Thinking About Flooring in the Cottage

One of the things I find myself thinking about a lot is flooring. I endlessly, relentlessly agonize over what to do with the wood floors in my own house when I eventually refinish them, which is the subject of a whole different post. It’s best to not even get me started on the two bathrooms, either. I mean, the options just seem boundless! I’ve never felt particularly compelled to add another bathroom to my house, but I’ll admit that the idea of just getting to pick out another floor almost makes me want one. Also, sinks. And tubs. And mirrors. Maybe I just want to renovate more bathrooms?

The cottage renovation has sort of sent my obsessive flooring thoughts into overdrive. I have a surplus of floors in my life to worry about. Consequently, I’m losing my mind. Or I’ve lost it already. So let’s think this through together, yeah?

fronttoback

This is that familiar new view into the cottage when you’re standing at the front door. I’m still really pleased with this new floor plan—I think once the walls go up, it will feel just open enough but still efficient and cozy, like this place needs to be.

The floor has me a little worried, though. In the living room at the front of the house, there’s flooring that appears to be yellow pine. It’s in really, really rough shape, but I actually think it would refinish OK. There’s some significant patch work to do on areas where boards are missing or too damaged, but it would be doable. Another thing to keep in the back of your mind is that these floors run side to side.

Aside from that, the other notable thing about this floor is that it’s laid directly on top of the joists, underneath which is an uninsulated crawlspace. I know using an original subfloor as flooring isn’t all that abnormal in old house renovations, but I also worry about having just 3/4″ of wood between feet and a cold crawlspace in the winter. It seems potentially uncomfortable and potentially inefficient from a heating standpoint.

dininglivingtransition

The real problems start in the dining room, which is the original part of the structure. This flooring also appears to be yellow pine, but the boards are a bit thinner than in the living room. They’re laid on top of an original pine subfloor—I think it’s hard to tell from the picture, but this means that they sit about 3/4″ higher than the flooring in the living room, which isn’t so ideal. It also means that the boards run the same way that the joists do—back to front—meaning that the flooring runs perpendicular to the living room planks. So that’s kind of Issue #1 and Issue #2: the height differential between the floors is less than ideal, and the opposing directions just makes things feel sort of choppy and awkward.

Then there’s the fact that during the framing extravaganza, the dining room wall actually moved over a few inches in order to effectively support the joists on either side of the beam in the ceiling. So all of the dining room flooring actually ends a few inches before the wall, which would be a very tricky thing to patch in and repair without it looking strange. I’d probably just end up running a couple of boards perpendicular to fill the gap, but it’s not the most glamorous solution. I’m worried about it all ending up looking a little patchwork-y.

diningroomfloor

diningroomrot

The other thing about the dining room floor is that it’s in bad shape. I think most of it would still refinish OK, but there’s definitely some advanced water damage in certain areas, and those boards would need to be replaced and new boards feathered in. Not a huge deal cost-wise, but it is just a lot of labor to put into this floor that I have other issues with already.

kitchenfloor

Then we have the kitchen. Now, it used to be that the flooring in the dining room ran continuously into the kitchen (which was covered in layers and layers of glued down linoleum, but still…), but unfortunately about 25% of it was way too rotted to save due to water damage, and the rest had to come up to address the structural issues, also due to the water damage…and then whatever was potentially salvageable got accidentally thrown away during a particularly insane day of demo. Anyway, the point is that there’s no floor at all in here anymore.

So where does that leave us? By my calculations, it looks like this: even if I did a good patch job on all the existing hardwoods, then put down something new in the kitchen, we’re still left with three different types of flooring, at two different levels, running through 3 rooms on this main floor, which bear in mind is only 600 square feet. I don’t know about you, but to me that just sounds…crappy.

I think there’s a solution. If I take up the top layer of the dining room floor, the original subfloor should be the same height as the existing flooring in the living room. After I put a new 3/4″ plywood subfloor down in the kitchen, everything is on the same level…and then a new, continuous floor could be laid over everything. I like this solution for a few reasons. Firstly, it would mean running all the boards from back to front, which I think would visually make the first floor appear a bit more expansive than it is. Secondly, the main floor doesn’t get a ton of natural light. Coupled with the low ceilings, I’ll admit I’m a little anxious about it feeling too dark. The condition of the existing floors and the fact that there’d have to be a lot of patch work to salvage them pretty much guarantees that I’d have to stain them fairly dark, which I’m not super inclined to do in a space that’s already kind of dark. New flooring could be left natural and sealed, which would just keep things lighter. Third, I think new flooring throughout would go a long way toward unifying the spaces. I don’t want the house to feel choppy, and I don’t want all the work that is going into it to feel too apparent. Patchy floors make it pretty clear that a wall used to be here, and a doorway used to be there—that kind of thing—and I’d rather avoid that feeling here.

lumberliquidators

One of the things I love about the cottage and I’m trying to respect in the renovation is the modesty of the house—the size, the style, the scale of the rooms, etc. I definitely want to carry that idea through to the materials, which is convenient because it saves me money and will look appropriate. In that vein, I love the idea of doing a simple wide-plank pine floor in here! The size of the boards would actually approximate the original 19th-century subfloor in the dining room, which I feel is a nice nod to the history of the house, and the knots and “imperfections” in the boards would lend some nice character for the more informal, cozy cabin vibe that I think this house wants to have.

Luckily, this stuff is cheap! Admittedly I haven’t done really any hunting around, so maybe there’s an even better price out there, but a quick look at Lumber Liquidators has this flooring coming in at $1.39/square foot! That’s pretty damn good for real hardwood. Even factoring in the extra 20% that I guess you’re supposed to order when you install hardwood, the floor would clock in at right around $1,000. I’m pretty confident that installing it myself wouldn’t be a big deal, so then I’d just be paying a bit more for tool rentals and polyurethane and stuff (some of which I’d need with the refinishing option anyway). Seems very worth it, right?

upstairsflooring

SO. I think my mind is pretty made up about the first floor. Which still leaves the second floor. Specifically, the bathroom.

The floors up here are the same yellow pine as on the first floor, and they’re in good shape. There’s definitely some patching to do to seal up some big holes and stuff, and they really need to be refinished, obviously, but I think they’ll clean up just fine. The second floor gets more natural light than the first, so I’m not even that concerned about staining them dark if necessary.

Obviously I don’t have a lot of hesitation about putting a wood floor in the kitchen or even the powder room on the first floor—I know people tend to be really anxious about using wood in spaces like that, but I’m not really one of them—but I keep going back and forth on whether I should replace the floor in the bathroom. I’ve never lived with a wood floor in a bathroom, so I can’t personally speak to the practicality of living with one, but I know some people are fine with it and some people wouldn’t dream of it. Honestly, I don’t really know where I stand! I guess if this room didn’t already have a wood floor, I’m pretty positive I wouldn’t put one in…but since it does…

Part of me feels like the floor is in good shape, and there isn’t really a reason to incur the expense/hassle of ripping it up and replacing it with tile. The other part of me feels like a potential buyer might not really want their only full bathroom to have a wood floor…and maybe this imaginary person has a point? Then I remember that radiant floor heating exists, and think about how fancy and luxurious it would be to put that under a new tile floor in the bathroom. Then I think about the previously unforeseen expense of replacing the floors on the first floor, and that the easy and responsible thing to do would be to make up for it by cutting a tiled floor for this bathroom from the renovation plan. Then I worry that I’m being penny-wise but pound-foolish because maybe somebody will really like this house but feel like a major corner was cut by not tiling the bathroom, or maybe a radiant-heated floor in the bathroom would put some other person just totally over the edge of wanting this place. Then I remind myself that if it’s that big of a deal to somebody, they could always tile the floor at some point in the future.

This is what I think about. A lot. Round and round I go.

So here’s a hypothetical. Would the only full bathroom in a house having a wood floor be a deal breaker for you? Would you prefer it? And hey—if you have a wood floor in your bathroom, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it!


382 Comments

  1. Hi Daniel, we live in a 1939 Sears kit house that had an unfinished attic, complete with oak hardwood floors (that would never happen today…). We finished off the attic a few years ago and added a bathroom in the gable, which did NOT have flooring. We bought oak similar to what was already there (although 70 years newer!) and love it. However, it’s just a large powder room without a shower, so I can’t speak to how well it would work with a daily onslaught of drips and wet feet from showers, but a good bath mat should do the trick. The other thing to think about is who is going to buy the house. The size suggests that it won’t be a family with kids, and I think for a couple (whether a young couple just starting out or an older couple downsizing), water would not be such a big issue. And wood is certainly just as easy if not easier to clean than tile….
    Diane
    P.S. I LIVE for updates on your cottage–I love small houses and yours is going to be awesome!

    • Thank you, Diane! The prospective buyer question is such a tough one! I can easily see it as a single person, a couple, or a couple with a kid…and the kid thing is what makes me really think tile! Argh!

      • I have one year old and tiles are my worst enemy. I dunno, they are very slippery when wet so we have to keep them really dry. I just wish we had floorboards in our kitchen and bathroom too! Even though the idea if looking at wood floors in a bathroom is unappealing from a design perspective

      • Interesting! See, I know nothing about having kids. But that makes sense!

        For what it’s worth, I don’t think wood floors in bathrooms are visually unappealing at all! Usually in bathrooms I find you have to add other wood elements to make them feel warm, and a wood floor would kind of take care of that!

      • I have a 5 year old and the slippery thing gets not better. Daniel, rule of thumb wet children are slicker then greased pigs.

        I’d go wood, my sister has two boys (6 years and 5 months) and I mid size dog and the hardwoods in her bathroom look like new (almost 6 years old) just make sure they get sealed well and you should be good to go.

  2. First of all, I love the floor that you picked out for the downstairs and I certainly understand why you want to put in a new floor there. Patching is always an issue, and with the subfloor boards running different directions, I think you really do need the new, unified flooring.

    As far as the bathroom floor. I have a wood floor in the only bath in the bungalow and as soon as I have the budget for it, I’m putting in penny sized hex tile. It’s period appropriate and I’ll worry a lot less about it than I do about a wood floor. I’m even debating the radiant option. I love what Alex and Wendy did in their master bath over at Old Town, though I’ll use the vintage style tiles in black and white instead of marble.

    • Good to know! Hearing from people who actually have and live with wood floors in the bathroom is super valuable here. Penny rounds or hex will look great, I’m sure. :)

      • Have you ever seen penny floors. for a small bathroom space something like that would be beautiful!

      • Penny round tiles, or floors made of actual pennies? I’ve seen both, but I’m not sure how I feel about having a floor that’s actually made of money, haha!

  3. I love the idea of the radiant-heat tile floor in the bathroom! Our house (west coast, built in 1923) still has the original small white hex floor tiles in the bathroom, which we really like, but the floor is cold!

    I haven’t seen any details about your insulation/weather-stripping/window plans (do you have storm windows?), but having a warm floor in the bathroom would be a big plus for me. Think it would be especially great with your wonderful new (old) double sink in there…

    Cheers! It’s so exciting to watch this progress.

    • Yeah, I think if I’m going through the trouble of tiling and running new electric anyway, the radiant heat thing is kind of a no-brainer. The electric systems are supposedly very easy to install. My only hesitation is that if I do it, I might want to move into the cottage!

      The house will have storm windows, yes! Every window will also be restored/rebuilt, and the whole house will definitely be insulated!!

      • We added a master bath to our 100 yr old house, we used hex tile and radiant heat. Conclusion – we will never have another bathroom without hated floor. It is the cheapest luxury feature you can add!

  4. I had a wood floor in my bathroom when I first bought the house. It was knotty pine, looked like a cabin floor, in a early 1900’s former mill house. I thought it was ugly, but didn’t mind the fact that it was wood.I was planning on redoing the bathroom eventually which came sooner rather than later since I noticed next to the toilet was a dark patch of wood. touched it and it gave way. Apparently the toilet wasn’t properly latched down or something and had been leaking for who knows how long. The whole floor had to be ripped out and I even had to have a bit of new sill replaced because of how much rot there was :( I do love my tile floor now.

  5. I would totally buy the cottage if I lived in that part of the country. I’m a single mom of one little girl, and the cottage would suit us perfectly. I love your plan for downstairs flooring. As for upstairs and the bathroom, I think, as a buyer I would like tile. Wood floors would be a little concerning in the bathroom just because my kiddo likes to splash in the tub. But wood floors wouldn’t be a deal breaker. However, if you painted the wood floor in the bathroom and sealed them with something super waterproof then I would be less inclined to be concerned, and I would probably be more attracted to the cottage because while it would be livable and nice, I would like to imagine myself putting in the floor of my own choosing in there in the future. I love a good project and I like to be able to see a bit of potential for customizing my space. That’s just me.

