so I ordered too narrow of a piece and had to return them. Again, it’s best to have a sample of exactly what you want.
- Shop around. We found rather large differences in pricing at the various mills. Do not hesitate to negotiate.
So how do we like living ON a barn? It’s worry free. It’s warm under our feet and paws. It looks homey and warm. We wouldn’t trade it for the farm.