    • Thanks, Jo! Painting the floor is also definitely an option in the bathroom. Hmmmm.

    • I love the painted wood floor idea. I think wood floor in the bathroom is probably fine, maintence-wise but I can’t imagine the wood tones would look very good. Painted wood would solve the problem!

  6. We live in a condo in a converted Victorian in Boston. All our floors, including the kitchen and bathroom, are original 115 year-old yellow pine. It’s beautiful and it’s actually totally fine in the bathroom. We’re careful about using bathmats but it’s totally fine and not a big deal at all. And it stays a bit warmer than tile wood. I was worried about it before we moved in but now I’m really not in any particular hurry to change it.

    I’d say the issue with pine flooring is not with moisture but with the fact that it’s not a hardwood, it’s a softwood, and it gets dents and dings just from existing. Our old-growth floors are harder than any new pine would be, but we still get dents all the time. Less so in the bathroom than in the kitchen and other high-traffic areas. We have rugs everywhere and make everyone take off their shoes all the time but even still. If it was my own home, I would be very hesitant about putting that white pine floor down in the first floor of the cottage for that reason. It will look awesome at first, but will dent in about 3 seconds.

    • Thanks, Emily! I’ve definitely thought about that with the pine, but honestly the wear doesn’t necessarily bother me? I feel like all wood floors get damaged…and at least with pine, the wear and tear sort of adds patina and character in a way that doesn’t really happen with fir/oak. I don’t know if I can be talked out of this one!! :)

      • Nah, the denting is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something to keep in mind. Fir is also a softwood that will get dinged up – in all cases, old-growth softwood is not really comparable to newer wood, which is much softer. “Real” hardwoods are things like oak and cherry. I’d say the patina (which develops with age) is definitely separate from the wear. There are a few parts of our floor that have been patched with newer wood and the patina is missing, and also the wear looks much less nice on those areas to my eye. Meanwhile, my parents’ house has 115 year-old oak floors that have never been refinished, and they have a 65-lb dog…their floors look nicer somehow. Maybe because they don’t have a zillion dents everywhere.

        But over all, the more dinged up our floors get, the less I mind the dings. Sort of like how the first scratch on a leather chair looks terrible, but once there are a lot of them, it looks kinda nice and lived-in. I’d recommend getting a finished sample of the wood you’re looking at and abuse it for a few weeks – let the dogs run over it and so forth.

        TBH, knowing what I know now and having lived with my floors, I would be willing to purchase a house with old-growth or reclaimed fir or pine floors, but I would NOT purchase a house with new pine flooring, knowing that it’s cheap and will dent if you breathe on it wrong. But most people won’t have experience with this stuff and are not so picky about things like flooring.

  7. My grandmother had wood floors in her bathroom, and it was not a problem. You can seal the floors with a special sealent, like they use on wood bars, for extra protections.

  8. Well-finished and sealed wood floors wouldn’t bother me in a bathroom, but I also don’t mind wood floors in kitchens so perhaps I’m biased. Love the downstairs floor option- well thought out!

  9. I would do a cheap, but classic, tile in the bathroom. Skip the radiant heat, which seems like a premium feature to me, if you need to keep costs lower.

    • If I did the tile, it would definitely be cheap! Luckily there are very inexpensive options that would be super appropriate to this house. No marble here, haha!

      The radiant thing is a whole different issue, but I feel like IF I do the tile, I should REALLY just throw the few hundred bucks at doing the radiant, you know? This is why these things snowball!! There’s so much “well, while we’re at it…” thinking. It’s dangerous!

      • If you do tile, put in the radiant heating. We replaced the (nasty) carpet in our master bathroom a few years ago with tile, and every winter morning I wish we’d put in radiant heat. And we live in California.

      • I understand that fear of snowballing costs, but from my perspective (two tiled bathrooms, one with a nice European towel radiator you mentioned in another post), I have to make the case for tile AND radiant heating as an inseparable unit. I curse the person who chose NOT to put in radiant heat every morning and every night. In order to remedy the situation today, we would have to rip up perfectly nice tile and incur huge costs. So absolutely spend the money, and use it as a practice run for your own house (as Mom suggested below). I am sure you’ll recoup the cost.
        On another note- we have pine flooring in the kitchen (similar to what you have selected for the downstairs), and its totally fine. Wood in the bathroom would sort of a deal breaker, unless it were to be perfectly painted with absolutely no cracks stuff could seep in… If you chose to go with paint, its probably smart to check that tile glue would stick to it.

      • Oh, ABSOLUTELY agreed. Doing an electric radiant heat floor here is only a few hundred bucks, and I think it’d be borderline insane to do ALL the work and expense of tiling and NOT just throw that in.

        I’m glad to hear about your experience with pine in the kitchen! The pine in the bathroom is completely different, for what it’s worth—old growth yellow pine (maybe fir, even?), so I think a good sealer would be all it needs. Whether or not I could convince a buyer of that is a different story!

    • I agree. I’d save the money to do the radiant heat in your own bathrooms.

  10. All good ideas, but the main thing I want to say is INSULATE. That is the first and most important thing to do.
    And I say tile in the bathroom, And just as an aside and to plague you further, I used to have cork tiles in a small kitchen and I LOVED them. So there.

    • Yes, insulation will happen! Technically the first thing is heat/plumbing, then electric, then insulation. :) I’ll get there!

  11. I would prefer tile but would accept wood in my bathroom; its pine that would be a deal breaker to me. It’s just so soft and so easy to gouge. I lived on the main floor of a converted Victorian for a couple of years and in order to keep the ‘charm’, they refinished the original pine floors. They scuffed and marked up so easily compared to something like oak or maple. I had put out down rugs everywhere to keep my pets from destroying them in high traffic zones. I’d have to say no to buying a renovated house with those floors, but I’m sure plenty of other people are just fine with pine. They certainly look nice.

  12. I like Jo’s idea of painting and sealing the wood floor in the bathroom. stephiez’s story about the dark patch of wood next to the toilet gave me the heebie jeebies. Love following along with cottage updates!

  13. Tile all the way, for the bathroom. Keep in mind that if you have renters they are not going to be as immaculate as you would be, ie they will be much more apt to get water on the floor, and then you’ll have a much bigger problem down the road. I have pretty great tenants, but I’ve learned that with rental properties you want to WATERPROOF EVERYTHING.

  14. We used to live in a house that had wood floors in the master bathroom and I loved it. We didn’t have any issues with them and we plan on putting wood floors in the bathrooms in our current house whenever we get around to replacing all of the flooring. There’s always that chance of catastrophic failure but if they’re sealed properly, every day drips, steam, and wet feet shouldn’t be an issue.

  15. Love the unified floor on the first floor. I am not a fan of a wood floor in a home’s main bathroom. Since I can certainly visualize a family in this house that starts out a couple and then a child is added–and perhaps a move isn’t contemplated until a second child is on the way. Splash-Splash the child will be taking a bath and being potty-trained. Tile….

    • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the potty training accidents aren’t relegated to the bathroom. Most of my kid’s accidents were in the living room. (In a rental apartment, with carpet. And they were worried about our cats peeing on things. Ha! We put down those spongey floormat over a layer of puppy pads, and got a Bissel spotbot. Training a puppy was less hassle than training a kid.) Anyway, as a parent, I don’t think wood in the bathroom would be a deal breaker. Bathmats, you make the kid pull the shower curtain shut for bathtime if they want to splash… it’s doable.

  16. Please pick tile! Radiant heating would be awesome, but the lack of it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. But please don’t go with a wood floor. In a bedroom, the hall, etc. that would have been great (I hate carpet), but not where there’s water. Even if there are no kids (but there very well could be), having to be careful every time about getting the floor wet when you step out of the shower/bath is a tiresome thing to have to constantly pay attention to, especially since the new owners will be using it several days to every day of the week.

    I vote tile!

  17. I wouldn’t mind a wood floor in the only bath if it was properly sealed, but there are going to be people who look at that and only see a problem because they might not know how to care for a wood floor in a bath. So I vote tile and radiant heating — that combo would sell the whole house for me even if I was iffy about the rest of it.

  18. I’m afraid that this is where you may start running into the difference between what you as a designer know is gorgeous and totally appropriate and what buyers “expect” to see in a house. If you are wavering about a wood bathroom floor, you might want to take that forward and consider that a buyer might waver too. Is their eventual hesitation worth it?

    I hate myself for leaving this comment, because I’m envisioning that sink you scored (and a claw foot tub!) set against a simple pine floor and loving the idea, but I know how crazy buyers can be. Just something to think about.

    • So true! If I felt confident that a wood floor is something I’d even want, I wouldn’t be debating so much…but then I think about my lovely boyfriend’s habit of not drying his feet before walking all over our bathroom floor, and I realize wood probably wouldn’t even work for us! And we don’t even have kids!

      • I now know your pain intimately, because I have spent all morning thinking about this (this is what’s known as “work” to us freelancers, right?!). I was leafing through the Remodelista book again and came upon those very light grey bathroom floors toward the back of the book and now I think you should damn the torpedoes and do what you want. I wish more people renovating houses had the balls to do them up really beautifully rather than with an eye toward what is “expected.” Also, Max in wet feet = us in wet feet and for that we have bathmats.

        On another note, it must be so interesting to be working on two spaces in Kingston…even in the lower Hudson Valley, the light is *so* different from that in NYC. And you should see this Vermont light. I had to completely change all our colors when we moved. The light is so much clearer up here–none of that neb-tuscan muddiness–and so things that looked great in Brooklyn look, well, dirty here.

  19. Hi Daniel…I just love looking at the framing…progress..and totally agree about unifying the downstairs with one type of flooring and running it front to back..we have that and it does make a small narrow house seem longer ….upstairs…the bathroom needs to be tile…it wouldn’t be a deal breaker but I agree with the others who think wood floors in the only bathroom would turn out to be a pain to keep looking good….I love the idea of under floor heating in a bathroom…luxury in a cold climate. Something simple and practical…the sink will be the star anyway…so the floor just needs to be easy to clean.

    And at the risk of being Debbie Downer…I might vote for broadloom in the main bedroom…also cosier in the winter…a nice low pile wool sisal…but hey that’s just me.

    no matter what this place is going to be a littel jewel.

  20. i second the painted floors. for the bathroom, but also the downstairs perhaps?

    i live in a chalet in switzerland and theyellow pine drives me nuts personally. prevailingly because it’s so yellow and because it’s hard to match other wood furniture to it (like most people i have some family furniture with sentimental value and some thrifted pieces).

    never had wood floors in a bathroom, just laminate which obviously held up ok. i did have a pretty substantial leak in the kitchen area once (also laminate) and it warped things up a little. so in the course of a lifetime i would consider the possibility of at least one leak and see how that makes you feel.

    still not a fan of tiles anywhere really. i had some slate looking ones in my bathroom once that looked nice, but anything else i found pretty sterile looking.

    i like your “house whisperer” method of having the cottage tell you what it wants. just follow that and you won’t go completely crazy!

    • I’d definitely consider painting the floors in the bathroom (especially if it saves me from pulling it all up and tiling!!), but I think I should stick with natural wood elsewhere. Painted floors are still relatively rare in the US, and I’m not sure how that would go over from a resale perspective. I love a painted floor, though!

  21. Absolutely do tile. It would be a deal breaker for me and many others.

  22. Personally, I would prefer tile in the bathroom. Especially if it is the only full bathroom in the house. I have a 7 year old son who seems to flood the bathroom every damn time he takes a bath. For a family, I think tile would be the way to go. Last thing anyone would want is beautiful wood floors to get water damage.

  23. Tile in the full bath, definitely. As a prospective home buyer, it would make me nervous about other renovation choices that I can’t see. I’m also a sucker for a hex tile floor, with or without radiant heat.

  24. I live in an 1887 Victorian row house (VERY similar in interior details to yours) and our master bath — which was certainly not originally intended as such — has lovely, original oak floors. I was anxious about wood in the bathroom but it has not been a problem at all, and I love the warmth it brings to the rather large (125 sq ft?), drafty space. There is ceramic hex tile in our other bathrooms, which looks lovely but is COLD! To be fair, its size and draftiness also mean that the humidity stays pretty low. But the cottage’s floors will be freshly refinished and sealed properly, with new plumbing and fixtures making leaks pretty unlikely (I should hope!). And I wouldn’t worry about wood as a potential deal-breaker for future renters/buyers. As you say, it would be a small enough project that someone else could do it if they felt very strongly about it. So my vote would be to spend the money elsewhere and keep the floor as is. (Since I know you need to hear MORE opinions from strangers, hah!)

  25. Hi Daniel – I love reading about your progress on the cottage – and your home too, of course!

    I am going to go with the group here. I think wood in the only full bath is a big don’t. If your target market is only fabulous hipster childless couples or emptynesters, I guess it works. Anyone else is going to want to have a bathroom where they don’t have to frantically run around wiping up drips before they leave a mark in the finish.

    As for the pine downstairs, I think the look is wonderfully appropriate for the cottage, but it would be a no-go for me and probably many other child and/or dog parents. It is just too soft a wood to hold up decently to claws and carelessness (a la a 17 year old). It would be gouged to smithereens in a month. The finish you can apply yourself is just no where near as hard as factory finishes and the farmed pine available today is not the wonderful pine of a hundred years ago….

    I am sure it will be wonderful and sell quickly regardless. I just want you to get top dollar so we can watch you do it again for us on another house!

  26. I guess I’m going to be in the minority… I have wood floors in my only bath and I love it. It was actually a selling point for me. We use a bath mat and when bathing my toddler I keep a spare towel next to me to wipe up any splashes as they happen. No problems so far!

    • That’s helpful to hear, Alex! Thank you!

      • I will join in on the minority. We had old Pergo floors through our house when we bought it, they were badly damaged and about a year ago we replaced it all with wood flooring. We have a two year old and never have any problems, a bathmat and a towel nearby is really all it takes to keep any splashes cleaned up – and really the towel is nearby anyway, it is not like I go out of my way to prep for bath time because of the flooring.

  27. I have had wood floors in a bathroom, and they were ok. However, I think you should consider the idea of painted floors throughout the house. It is definitely a traditional “cottage” style, looks great with wide-pine boards, and a light gray or even light blue will open up the house. Also, it’s very likely that unless you get a high-grade of pine floor (or even oak) that you’ll get enormous color variations in the wood, which looks messy and patchy, especially in a small space. I can’t emphasize that enough. With painted floors you get terrific uniformity and a very even, open feel, even more so if the color of the floor and the color of the walls is closely connected. There are special paints for doing this kind of finish, that are durable and washable.

    • I’m no stranger to painted floors (and yes, I think it could look great!), but I think it would just be sort of unwise from a resale perspective. The reviews/customer images of that pine flooring actually look pretty consistent and promising, though, so hopefully I can avoid the patchy, busy look—I don’t want that!

      • I would read up on the varying grades of wood floors. Only the very highest grade will have uniform color.

  28. I live in 1876 cape in New England, and neither of our full bathrooms have tile floors (both had carpet when we moved in!). We ripped out the carpet and found beautiful hardwood that matched the rest of the house (probably installed around the 1950s), and decided to refinish that instead of tiling. We’ve been living with them since and are totally happy. That’s my two cents!

  29. Great choice for the floor–the scale of the wide planks running towards the back will make the space look larger. Have you thought about how you are going insulate the crawl space or add a vapor barrier? Not as interesting as choosing wood floors but it will keep cold and moisture out of the cottage.

  30. As I started reading this post, I thought, I have his problems solved, just buy cheap white pine and it will be awesome! And I was so pleased to see you were going that direction. I would personally paint it because it seems very appropriate for a cottage and I don’t really like knotty pine, but I’m sure you can make it work. I also vote ‘no wood floors’ in both bathrooms. I think of the great old houses I know that still have original details, with their wood floors throughout the living space and penny tile flooring/subway tile walls in the bathroom, and I think that is classic and timeless and most importantly, very functional.

  31. I would probably vote for tile in the bathroom, just from a practicality perspective. If the space isn’t too large, the cost won’t be either, and I would look at it as an investment that pays back in durability and sale-ability. I like the penny/hex tile ideas!

  32. I think that your solution for the downstairs is the best course of action. I would consider sealing the floors with a tinted poly to cut down on the yellowing of the pine. Or use a water-based poly because oil based versions yellow over time.

    I love and often suggest wood floor for bathrooms but pine is not your best option. It is more absorbent than oak or other hardwoods. Even when sealed new pine is basically a sponge. I’m concerned it will swell and buckle. Old heart of pine floors are great in bathrooms because it is so hard and stable.

    • Thanks, Lucas! I hear you on the poly!!

      The bathroom is old yellow pine or fir, I think—we have it in our house and it’s very hard…definitely much harder than the new stuff I’d be installing downstairs. I think it would be fine, but I guess the resale thing is mostly what stops me with it! A lot of it comes down to perception, too…even IF the pine wouldn’t actually be a problem, would buyers see it as one? I feel like all these comments telling me to stay away from the wood are kind of my answer! :/

      • http://www.remodelista.com/posts/how-to-create-a-scandi-whitewashed-floor

        I don’t know if I would go this white but it seems like a starting point for dealing with the yellowing. I think that the pine floors will add instant character. I wouldn’t worry about the species. Most people can’t tell the difference.

      • Ha! I have read, and read, and re-read that post about a billion times…thinking about my own house! SHHHHHH. I’m 99% sure it’s not going to happen, but there was a while there when I was OBSESSED with doing it.

        I don’t know about for this house either, though! I love it, but I’m not sure how well it would work…I don’t think the house is going to really have that kind of vibe. I actually can see a more yellowed/amber-y finish looking good here. I don’t really want it to look brand new, you know?

  33. I concur that tile in the bathroom is a safer choice for the majority of buyers, and the radiant floor heating would be a small touch of luxury that I think would be well-placed in the overall reno, especially in a climate as cold as yours. Many people are afraid of wood and water, and either don’t know how to care for it or don’t care to learn. Good luck sorting through all these options…

  34. We live in a 1922 bungalow with the original oak floors throughout, except for in the mudroom, kitchen and bathroom. The Mudroom and kitchen have three inch pine floors which have not held up well. I’m thinking they just weren’t care for properly and there wasn’t a rug inside the back door at all times. The planks have significant shrinkage going on with wide gaps between and large amounts of damage throughout the rooms. The bathroom has the original white hex tiles. They are starting to look super rough, and the grout is nasty. I’m really digging black hex tile after you post about the upstairs bathroom. :)

    • Thank you, Ashlea! Please don’t rip out your tile! The new stuff looks fine, but it doesn’t compare to old hex tiles—not even close! Clean it up with some Barkeeper’s Friend, white vinegar should lift rust stains…you can even re-grout if so inclined…but you’re lucky it’s still there! I’d look rough too after almost 100 years underfoot! :)

  35. I think wood floors in a bathroom would be a bit of an idiosyncrasy. It would be visually charming, but depending on the floor, might be a bit of a pain to maintain if there is a shower or bath in the room

    Maybe you could pour a (very) thick layer of acrylic finish over the floor to make is smooth and easier to maintain so water and dirt doesn’t get caught in the nooks and crannies of the wood floor between the boards.

    A

  36. OK, please do not put wood in the bathroom, especially not pine. That’s just asking for trouble, no matter how careful a person is. I’m usually hesitant to even put wood in a powder room, but if I do, I use an insulated toilet tank. Here in Maine, where we mostly have (super cold!) well water the toilet tanks sweat a lot when it’s hot and humid and you get a fair bit of water dripping on the floor.

    As for pine floors, I think that will be ok, but I know that most older homes here have pine for the second floor only, but spent a little extra for a more durable wood for the high traffic areas (or they replaced the white pine on the first floor when they had the money to do so). Eastern white pine is the softest of the pines (I think). Where we did use pine throughout a house recently the painter suggested an excellent finish. It’s called Glitsa http://glitsa.com/professionals/products/ A couple things we liked about it: it doesn’t yellow the wood like a poly will, it penetrates the wood (adding a bit of hardness), and the finish is flexible (when it dents, it doesn’t crack). We beat up wood samples coated with the Glitsa and with a standard water-based poly and the Glitsa board was the clear winner for durability. There are several options, but I think the GlitsaSealer with the GlitsaGoldSeal should do the trick.

    Good luck! I’m enjoying reading about these new (to you) houses!

  37. Love your site. I look forward to new posts. My understanding is that pine should not be called hardwood. Most pine is soft and dents easily, and finish scrapes off. For example, I nearly ruined a beautiful pine table my mother refinished by actually using it. But there is a rustic appeal to that look. Just don’t expect a pine-floored house with kids, dogs, high heels to look anything like the day of install a year later. But maybe yellow pine is different? I’d vote for an affordable red oak that you sand and poly after install. Or, my favorite, white oak.

  38. Wood floors would look beautiful in the bath, but I wouldn’t want it. It just means having to be so much more careful and unless you plan on a bath and shower that is encased with glass and not a shower curtain. I just see more maintenance and work when it comes to it. My practical side always wins over the esthetic side. Radiant heat would be a plus, but it is over an interior space so …..

    I would care about insulation of the crawlspace though and I’m sure that is something that will be noted in a home inspection report. At least it is in my area of the country and we are in a mild winter climate, but hot hot hot summers. If you had to choose between wood floors in bath or insulation – the insulation will likely come back on an inspection and may be a negotiating point by the buyer. The floors probably not so much at that point.

    • The insulation thing is something I’ve thought about a lot, and I think for me it’s a real question of how far it’s really smart to go with this whole thing! The point here isn’t really to rebuild the entire house…it’s an old house, and ultimately it’s built the way it’s built. Insulating the crawlspace would really mean pulling up the ENTIRE floor, excavating underneath the joists, installing a vapor barrier, gravel, insulation…it’s a huge deal, and not one that I’m convinced is super necessary. It’s hard to know when to stop, but I think there’s some value in the idea that it’s been this way for 100 years, and it’s FINE. It’s not a new house, and it’s not going to be, no matter how much I put into it. That’s something I think a lot about in my own house, too, for what it’s worth. We have crawlspaces and I just wouldn’t expect them to be built to 2015 standards. If it was that important to me, I’d never have bought an old house to begin with!

      • I understand your dilemma on the insulation part. The thing is though even though you think of it as a 100 year old home that has been fine without for at least part of that time – ie until it was added into as part of the house, a buyer will see a renovated house where there is a different expectation and may not necessarily be an old house aficionado. Is there any other options to what could be done to make the space comfortable that may make a buyer think ok no insulation no big deal, or is there any other options or choices for how to insulate it.

  39. We have 130 year old pine floors, and they looked just as rough or rougher than yours and they refinished beautifully. Old pine is way harder than new. I’d think twice about installing new pine though, unless you can live with the dents.

    Our floors really came out dark (and reddish) once refinished – they look stained, but aren’t. I hear you on the issues once you get to the back of the house though – we have a 3/4″ transition into the kitchen and I’ve hated it since day one. We’ll be ripping it out and doing something different when we renovate the kitchen and do an addition later this year.

    I really like tile in the bathroom, and I do regret not heating it, although a good bath mat works fine for us most days.

    I’m one of those people that are really picky about the way flooring is run. I think it should look like it’s running perpendicular to the flooring joists – even if there’s a hidden layer of subfloor that allows you to run it either way. That being said, more older, narrow houses had floor joists that ran side to side, so the flooring always ran from the front to the back of the house. We would tour through renovated homes in our neighborhood where they clearly ripped everything out and install new sub and fin. floors, and when the flooring ran side to side it just looked so wrong. It would have been a deal breaker for me.

    • I hear you on the pine! I guess I just feel like having everything running the same way, on one level, as a consistent materials is really appealing, even if most of the existing floors would refinish OK. Does that make sense?

      It’s interesting to hear you say that about the direction of the flooring—it bugs me too! The flooring in our house is laid on top of (and perpendicular to) the original subfloor, so it runs the same way as the joists. It’s not a deal breaker…they’re nice floors and all…but I really wish they ran the other way!

  40. My husband and I bought a little 2 bedroom cottage and here we are three kids later and still here. I would definitely consider families and messy adults when you make the bathroom floor decision. Imagine people who leave a wet bath mat or towel on the floor. My parents added a master bath to an old home into a room with original hardwoods. The contractor tiled the toilet niche. Then they built a walk in shower (no curtain or door needed) and he brought the marble tile out a bit for a drying spot. It sounds weird but the man was an artist and it was beautiful. However it was probably a 15’x15′ bathroom and I don’t think you have that.

    Oh I am obsessed with your first floor wood choice. Love it!

  41. I think the floor will look beautiful! As for your potential future buyers: 1) you’re making a lot of assumptions (although I can appreciate why) based on uncertain information, 2) it’s unlikely that a wood floor in a bathroom or kitchen would make or break a sale in my opinion, and 3) coming from someone who lives in an old house, if my upstairs bathroom had a heated floor I would MELT. It’s already especially warm upstairs (which hopefully won’t be the same problem for you in your house!) so I couldn’t imagine ever using a heated floor in an upstairs room. In the kitchen or something instead? I could get on board with that, particularly with the crawlspace underneath. But I think you’re making great decisions and being prudent in the meantime. I’m loving this little cottage!

  42. Hi Daniel – I get so excited when I see a new post from you :)
    Love your site & everything you get to do!
    I don’t have the experience of wood floors in either rooms so I can’t comment on which way you should go. I will say that I have lived with cold bathrooms in every house I’ve lived in as an adult (this morning’s 0* temps makes me want to call in sick just so I don’t have to shower). IF you do go with tile, please, please, install the heated floor. If I didn’t currently live in a rental with perfectly acceptable (original) tile floors it would be first on my list of things to do.
    Would it really add that much to the selling price to deter a potential buyer? I’m sure during the winter months they would praise you every morning as they stepped out of the shower…………………….

  43. re downstairs: You’re making the exactly the right decision, not just aesthetically, but financially. When we did a nearly gut reno of our two family, to make separate entrances I thought I’d save money by buying one full door + frame (for the new doorway) and one door to “simply” hang in the existing frame. The labor of getting the new door to fit in the old frame exceeded that of buying and installing the complete door+frame. The patching and fiddling with the existing floors would likely be a similar exercise of hemorrhaging cash.

    However, as for material, if there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that you might maintain this as a rental for even a short period of time, do not choose pine. Use oak or even bamboo (there are some now that are more ‘neutral’ looking). Modern day pine emphatically does not have the same wearability as old long-leaf pine. It will look like crap in a year. Frankly, I wouldn’t use it even if I were selling just because I’d feel like I was cheating the buyers.

    re bathroom: For similar wearability issues, go with tile. I grew up working alongside my father fixing up old junker houses that he bought and then kept as rentals (I think nearly all contractors do this!) and the bathroom floors that were wood were always a complete loss.

  44. I haven’t had wood floors in a bathroom, but had laminate floors in half baths in two different houses. When we switched them out, both of them had moisture and rot underneath them that wasn’t even apparent before we pulled them up. I could probably live with the wood in the half bath, but wouldn’t want it in the full bath. While there are some who love a project and being able to personalize, most wouldn’t want to have to change out a floor. Just my two cents, but also tile would look killer with your sink.

  45. I have no problems with a wood floor in a bathroom and actually have wood in my kitchen and laundry room. But, if this is going to be a rental, you may want to consider tile. Many renters are not very considerate of their landlord and might not wipe up water spills as quickly as should be done. Just something to think about. However, I have also heard of people using bowling lane polyurethane or marine poly in the bathroom which would be another idea. Both are pretty toxic to apply but since you aren’t living there, it might be ok.

  46. As someone with a wood floor in the bathroom and 2 sets of friends with beautiful houses with wood floor patches I would suggest that total house design be your guide. But here are some details that I can relate: The cottage house had a heart pine subfloor discovered upon stripping off the linoleum in the kitchen. (I think you have this kind of subfloor in your main house, by the way.) This had to be done because a large tree root growing underneath the crawl space was curving the kitchen floor. There was patching involved in repairing the hole to get to the tree root. Beautifully executed. Blended in, even with the light shade of the wood. Because it was a kitchen floor, the contractor used a “commercial grade” poly on top, which I can tell you sealed the deal as far as durability and resilience. The other house had oak floors which had to be patched due to removal of a wall for an open concept reno between kitchen and den. The architect referred them to someone who came in with a pallet of stains and artistically matched the small piece of patched oak to the rest of the the flooring. Could not have cost very much at all. My experience in a very old house (records go back to 1800) where they partitioned a tiny bathroom and just left the wood flooring, is that there is just not a problem, even though people imagine there is one. I really can’t think of any home bathroom that doesn’t have a rug or two for stepping out of the shower or tub. This works for wood floors, too! Of course if any plumbing is defective and there are chronic leaks and rot, that is a problem, but it is not the fault of the wood floor. But people’s perceptions are important. You are treading the line between a nice restoration/repair and what people have in their imagination as a should. Not very many people get to live in a very old house so there is not a lot of experience in the buyer pool, I guess, so that should be factored in to some degree. I do think the point on insulation is important–that will never be seen but will contribute to the comfort and utility of the home.

  47. We have wood floors in the only full bath in our house AND we have a toddler. It’s not an issue at all, and actually was a selling point for us because let’s be honest, what are some of the first things that look dated &/or not to your taste in kitchens and bathrooms? The tiles (whether it be the flooring or backsplahes/tub surrounds). We have a nice plush bathmat and towels that hang right beside the shower/tub and so we’ve never had an issue with getting water anywhere.

    Also our toddler just potty trained and so yes, we had lots of potty accidents etc. on the wood floors, none of which were an issue. We just wiped things up with a rag.

    • That’s great to hear, Lauren! I feel like very few people who actually live with wood floors in bathrooms dislike them, but part of what’s valuable about all these comments is the perception that they’re such a bad idea, you know? As somebody concerned with resale, it’s something I need to weigh…sometimes more than I’d like!

  48. Hi Daniel
    I put the exact pine flooring in a cottage I renovated in Maine a few years ago. They were super easy to install(because no tongue and groove to deal with) and I love the look. However, you should know that they dent if you look at them the wrong way. All pieces of furniture will leave a mark including light things like barstools! And i have been told that large dogs can actually leave claw marks after a period of time. The old heart pine floors that old houses have are a much harder pine..this pine is not a hardwood.
    I would do it if I were you tho as you can get a better look for the price and I think leveling all the floors on the first floor is key.
    You might want to look at a new product to finish them if you don’t want them to yellow…and they will somewhat even with yellow resistant poly. It’s called Bona Naturale and it has the most beautiful look(like a super matte European oiled finish) and it is supposed to be the best to stop yellowing as per my floor guy. I just used it in a house I built with wide white oak floors. Six months and no yellowing but we’ll see. Hope this helps. Also, do the tile in the bath…one distracted little boy + time = disaster.

    • Huh—these floors are tongue-and-groove, so it must be a little different, but apparently install is still pretty easy!

      This might be a wildly unpopular opinion, but here it goes…I kind of feel like all wood floors incur damage with use. I’ve lived with wood floors my whole life—oak in the house I grew up in, fir and yellow pine in my house, and dogs/furniture/dropping things have always taken their toll! I know pine is softer, but I feel like it also benefits from looking kind of rustic and full of character with age and use, whereas nicer floors just end up looking awful (like mine!). So I don’t know, I’m not really convinced that the softness factor is enough to keep me away. Unless the floors are concrete or something, they’re not going to stay perfect no matter what they’re made of! And the pine is something that actually kind of fits within the budget…which I really need to keep in check!

      Bona Naturale is great stuff! My friends used it on oak and it looks great. Definitely looking at it.

      • I really have to disagree about the pine, which pains me – becuase I think it would look beautiful! I grew up in a 1920s house with original (and likely low-budget at the time) oak floors, and agree that the natural wear and tear on those floors was charming and not at all a big deal. I’ve been in my current (rental) apt for less than a year – I’m the first tenet after a renovation that included nearly identical pine to the kind in you’re thinking of. The beautiful, light floors were a selling point for me, and now I despise them so much! I have pads on the bottom of all my furniture, a no shoes in the house policy and am extremely diligent about sweeping, and the floors are a complete wreck. It looks terrible – like chewed up and spit out terrible – and not at all charming. If I owned this place, I would be really sad. I can send pictures, for realz.

        From your perspective, I would be worried about keeping the floors in salable condition during the rest of your renovation (not sure when flooring install happens in this whole process). If you do them last and then don’t let anyone into the cottage, it might be ok? Maybe you’ve seen this pine in action in person, and are cool with it, in which case – ignore this unsolicited opinion from a random stranger in the internet! (You’re great. And know a lot more about this stuff than me. So there’s that to consider, too.)

      • I’d love to see pictures, RBN! You can email me. :) Do you happen to know what the floors were finished with? That seems to make a pretty big difference in the way they age, too. Just wondering.

        Floors would come pretty late in the process, but they’d still get walked on and stuff as everything else wrapped up, the house gets shown, etc.

      • So, I emailed my landlord to find out the finish, and it turns out that the leasing agent “misspoke” about the type of hardwood flooring that I have – shocking that an NYC realtor would do so, I know. Mea culpa – I’m dealing with the world’s softest bamboo flooring, rather than pine. It’s probably very sad that I couldn’t tell the difference? I just blindly trusted what she told me. Anyway, my original comment is null and void. I can still send useless pictures of my sad bamboo floor if you want, haha.

      • Oh wow, thank you for looking into it for me! That’s a total bummer. I don’t really know anything about bamboo flooring—I always thought it was supposed to be really hard! That’s so frustrating.

  49. We live in an 1890 Victorian and have oak on the first floor, pine on the second floor and new bamboo flooring in both of our full bathrooms. We’ve been really happy with the bamboo and haven’t had any issues at all. A wood floor in a bathroom would definitely NOT be a deal breaker. Just seal it properly (which I know you will) and everything will be great! :)

  50. Agree 100% with your plans for the first floor. Get it all on one level and running in the same direction and it will be more harmonious. (Also, I just do not like horizontal orientation for floors.)

    Upstairs I personally love painted wood. Painted wood floor = cottage style to me. And why would I even be looking at a cottage to buy if I didn’t like cottage style?

    But, a nice warm hex to wake up to on a winter morning sounds pretty great too and a black and white with some design – like ThreeStoryies did in her kids’ bath – would look great with that black and white sink!

    • You make a good point! I do think sometimes I get a little bogged down in “what would a buyer want?” when really, no matter WHAT, this house is going to take something of a unique buyer because it’s a unique house. I don’t expect it to appeal to (nearly) everyone, no matter what the floors are made out of!

      And yes—if I tile the floors, I’d probably do something similar to that. Those tiles are really inexpensive and perfect for old houses—my favorite combo!

  51. Hardwood in the main bathroom wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, but it would strike me if I saw it. In many ways, I think it lends itself to the minimalist chic that’s so popular these days. On the other hand, it doesn’t scream durability. If I were buying the house, I would probably always have in my mind a plan to tile eventually. If this is an area you need to cut cost in, I say go for it. You’re going the extra mile in so many other areas. If you can squeeze in the expense, I think it might be worth it to tile.

  52. Right decision again, so proud of you! Although, never ever would I use plastics on a wooden floor. Poly, two-component, waterbourne nonsense! Excuse the hard (wood) words, but as a swede living in the forest I cannot imagine why you would want to punish wood with polymers =) Organic likes organic. Oilbased treatments work with the wood, moves with it and protects it like a duck with ducklings. If you want the hardness and waterproof functions use a hardwaxoil. Supereasy diy, just a brush and thin strokes. My personal fav is Osmo, but I am sure there are plenty of options.

    If you want to keep it from turning yellow, use lye before the wax. Also supereasy. Just a little bit dangerous though!

    • Yes, Osmo looks like amazing stuff! I’m definitely inclined to try it here. I have it bookmarked for my own house, too.

      • I used Osmo too in my living room and it is incredible, the pot was expensive but it took approximately ten minutes to rub on and I did 2 coats on a 240 square foot floor and I’ve used about one eighth and the refinished old pine hasn’t yellowed at all. You can touch it up without having to refinish the floor and it doesn’t leave any marks if you drip on it, it just dries as if nothing happened. I spilled a pint of water on the floor this morning and although I wiped it up so I wouldn’t have to walk in a puddle, there was no chance the floor was going to be ruined or mark at all, it just beads up on top of the oil and you wipe it up.
        I have a completely unfinished old pine wood floor in the bathroom that I keep meaning to patch where boards were broken by the plumber and then sand and oil, or possibly-maybe-one-day tile instead, and the only bits where the floor has been damaged by 2 people showering every day for two years is where the bath drain leaked and we couldn’t figure out what was causing it for 2 months. The normal splashes etc haven’t affected the floor at all, even though it doesn’t have any kind of sealant on it at all. In my last flat there were newish oiled wood floors throughout the flat and they held up perfectly and looked beautiful. I would not be put off a house if it had wooden bathroom floors, but I would be put off if a tiled floor didn’t match my taste. I know laminate swells badly when it gets wet, so don’t get that, but it sounds like you wouldn’t anyway. Little Green Notebook had a similar debate recently about wood in kitchens, and someone said that they had tiles, then there was a flood, and they had to replace the entire floor because the sub-floor rotted under the tiles, so she reckoned that a bad flood ruins whatever floor you have, and you get the benefit of warmer and slightly softer and very stylish floors the rest of the time.

  53. I think a wood floor in the bathroom is asking for trouble. I don’t worry about the drips and things, but I worry about the steam generated from the shower/bath over 10+ years and all of the expansion & contraction that happens with wood and steam. Just seems like it would get ‘shot’ pretty quickly and be a pain for the homeowner to then rip up and redo with the tub/sink/toilet especially since this is the only full bathroom.

    Aesthetically, I think a wood floor in the bathroom would be cool – but I worry about the long term practicality of it.

    I also like your ideas for new flooring in the first floor. I have wood laid directly in the joist spaces of my 1885 house and they are ruined because of it. With all of the lovely work you’re doing, it just makes sense to start fresh.

  54. Given that hypothetical me who would be buying your cottage would be doing so because it will be SO CUTE and have such a brilliant aesthetic, hypothetical me would be cool with the wood-floored bathroom, as long as you could convince me that water won’t leak through to the rooms below.

    That said, real me has already lived through a wood-floored kitchen, and had water damage it to it from a washing machine, and real me likes my wood floor even so. In other words, I’m a wood floor junkie to begin with.

  55. Wood floors in a bathroom wouldn’t bother me, and honestly I would expect it in a house that old. I say refinish them and save some money!

  56. Tile the upstairs bath, and put in the radiant floor heating. I regret not putting it in our main bath, and the floor is freezing! It would be a definite selling point for me as a buyer.

    I think the pine floor would look great but I agree with other comments that it will dent very easily. Would you consider quarter sawed plank floors or reclaimed wood floors? They look very rustic/cottage-y. Such as this: http://www.barnboardstore.com/reclaimed-wood-flooring.php A friend of mine has this on the main floor of her house and it looks amazing!

    • Honestly, there just isn’t a budget for anything much nicer! That pine flooring is $1.39/square foot…even going up to the $2-$3 range makes this a pretty pricey unforeseen expense! Reclaimed floors would be BEAUTIFUL but that’s like a $7,000 endeavor. My pockets aren’t that deep!

  57. I installed that exact flooring throughout my entire 2200 sq foot house. I had 4 kids and 2 dogs. Yes it dings. Yes it scratches. None of that bothered me. What really makes a difference is how the floor is finished. I thoroughly researched pine floors before I had mine installed. What I wanted was an oiled floor. What I got was a glossy polyurethane floor that SHOWS every ding, dent and scratch. In fact the glossy finish highlights the dings and dents. Although the flooring contractor quoted me the same price for the oiled finish vs the polyurethane finish, he ended up doing the polyurethane because of time restraints. The oil finish bonds with the floor and although you have to re oil the floor periodically, every time you do it makes the wood that much harder and water resistant and covers scratches. I was told I would have to oil maybe once a year for the first few years. They also recommended a brown stain (I think mine was Minwax English chestnut?) When I saw the floors for the first time with the poly finish I almost cried and really wanted to make them sand and do it the way I had wanted with an oil finish. But again, because of a deadline I was on, I kept them that way. Biggest regret I have with my house. Not that I used pine, but the way they were refinished. Again, with the bathroom floor, it’s not necessarily the fact that it’s wood, but how they are going to be finished that makes the difference in the way they look and how they perform.

    • Missy, thank you so much for this! I’m glad to hear about your experience, even if it’s not all positive. Our floors upstairs were refinished at some point and have a glossy finish, and it looks HORRENDOUS after living here with a dog for a couple years. I’m also looking at hardwax/oil finishes for this one, and for ours when I can eventually refinish them.

  58. I just bought a new-to-me old home, and have two bathrooms with wood floors. It doesn’t bother me at all, but like you I’m not precious about my flooring. It’s been there for 90 years and it’s supposed to look old! Obviously we don’t want water damage, but if you’re not the type to leave water all over the floor, I don’t think it’s an issue. We just use bathmats and make sure any stray water drips get wiped up after we shower.
    That said, we don’t have kids so I don’t have to worry about splashing in the tub. Since you’re looking at resale for this one, I think inexpensive tile might be a better option than going with the wood. Some buyers are likely to be turned off by wood in a bathroom, and that’s not a chance I’d want to take.

  59. If you’re not already dead-set on the pine (sounds like you are), would you re-consider? My MIL has pine throughout her house (also in the bathroom and I love it) and has regretted that choice for 30 years. Dogs, heels, anything falling off shelves make dings and it drives her crazy. It’s not very noticeable to me, but if i were living with it, I’m sure it would bother me.

  60. Have you thought about using a marine varnish on the wood? They use that kind of stuff for fancy wood on boats. My Papa sealed wooden deck chairs with that stuff and they look pristine, after our howling Canadian winters and blistering summers on the prairie. It’s impressive stuff.

    I’m not a fan of wood in the bathroom but radiant tile heating? My best friend has it in her main bathroom and if I could I would immediately put it in my apartment. That shit is amazing!

    As a potential buyer, I’d buy the house…and immediately tile the bathroom.

  61. I really like old black and white tiles in bathrooms, but wood wouldn’t bother me, so long as it is sealed really well. My current house has wood floors in the living space that were refinished before I bought the house 20+ years ago. They must have been sealed really well because they show almost no wear (now I’m an empty nester but I did raise kid and cat here).

    I do still plan on buying the cottage.

  62. I rented an apartment in Oakland that had wooden floors in the bathroom. They were designed to have small gaps to allow water to drain. They held up great and were easy to clean with a Swiffer and Bona. They also just gave the room a warm and homey feel. Not sure if this link will work, but here is a pic: http://flic.kr/p/9UYpdz

    • That is fascinating and looks like teak wood – what did the water drain into!?

    • Huh, I’ve never seen anything like that before! Cool! Californians—y’all are crazy! :)

  63. YES to tile and radiant heating-THAT would sway me as a buyer!
    I love my stupid mattress warmer so much, a heated floor would definitely make an impression.
    Check out this remodel in MEL, AUS- they have “your” flooring, or what looks like a close facsimile:
    http://flackstudio.com.au/projects/east-melbourne-residence/

  64. WOODEN FLOORS IN BATHROOM, YES ALWAYS DO IT

  65. Love the new wood floor choice for the main level. I agree with you in that I think the wear and tear on a wood floor just adds to the character. Go with the painted wood floor (love them) in the bathroom and let the next owner decide if it’s what they want. A little bathroom floor is not a huge reno that would put some people off. You understand what the cottage needs and if you stay true to that the right owner will find that cottage and honour it too. Also – is it not possible to spray foam insulation in the crawl space?
    http://www.advancedbasementsystems.net/spray-foam-insulation/insulation-process.html
    I’m loving all your ideas :)

    • Thank you, JoAnne! I like your attitude :)

      Maybe the term “crawl space” is generous for what I have…there’s not actually really any clearance to “crawl”! The joists are only maybe 6″ or so off the ground…so in order to insulate it, I’d really need to remove the entire floor, probably excavate and level the ground underneath, install the vapor barrier…it would be a pretty enormous job, and just something that seems a little over the top and unnecessary (particularly since I fully plan on keeping the old single glaze windows and 2×4 framed exterior walls and everything else that makes the house less than super efficient. It’s been this way for 100 years, and I think the smartest thing to to just let it go on being this way!

  66. I love that you agonize over the details -but- save the angst for the home you are going to be living in and go with the most selling option, tile. Of course I’m only saying that because you have impeccable taste so I know the tiling will look fabulous. I love old wood, and old painted wood even more but I think the practicality of tile wins on this one.

  67. Here are my thoughts:
    1. You can use any good pieces of the dining room floor to patch any necessary pieces in the upstairs floor.
    2. For a small house, continuous flooring does wonders for making it seem bigger
    3. For a second floor bathroom with radiator heater, a wood floor would be just as warm as a radiant heat tile floor. Maybe even warmer (and consistently warm, you wouldn’t have to wait for it to warm up
    4. Poly the heck out of the floor in the bathroom – marine grade poly, bartop poly – I think this would go a long way to keeping splashing water and potential leaks manageable
    5. Potential buyers – for a small cottage like this, it is kind of important to “get it right” and since this house is going to appeal to a certain person/family that would appreciate a “less is more” attitude (tiny house types), simplifying flooring is a good idea.
    Bonus: if someone comes in and decides they want to tile the full bath, they can do it In Their Own Style and within Their Own Budget. You are creating a beautiful framework of potential for a future buyer. You’re doing an excellent job. Don’t blow your budget on this, it’s not necessary. That being said, if you are still thinking of potentially renting this place out – TILE IT (without radiant heat).

    • Thanks, GG!
      1. That’s the plan, exactly!
      2. I really hope so.
      3. I didn’t think about that, but it’s a good point. Hmmmm.
      4. YES—I really feel like a decent sealant (or even paint) is not all that different functionally from tile…any floor that goes through a MAJOR flood will need to be replaced regardless, pretty sure…
      5. This is a really good point. This house is going to really appeal to some people, but honestly I think most buyers wouldn’t even consider it at all—it’s just very out of the ordinary. Trying to predict what that small group will/won’t like is maybe not the best metric on which to base decisions here, but yeah—a big part of me feels like simple/modest/restored would win out over shiny and new…even though I know I can make tile look great too. So tough!

  68. We have a 95-year old house that had a wood floor in the bathroom. Here’s the thing: If they aren’t properly cared for and they get a bit of water on them, a wood floor in the bathroom can start to squeak. And creak. And then there is no quiet trip in the middle of the night to the bathroom.

    CREEEEEAK!

  69. One thing you can do to prevent some of the yellowing of clear sealed pine floors, is to go with a water-borne urethane finish, as opposed to the trad solvent type polyurethanes. Polyurethanes yellow a lot, and over fairly short periods of time, and become brittle. Water-borne urethanes don’t yellow noticeably, and once full-cured, are harder and more durable than polyurethanes, as well as more flexible (harder to chip and peel).
    Another recommendation: don’t be tempted by water-based pickling stains for your pine (they don’t go on nicely enough, and look terrible).
    Painted floors in the bathroom seal the wood well, can be durable, and bonus: easy to retouch when necessary.

  70. Oh and also , I rented an appartment is Oslo, Norway with underfloor heating – total luxury, and it heated the whole space, no other radiators needed. I have wooden floors in the bathroom in my old house but the original wooden floor was overlaid with new sealed hardwood and it just stole all of the charm away from said bathroom. The bathroom I’m working on now will have underfloor heating (hot water pipes) and tile – cosy!

  71. Hey Daniel! I grew up in a traditional foursquare home that had wood floors in the main full bathroom. While it looked cool, my mother was ALWAYS hounding us about water on the floors. Adding tile may help quell some future arguments!

    KB

  72. There’s Woca oil too, stops pine from yellowing, don’t know how it would work in a bathroom.
    http://www.remodelista.com/posts/remodeling-101-easy-whitewashed-scandi-floors-with-john-baker-of-mjolk

  73. I am loving following this series. So I’ll throw in my two penneth.
    Patch the floors and sand them, keep some sawdust, patching gaps and dings with sawdust and white glue paste. Then do a dilute whitewash (or another color) over all the floors. The wood grain will show through, and it’s enough to disguise any patching. I’ve done this, and know it to be true ;).Throw down a few rugs, instant charm. With the money you save, tile the bathroom floor, and add a heated towel rail, a bathmat should stop your feet being cold, but a warm towel is heaven!

  74. I am pretty obsessed with this house + regularly daydream about living there/fleeing Brooklyn.

    So, as a (pretend) prospective buyer/renter, and fan of yr blog and aesthetic I would say:

    — Absolutely tile the upstairs bathroom. It will be awesome and bright with tile. WOOD WOULD BE SAD.
    — Completely agree that new flooring is needed downstairs. My current apartment has 4 different types of flooring and it drives me nuts every day of my life. Also, while it sounds as though you definitely won’t do this, I really think painting the wide plank pine downstairs would be so beautiful and awesome AND would fit in at the cottage more than bright brand new natural wood tone floors.

    Also, I read this book and thought of yr blog: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/603986.Plant_Dreaming_Deep

    And guess what, she painted her wooden floors yellow.

  75. Uniting all the ground floor with one material will be great and lighter is definitely the way to go in a small low space.

    I can see wood in the bathroom…but then the dark side of me sees a toilet overflowing and having to replace the wood. No one seems to have encountered that in the comments above that I’ve noted, so maybe it’s no big deal if you seal it and the toilet ring really well?

  76. I actually grew up in an 1800s era New England home that had a powder room with tiled floor + radiant heat and the only full bathroom (with tub/shower) had a wood floor (cherry I think), both of which were renovated by my dad. There was never a problem with the wood + water combo, and I think it is visually really nice, BUT there is something spectacular about radiant heat in bathrooms, it’s so cozy during cold winters in an old house. So I guess I’m saying that you can’t go wrong.

  77. I’ve never had a bathroom with wood floors. But our current house was rented out for about a year or two before we bought it. It was built in the 1960’s and had original red oak floors (just waxed not sealed) underneath carpet. We of course pulled the carpets and refinished the hardwood. The only place we could not get the stains out was in the hallway right in front of the bathroom door — it has a stain from what I can only assume were wet feet walking out of that bathroom onto the carpet regularly. The stain doesn’t really bother me. But it does make me pretty sure I’d avoid wood floors inside the bathroom. Also during our renovations, inside our downstairs bathroom was had to really fight the toilet for a while to get it to stop leaking around the bottom of it (it was kinda ridiculous that it was so hard to fix — it’s better now), but while that was going on I was SO glad we had tile in that bathroom to keep our floor safe.
    I’m not sure if wood floors in the bathroom would be a deal breaker for me to buy a house — I’d probably still go for it. (Then again I’m brave and bought a pretty messed up house so most my friends think I am nuts — I know it’s gonna be awesome — but just saying, I just might not be the standard home shopper.) But if I were renting out a house, I wouldn’t risk it — renters usually don’t treat homes with as much love as I do. (We have a rental house — our bathroom kinda took a beating over the years.)

  78. Totally the right call on the first floor. Sacrifice the dining room top level, use it to patch upstairs. I prefer when the floor runs the way it would if it were on top of the joists, and I guess an alternative would be to lay it on a diagonal, although that doesn’t really fit with the “vibe” of the cottage. I agree that houses tell you what they want!

    As for hardwood in the bathroom, do it. I had it in a kitchen, flooded it and even damaged some of it due to a leaky garbage disposal the day we moved in. Didn’t really bother me and I’m just about as anal as you are, so if it didn’t bug me, seriously, it’s fine. I loved that the floor was continuous throughout the whole house. Dropping stuff on it meant less breaking (tile is so mean and hard!) and wiping stuff up was no big deal. Grout SUCKS.

    And honestly, with the floating sink, tiling would be super easy even after it’s on the market IF the feedback from showings is “wish the bath was tiled.” I’d honestly wait and see, because I agree that whomever wants this house, wants THIS house with all it’s character.

    Oh, and old houses around Cincinnati seem to have the toilet sitting on a marble rectangle pad and then the rest of the floor is either wood or tiled. Not sure if that was a wood floor protection method or aesthetics, but something to look into if the toilet is your worry for water damage. The shower water is seriously not a concern I’d have. Leaky toilets seem like a more likely possibility.

    • I love the idea of a marble rectangle around the toilet and the rest hardwood! Or maybe in this house’s case, ceramic?

  79. Soft White Pine in a house so small that every room will get constant, hard wear? You’re looking at more than just dings, Daniel! Knots drying out & popping out, resin seeping through varnish or paint, warping, splinters galore, and deep gouges from moving appliances and furniture. (It’s not easy moving heavy objects in and out of small spaces.) Pine looks fresh and appealing when new, and it’s definitely cheap–fine in a fishing cabin, artist’s loft, or shed–but for a floor in a family house, please, NO. As others have pointed out, the Douglas Fir and Longleaf Pine floors of a century ago are very different in character from any softwood flooring available today; they are almost as hard as most hardwoods, and the planks were cut thicker, and the wood is mostly clear, without knots, and STILL they splinter, scrape and dent. Believe me, Daniel, there are good reasons why most houses don’t have white pine floors; it’s not just from a desire to be fancy. Sorry to be so negative about an idea that clearly appeals to you, but I live in two houses with old pine and fir flooring, and I’m not a perfectionist about dents, but I’ve filled in many gouges and pulled a lot of splinters from my kids’ bare feet. Think hard about this choice (I know–you’re doing that already! Sorry) and if you must have White Pine floors, please make sure the wood is very well dried, then shellac seal and prime the hell out of those knots, and paint the floors with a tough, pretty enamel. Oh–and tile the bathroom, no question. Families are hard on houses, you know. Pipes and toilets sometimes leak. Older kids leave the shower curtain open when showering and huge puddles collect on the floor in spite of bath mats. Little ones have accidents. A waterproof floor that can be thoroughly cleaned is a necessity in a bathroom, and a heated one is a delicious luxury–one most buyers in the Northeast will appreciate!

  80. If you do decide to go with a wood floor in the bath, consider doing a marine poly on it, just like GG mentions above. My parents have that in their early 1900s Victorian only in the bath–it protects the floor from my nieces’ splashing in the tub, and from occasional drips and puddles, and has worked really well. Of course, tile is great too and perhaps more practical in the end.

    I live in the Southeast and all of the older houses I’ve seen with original floors have just the wood floors laid directly on the joists. I’ll be curious to hear more about your research/thoughts on insulating crawl spaces. Ours is not vented (like many are in the deep south) and our HVAC is in our crawlspace, meaning it is somewhat temperature controlled down there. Nevertheless, we’d love to insulate down there at some point to make our house more efficient and our floors less cold. We hear extremely mixed opinions about how to proceed in our non-vented space, but many seem to think insulation under the floorboards in a humid climate is begging for mold/hidden leaks underneath the floorboards and the way to go is to insulate the perimeter of the crawlspace by putting up foam board on the brick walls down there. If you end up having thoughts on that, let us know!

  81. Do cities have lists of properties they own that the public can view?

    • Good question! Some do. Often it takes a little digging…some cities have a demolition list (or a director’s list) of city-owned properties slated for demolition, and some have lists of city-owned properties that the city has seized but doesn’t plan to demolish. In Kingston, a private real estate company actually handles all of the city owned properties, so you just call them for the info. I know they do demolish houses sometimes, but I don’t know where that list is…I wish I did! I have to do some more digging. I’d guess the building department, the department of public works, and the planning office might be the best places to call?

  82. herringbone tile in all bathrooms in the world please!

  83. I live in a 1930’s house with 2 remodeled bathrooms. The downstairs one is super tiny so the radiator had to come out and we put in radiant heat floors in instead. Upstairs the bathroom is kind of absurdly large for an older home so we didn’t put in radiant floor heat, and I regret it everyday for 50% of the year. Seriously. I really wish I could go back in time. I say choose a cheap simple hex tile for the floors and splurge on the heat. Also, I’m totally cool with wood flooring in powder rooms and maybe a master, but with only one main bathroom in the house I think it’s a good idea to do tile. Just picturing kids who let the tub overflow, bathing muddy dogs, etc.

  84. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who obsesses about floors! We redid floors in our kitchen and (small) front hall recently, and I totally went down the research rabbit hole.

    I LOVE patina, dents, scratches, etc. — I was going for a floor that could take years of abuse and just look more loved and homey over time. (I’m the sort of person who’s proud of the scratches in my marble kitchen counter.) But what concerned me about new pine was the potential for splintering. I tested a sample by dropping a can of soup on it from waist height and that thing practically went straight through the board. It broke through the finish completely, creating sharp edges that were going to splinter quickly. My parents have a similar issue with a some pine flooring in their dining room — over 20-ish years, some pieces disintegrated. Like, spears of wood are sticking up and poke your feet. They eventually covered those pieces with duct tape. :-)

    The really old pine floors (how I love them) don’t seem to splinter like that, but the new stuff does. So if you go with pine I think the kind of finish you use will be crucial — that flexible one that Adrienne B mentioned sounds like a good idea. But please get samples and abuse the heck out of them!

    (We ended up with character-grade white oak… which totally blew our budget. I thought floors would be simple — I have modest taste! — but those decisions turned out to be tough. May the force be with you!)

    Oh and one more thing! A flooring lady told me that for small spaces, you should be careful about using wide planks. The wider the plank, the smaller the space can look. I had never thought of that but she was totally right. And hey, narrower planks are usually cheaper anyway.

    • That’s helpful to hear, thank you! I’ll definitely pick up some samples before making decisions. I think we’re on the same page…I’m OK with patina (I’d prefer it, really!) but I don’t want to install something that somebody’s going to be ripping out in a couple of years because they’re getting splinters in their feet!!

  85. I think tile feels clean and sanitary in a bathroom. I would spend the bucks and install radiant heat, it makes sense to do it to add that bit of luxury and modernity to an old house.

  86. I grew up in a house with 2 bathrooms, both full. One wood floor, one tile. The wood floor was in the bathroom with the tub, so lots of use with me and my sister as kids and in my life (32 yrs) I think it’s been resurfaced twice. No issues! Also, just a shower curtain, no glass wall to keep it safe. A small bathroom rug helps keep it cozy!

  87. As someone who works at a flooring store I won’t talk you out of pine… But I would recommend whatever floor you do, doing continuously throughout the house. Nothing looks more mismatched that a floor changing color/material on different levels. This is a tiny cottage so I would either carry the pine through or try to match as closely as you can whatever floor you will be refinishing on the second level. Also, definitely 100% do tile in the main bath. I cannot imagine a situation in which I would recommend to a client wood in a full bathroom. We train our staff that that is a HUGE no no. Good luck!

  88. I have wood floors in my kitchen and even with a stopped up sink Christmas day we had no damage- I have wood in powder room ( no tub/shower) for continuity sake near living area but other full baths and laundry room have tile– I’ve had a leaky shower pan in another house and that influenced my use of tile this time around.

  89. Oof, I began reading all this to make sure my comment wasn’t replicated, but this post got an awful lot of comments!! As a designer, I say tile on the full bath floor. Even if wood holds up fine, I think potential buyers may end up worried, and you just don’t want to give them a thing to worry about.

    And although Edwin would surely steer you in this direction anyway, the type of radiant you want in a bathroom is electric mat. It’s cheap, easy to install under tile, and is designed to pleasantly heat the floor, not to replace the main heat source. If you price out the hot-water-tube style radiant, it will seem crazy! Electric mat is probably only a few hundred bucks at most. It’s what all our GCs use on our projects.

    • Yes—it’s a lot to wade through!!

      I should have mentioned, but yes—electric mat is what I would do. It shouldn’t be more than $300 or so since it’s a small space, and it just sounds DELIGHTFUL. To me it almost doesn’t even make sense to put in a new tiled floor and NOT just do the radiant heat, really. There would still be a small hot water radiator in the room, too, so it should be plenty toasty.

  90. We have a painted pine floor in our bathroom and kitchen and it’s fine. Granted, the paint is oil, which is hard to come by these days, but I think several coats of a good quality latex would be fine. You could also use boat paint which is horrifyingly expensive, but obviously provides an excellent water seal. We used it on the walls of our bathroom (there’s no tile in the bathroom at all).

  91. I grew up in a restored 1895 brick house, and we had hardwood floors in our kitchen and master bathroom. They are very warm, and have held up pretty well for a family of four with two big dogs. The only real wear and tear wasn’t from water damage, but from the finish wearing off in high-traffic areas (aka under the sinks) and dulling the wood. The master bathroom is really big, and because we’re in Utah it’s an arid climate, so we don’t have issues with steam or humidity in a small, enclosed space. I think you’d be fine with a water-repelling finish if your vision is for wood floors.

  92. I think that a new-build middle-class cottage bathroom prior to 1950 would have almost certainly been tiled, so I’d go that route. Toilet gaskets leak. Tanks drip. Liquids get knocked over. Little boys miss. All of those are bad for wood.

  93. You have plenty of comments here already, but just wanted to throw in my 2 cents. We have a 1928 Sears kit house that still has all the original floors, including the maple floors in the bathroom. I honestly thought it was super charming when we first saw the house, and even though it has some old water damage/staining in some spots, I definitely wouldn’t rip it up. We have had radiant heat under tile before and it never worked properly, so when we moved into this place I was so happy it didn’t have a cold tile floor, or something electric that I would have seen as a potential headache in the future. It definitely seemed strange and quirky– maybe not everyone would appreciate it– but we absolutely love it and will be keeping the natural wood floors when we add an additional bathroom to another part of the house later this year. It makes the bathroom feel a lot warmer and I think helps with the cottagey feel that you’re trying to maintain. Good luck either way! Love your blog :)

  94. Hi Daniel, it would be a deal breaker for us.
    Love your blog:)

  95. We live in a 1927 one-story modified Sears & Roebuck kit bungalow/cottage. The floors are quarter-sawn oak, running continuously north-south (the long dimension) and that coherence matters enormously. The rooms are small and closed off from each other and the consistent flooring/absence of thresholds ties everything together. I think you’ve made the right call on the main floor! Our only bathroom also has quarter-sawn oak and while we tried to take care of it, we failed. Our first “fix” was paint and poly and while the paint held up the boards cupped and looked horrible – and the adults were almost as guilty of post-shower puddles as the children. The paint, however, looked great at first, and would not have scared off buyers. Our next fix was Marmoleum with a cool 1920s-appropriate border – and the seam between the border and the field, along the bath edge, was constantly damaged/raised/in need of new glue. We switched to marble subway tiles 2 years ago, and have never regretted it.

  96. We lived in a rental with a wood floor in the bathroom when our kids were ages 2-5. I was constantly worried about it. Partly that was because it had a clawfoot tub close to the wall, and when the kids (inevitably) got water back there, there wasn’t an easy way to wipe it up. The situation down there preceded our living there, and it always grossed me out. I also worried that if we ruined other parts of the floor the landlord would take it out of our deposit.

    In our new house we put tile in the bathroom. Budget was extremely tight but two years later I really wish we had sprung for the radiant heat too.

    However, we have wood in the kitchen, which we refinished with the rest of the house, and the kitchen is holding up much less well than elsewhere. I can’t wait to replace it with Marmoleum.

  97. I definitely vote for a tile bathroom with radiant electric heat. Paint and sealants can’t match ceramic for durability and as one of your comments pointed out, there is a difference between “wear” and “patina”. Another plus for the tile/radiant heat option is that it takes care of the heat source for the bathroom. We went that route simply to avoid trying to find a space for enough radiation in the bathroom and the warm tile is bliss in the winter. Re: the pine, I also agree with the commentor who hated the knots. It is too busy for my eye and the softwood would be a not go for me if I was a buyer. It is too tender. We just finished a reno and if I had it to do over I would have picked hard woods that didn’t require finishes. The quote “if you want it to look natural, you have to keep it natural” burns in my ears. Unfinished wood gets beautiful patina, finished woods look like they need work.

  98. Daniel, have you seen Rehab Addict on the HGTV network? Reading this post makes me think that Nicole Curtis is your “rehab soulmate.” I love her but she would use the subfloor as flooring which drives me crazy (she does most of her rehabbing in the Mid West, brrr). So that’s why I love you, too. You have a practical streak while still respecting these great old homes.

    • Yes, I love Nicole! I do always wonder about the subfloor thing, too…it always looks GREAT and I totally understand the impulse, but I don’t think I’d do it if there wasn’t a heated room below it! I guess it’s possible that sometimes there are actually two layers of subfloor…I think that’s pretty typical starting around the 1880s or 1890s—to have a bottom diagonal layer of subfloor and then the 6″ or so wide pine boards on top of that. I guess that would help some?

      • I’m commenting like a crazy person, but re. the floor heat problem: I think adding fiberglass insulation (and maybe a moisture barrier?) between the joists in the crawl space should help a bit? That’s a tricky one.

  99. Hi Daniel, Here’s my two cents worth. On the first renovation I ever did, I put in a beautiful douglas fir floor and put a little landing pad of concrete outside of the shower. The second renovation I did, I went with tile and radiant heat. I can tell you that I by far preferred the wood to the tile. I live in SF, so we rarely run the heat -so that friggin floor feels cold in the middle of the night in bare feet (even though it’s not cold outside or in). Wood is so much pleasant to walk on in bare feet no matter what the temperature. You’d have to have a daily tsunami to have a problem with water on the floor, I promise you. Go with wood ;)

    • Caitlin, you’re not making this easy!! I’ve been back and forth all day!

      I think your comment has been echoed a few times over by people who have actually lived with wood floors—not a big deal, and maybe in some ways preferable! I think the bigger thing I have to weigh at this point is not really whether it’s a bad idea to do it at all (sounds like no), but whether it’s a bad idea to balk the strong perception that it’s a no-no. Which is verrrryyyy temptinggggg. What fun is popular opinion?? :)

  100. We had a similar issue in our house and ended up choosing a plank tile that looks like wood but is more durable and water-resistant. Something like this (not our house): http://www.decorpad.com/photo.htm?photoId=105131. That way we got the radiant heating (LOVE LOVE LOVE) but visually it’s consistent with the hardwoods in the rest of the house.

  101. I agree with the points made about potential buyers liking the cottage style and that there will always be things some people would change no matter what you do. If you are selling I would be tempted to paint the bathroom floor to save money BUT if you are renting and long term upkeep and happy renters are an issue then warm tiles might be better. Personally I have only had one tiled bathroom floor and it was FREEZING so if you removed that issue and threw in some penny tiles I would love it. You do want to keep it open to as many potential buyers as possible to maximise profit so……. oh, I’m no help at all!
    OK, from your responses to the comments I think your heart wants wood but your head thinks tile. Maybe choose the tile you WOULD get if you were to go that way, and see if your heart can love them too?

    • Hahaha, you’re comment is pretty much my brain right now! THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER!!

      I actually really do like the idea of tiling the floor, honestly! There are some good inexpensive tile options out there that would be nicely suited to this house, and I wouldn’t hesitate to put them in! I guess part of the hesitation is just the added expense and work…even CHEAP tile still adds up, and with all the supplies, new subfloor, cement board…the bathroom floor is probably up in the $1000 ballpark, so that’s not fun (vs. maybe $100 to fix it up)! Then the other thing is just the fact that this floor is already HERE and it’s actually in really good shape…annoyingly, it’s in the best condition of all the floors in the house! So it just feels sort of sad and wasteful to pull it up, too, especially if there isn’t really a problem with using it in the bathroom.

      • Maybe I was wrong and your heart says tile but your wallet/head says wood!! I think ten times the cost is something to be really cautious about. Even if the more expensive option is not THAT much, you get tempted do that in a few different areas of the house and suddenly you are talking megabucks. Most of the comments about wood are that it is fine for every day life. BUT my heart says tile because I know you will pick something that looks amazing with that sink and it is a relatively small area since you are going with the cheaper option downstairs. Ugh, still no help! I had the flooring conundrum recently and nothing was working but once the right solution was made everything else fell into place more easily. Good luck daniel, coz I don’t fing know!

      • MY HEART SAYS ALL THE THINGS AT ONCE! That’s the problem!

        And oh, do I know what you mean. It’s really easy to say “this costs $500 extra…I guess that’s worth it, it’s never going to be easier to do it than right now…might as well!” and once you say that a few times your budget is blown. It’s already happened. I’m sure it’ll keep happening. If it happens with this floor, it’s COMPLETELY my fault.

        Somehow I thought fielding all these comments would help, but I think I’m more indecisive than ever!!

      • Yikes, that wood floor in the bathroom is original and the best floor in the house? Somehow I missed that part of your post. And yeah, it would hurt my heart to pay extra money just to tear out a perfectly good and beautiful floor.

        Maybe one way to look at it the buyer question is like dating: there only needs to be one right person. :-) Whoever buys this house is going to know they are buying a charming, quirky little old house that’s been lovingly restored. And if they’re ready to sign on the dotted line but hate hardwood in the bathroom, heck, it’s not that hard (for you or them!) to tile a small bathroom, especially if the sink is floating and there’s no other furniture super-attached to the floor. And then you can lovingly salvage those planks and use them… uh, to patch your house? maybe that spot upstairs where the radiator had that weird patch situation? That floor will be loved somehow.

      • Yeah, thinking about it even mooooorrrreeeee…losing the bathroom floor would be sad. Not saying I won’t do it (not saying I will, either), but it is a nice floor. My goal here has always been to maintain any original details that are salvageable, particularly since there there are so few of them. And this floor really is nice. It’s probably 75 or 100 year-old yellow pine, which means it’s very hard, like oak. I could try to pull it up in salvageable pieces, but realistically there’d still be stuff going to the dump. Such a tough call!

      • Also where are you finding these inexpensive dark hex tiles that you speak of as an option? I have searched and can’t find them anywhere. If you keep the wood floor, at least tell us what your tile sources would have been!

      • Boom! Inexpensive is relative, I guess…it would cost about $700-$750 to tile the bathroom with these, tax included. Not sooooo bad, until you factor in underlayment, grout, thinset, tools, time…and radiant heat, if I did that (which honestly I’d feel like I had to if I were going through the effort of everything else). SIGH

      • Wow, thanks for the link! And yeah… inexpensive is relative. When I think “affordable tile” I think “subway tile! 50 cents each!” so I was hoping you had found something like that. :-) I guess I need to raise my sights a little.

      • You can definitely do better, too! This smaller hex is just $5.77/sq foot and perfect for old houses. Often people will buy a couple sheets of black (or another color), cut out some of the white ones, and do a traditional rosette boarder or something with the black tiles intermixed. So cheap, so nice!! For really inexpensive tile, I’d recommend starting on the websites of the big box stores…they have a LOT of stuff that’s not stocked at the stores but available online, and the price points are excellent.

      • (technically, I think subway tiles are 22 cents each! :)

      • Okay, I just read that just the bathroom tile (w/o labor) would be around $800 while reflooring the ENTIRE first floor would be about $1,200 for all the wood (also w/o sealing or labor). Sorry, keep the wood in the bathroom! When you compare those costs, in my opinion it’s clear, the floor for the smaller bathroom should not be 70% of the flooring for downstairs! Besides that sink deserves rustic wood floors. Can’t wait to see what you decide.

      • Thanks for the reminder!

        …and then if one decides to hell with the budget, there’s this. SIGH.

        (I’ll stop now! Not trying to make your comment section into a general discussion of hex tile sources :-) )

      • Um, YEP! Although for a small bathroom, even marble can be pretty affordable. It’s what I’d like to put in the upstairs bath at my house…SOMEDAY. The back hex is just so gorgeous.

      • Inexpensive is indeed relative http://www.luxuo.com/most-expensive/diamond-floor-wall-or-ceiling-tile.html Personally I prefer the black, or white hex :)

      • Preposterous! Haha!

  102. I was just wondering if you were considering some kind of bleaching treatment for the new pine flooring, to prevent them from turning jaundiced/orange? In my experience the yellowing can happen very, very quickly. I saw that one of the previous comments mentioned WOCA brand products, and I know they sell a “Wood Lye.” I know that the two-part, Klean-Strip brand wood bleach can produce this effect, also. I like the look of softwood floors very much, as long as the yellow-orange is bleached out. It’s a more natural and neutral look than a white-pigmented “whitewash” stain, which I think for many people can read as assertively “feminine.”

    While I am also a big fan of painted wood floors, I agree that a lot of US Americans might be freaked out by them. Ditto for a wood floor in a bathroom.

    As far as the “denting” is concerned, I think it will just make them look more appropriate to an old building—especially combined with a very matte finish. I know in the US most people expect plasticky polyurethane on a wood floor, but I wonder if a finish that is spot-repairable, able to be touched up in high-wear places, might be appreciated by future owners.

    Sorry for rambling, I’m sure you’ll work it out and make it look great.

  103. I live in an old Victorian that has similar flooring issues on the first floor as the Cottage. Entry, living & bedroom has flooring laid right over joists and runs the length of the house, the kitchen/dining room has slightly raised flooring laid over the original that runs the width of the house, and the back bedroom reverts to the slightly lower height but also runs the width of the house. And I’m in Toronto, so the weather here is quite similar to what you’ve got.

    So here’s my report: There isn’t an issue with the flooring laid over the joists as far as warmth goes even though the basement is completely unfinished. I really don’t even notice the difference in the flooring when it switches into the kitchen because they are exactly the same colour. And the change in height is something I only notice when I’m vacuuming.

    I mention this because I think what is so lovely about what you are doing, and I’m guessing what drew you to the project in the first place, is taking this neglected old house and restoring it. I love an old space that has a story. I love that I can tell how my space was once used because of the quirks in the walls and the flooring. And I’d be very surprised if the people who are interested in your little cottage aren’t into the very same things. So I gotta say, I think putting down new flooring that will clearly look uber-new, is less appealing than using what’s original to the house.

    So my vote is patch those floors and save the money. Then tile the kitchen floor, which would look both appropriate and fun, particularly since you have good separation of the rooms. And while you’re at it, tile the bathroom for a little story between the two, and mos def put that radiant heating in the bathroom to warm it up during the many winter months.

    Now if from a timing perspective, fixing the floors is too time consuming and you do go with the pine, the only thing that would be a real turn-off to me would be light floors on the main & dark floors on the second level. So if you go with the pine, I’d paint those upstairs floors and stage the bedrooms with some ample rugs. I think you can totally keep the wood floor in the bathroom, again to highlight what’s original to the house, but tile is both practical and cute (and heated!).

    Best of luck making whatever decision makes the most sense. I can see that there are a million different perspectives to look at for not only this but for all the choices you need to make, but you’re the one who’s putting in the time & money. So I have no doubt, that with your wonderful taste, whatever you do will be gorgeous & you will find exactly the right buyer. You only need one.

    Here’s at my first floor flat. You can see the flooring transitions in a couple of the shots:
    http://marcelnme.blogspot.ca/search/label/house%20tour

  104. Hi Daniel, I would definitely keep the wood floors. I have 3 kids and wooden floors in the bathroom and we just use a good old rug! Osmo is definitely the way to go, it’s also what we used and it works wonders. When the kids get a bit rowdy and splash, the water just sits on the wood and I mop it up just the way I would with a tile floor. Wood floors in bathrooms and kitchens are quite common here in Belgium because our houses can be quite old. We love our wooden floors!

    • Thanks, Doorot! I’m glad to see some wood supporters on here! There seems to be something of a U.S. vs. Europe split on this issue, too, which is interesting to me.

  105. 100% tile the bathroom. The powder room wood floor is totally fine, but I think with only one bath it will look like you cut corners when it got to the bathroom flooring. The tile won’t be expensive, and labor for installing tile is shockingly cheap (or you can do it). I used the electric floor mat/strip things in the Flaimview bathrooms and they work great, but two caveats (I may already have told you this?):
    -They can make small tiles a little uneven, depending on the installation, so bear that in mind–the CHEAP hex mosaic we used in the tub bath (it has little squares in with bigger hex) has pretty uneven grout lines, a combo of the poor quality tile and the installer not taking the mat into account enough. He was able to do a better job (more mud?) in the downstairs bathrooms with the nicer repro hex tiles.
    -Wire for it now!! You’ll need a wire coming up from the floor to a point on the wall where the controller will go; it’s worth going and picking the whole shebang up so your electrician can get you all set while the walls are still open. (We got our at Lowe’s; I think it was about $80 for the strip-style one (more flexible layout) and $199 for the controller. There are probably systems that are a bit pricier but flatter…)

    • You didn’t tell me this! Thanks, Kate! If I tile, I’ll definitely rough in the electrical for the heat while I’m at it. There’s also a new Ditra underlayment product made for radiant heat that I’m interested in…looks like it’s probably easier to avoid the unevenness issue with smaller tiles. I probably wouldn’t go any bigger than 2″ hex in here.

  106. I like everything you’ve done with this house, but white pine floors would be an absolute dealbreaker for me. Yellow pine, maybe, but I’d be able to see where your contractor placed his equipment after you put the floors down. I had a white pine desk as a teenager, and where I wrote without an underpad – with a ballpoint pen, but not pushing super hard – you could read everything I wrote. I think you are dismissing the people warning you away from the softness of those cheap white pine floors a bit too quickly.

    • No, I’m considering everything! But I’m also hearing both sides…I know a few people who have them and like them, some of these comments are positive, and the reviews of that flooring are pretty good! I think it’s just time to pick up samples. I won’t do it if it seems like a bad choice. Materials are a tricky thing, just in general…nothing appeals to everyone, and what some people LOVE is often the very thing that other people wouldn’t dream of using in their house. I’m listening, though, really! :)

      • This is a good spot to comment on the iffyness in the performance of various new materials, especially natural products. There is just not a chemical formula for tree wood and you only find out about a good batch or bad batch down the road. Obviously, lots of wood samples have survived many, many years, but you’ve seen rot and splintering and cracking in wooden building materials (with or without temperature changes and water damage) as well–they don’t last and usually get ripped up with a grumble and replaced with man-made, but who knew ahead of time? Your work on restoration and design is so thoughtful, artful, and thorough– your landscaping with wood on the outside front yard is pure genius, for example. I would say execute with the materials that best equal and stand up to your efforts and hard work.

  107. Oh! And about the wood floors. So. I cheaped out on the kitchen floors at the house (Build Direct, not as cheap as that pine though), and it bugs me. It’s already cupped and there are gaps between the boards that weren’t there when it was installed. I wish I’d done a bit more research; now we can’t change them because the whole kitchen is installed on top! The softness of the white pine worries me, and I’m just afraid it would end up looking great for staging but then be horrible so fast. I guess it doesn’t matter since you’re flipping, but these WILL be your neighbors… I’d fix up the original floors and put something different in the kitchen (tile, I guess, thought I prefer wood in kitchens). The 3/4″ difference in height will be totally fine with a sill–we have one like that and you can’t tell now that there’s a sill that was angled properly for each side. And I think anyone who buys this house is looking for some vintage charm, obviously, so the different directions, patches, etc. aren’t a deal-breaker. Can you salvage the floors from upstairs bathroom to use for your patches? I do agree with the commenter who said she wouldn’t want dark floors down and light upstairs, though.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your floor! What kind of wood did you guys use? For some reason I thought you went with laminate!

      I’m DEFINITELY not thinking about this in terms of “it just needs to look good for pictures!” because YES, these will be my neighbors (and maybe friends! or maybe readers! who knows!) and I don’t want them cursing my name after they move in because one of my decisions sucked! I just question whether the pine is really *bad* or more of a taste thing. I get that not everyone wants a floor that shows wear and tear, but I actually think it could lend a nice, rustic sort of vibe that this house would really be served by…and might be appreciated by whoever would be looking at this house, instead of seen as a big negative. That’s all a mystery, though! All I can really do is try to make the best decision for the house that’s within financial reason. :)

  108. I think if you are selling you need to do the tile. I can picture a buyer calculating the cost of the tiling to be done and hitting their bid on the house hard for it.

  109. We have a wood floor in our bathroom and even with two sloppy teen-aged boys, it’s been fine. We all just know that we cannot leave any water on the floor after showers and that the fan must always be on during showers. We also had a wall-mounted electric heater installed that helps with moisture. I’d say go for it and save yourself the added expense. I really don’t think this would be a deal breaker. People are accustomed to changing what they don’t like in housed these days.

  110. Hi Daniel
    It was the wooden Jarrah floor (& claw foot bath) that sold me on my 110yo Australian home, and I’ve had no problems with it over the last 15 years, but I do make sure I wipe up any water. Go wood! – the house will love you for keeping it :)

  111. I live in a 1920s house in Maine with Douglas fir throughout. We has them refinished and love them, especially the warmth in the bathroom. Now that I’ve lived without tiled floors, I will never go back to the cold, hard surface.
    I also love pine floors and the dents they get over the years. They give a house character.

  112. Wish I had more to say because I DEVOUR your blog posts and would love to have a Very Meaningful Contribution, but for me, wood floors in the bathroom would be a non-issue. I’d be surprised to see them. I think I’d even think it was charming. My husband would be the one who would say, “Well, what if there’s a leak? What if this, what if that?” and I would be like, “It’s fine! It’s totally fine!” and probably nothing would happen and we would have cute wood floors.

  113. Hey Daniel!

    Firstly, I love your blog. Secondly, I always imagined a black and white basketweave tile in the full bath! All your inspiration pictures from your sink post had tile floors. If you’re going to plank the walls (which would be amazing) wood on the floor may be a little much for a tiny space. Or it could feel like a sauna.

    Personally, I’d go with tiling the floors, and heated floors are great, here in Sweden we have them–but rarely use them in our bathroom.

    The first floor solution you gave sounds great and looks amazing! I love naturally stained/poly-ed wood floors. I suggest using water based poly so it doesn’t discolor over time. Good luck in all these decisions–I’m so jealous!

    • Well, technically the picture from House Beautiful had wood floors!! :)

      I think the planks would be fine with a wood floor…the wood floor would either be painted or stained/sealed, and the walls would be a much larger plank and painted white, so I’m not super concerned about that particular issue, but I see what you mean!

      Thank you! :)

  114. I make a crazy wet mess every time I use my kitchen. I make more of a wet mess in there than I do in the bathroom. I get water on the floor (lots of it, daily). I lived in a house for 4 years that had wood floors even in the kitchen. But it did have tile floors in the bathroom. Here is what I learned. I f-ing hate tile. Grout is impossible to clean and your room is going to start looking old about a year after you install it. Solid floors like sealed in place hardwood are a beautiful dream (we had bamboo). So easy to clean up after. I am now looking for a new place to buy and I would buy a place with wood floors in the bathroom in a hot second. Also, even in Southern California, that middle of the night trip to the bathroom results in ice cold feet when you go from the nice warm wood floor to the icy tile.

    But having said all that, the most important thing to me would be a house with the least amount of ornamentation. So add a tile design in and I like the house less.

    Re the new floors and using the pine at $1.39/sq ft. This is the one area where I would spend the money to get something that will really last. Let me explain why. If I were buying the house and I didn’t think the floor would hold up, and I might have to put a new floor on top of it but pay for it outside of the mortgage, I might hesitate to buy the house. But I would pay more for a high quality floor. So I think although we are talking about 7K for a reclaimed floor, it is the expenditure that is worth it.

    So if you put the pine wood floor in downstairs and show the house for sale are you going to make everyone take off their shoes before they see the house to avoid dents?

    • Thank you, Bonnnie! All these comments from people who have lived with wood in these spaces are so interesting…there’s a very small minority who didn’t like them!

      I’m still considering options for the first floor. I ordered a sample, so we’ll see. I won’t put it in if I’m really worried about it, but I’m also not opposed to a floor like this showing signs of wear (i think it’s different with other types of wood, but I picture pine as having a lot of imperfections…in a good way). Anyway, as you mention, the other options are just a LOT of money. I was planning to refinish the floors in this house and MAYBE put tile in the bathroom, not replace an entire floor of flooring. I’ve already had to expand the budget a couple times from other unforeseen things, so throwing 5-7K at a floor kind of makes me want to puke!

  115. We have sealed wood flooring in our kitchen and living areas, and have had a few large scale spills over the years (think broken fishtanks, left-on taps, etc). Even though the floor was sealed, the water still somehow caused swelling and buckling of the wood to such an extent that we had to replace large sections of the floor. We also have to have it refinished/recoated regularly because its softwood and damages easily, and that’s a huge cost and huge pain.

    I’d be careful with the bathroom.

  116. Two rooms in our (newish) house are over an unheated crawlspace and they are currently freezing! You might consider “encapsulating” the crawlspace/unheated area before you put the flooring down. It will be much, much cheaper. We’re going to have ours done in a month or so, but our contractor will have to remove some of our cinder blocks in order to pass the insulation panels into the space.

  117. Like you need another opinion on this…

    We ripped up the linoleum in our 1931 kitchen and refinished the original pine subfloor. It looks CRAZY (like, our contracted called us and said “this looks crazy”) but in a good way. However, there are tonnnns of water stains near where the old sink was located. Granted this floor had been there, hidden, for 83 years, but water does cause stains and they aren’t always pretty. I tend to think that our floor looks like an old farmhouse (which is funny cuz it’s a Brooklyn coop, really), but I think most people would turn up their noses at the rather extreme patina. Wish I could attach a picture.

    • You can always email me one! :)

      See, that sounds pretty nice to me!! Water stains definitely happen, but it seems easy enough to avoid if the wood is sealed properly. My guess is that yours wasn’t, and then covered up, and water was allowed to sit…that will definitely cause a stain, for sure! But I don’t think it’s a given if the floor is sealed well from the beginning and maintained, you know?

  118. Lots of bathrooms here in New Orleans with wide pine floors. Some people paint them, others just poly the heck out of them. As long as there is good ventilation, it shouldn’t be an issue.
    I have also seen a few renovation here that incorporate new tile and the older floors. They install a “tile bath mat” under and around the claw foot tub and then use the pine in the remaining area. It looks pretty spiffy.

    • +1 for painting if you do keep the wood in the bathroom, with a marine varnish.

    • Huh! I can actually see that looking good, even though it would never occur to me to do!

  119. I haven’t read every comment here and maybe you’ve had enough, buuut… it seems like the people who have *lived with* wood floors in their bathrooms liked them and the nay-sayers are just speculating “Oh no — I wouldn’t like that!”

    So here’s one more pitch from someone who has *lived with* wood in our full bathroom — we had an 1890 Victorian cottage. When we bought the house, we ripped out the linoleum in there and found the same pine board subfloors that were throughout the rest of the house (like in your living room here) that we were going to refinish. We said, “Well, let’s just test them out and see how it works — we can add tile later if we hate this.” Never hated it. Never added tile. Never had a problem when it came time to sell the house, 10 years later.

    Therefore, I would recommend going with the easiest-to-change-later option, which is to keep the wood floors. If a future buyer wants to tile, they can do that. And if they want radiant heat, they can do *that*. And if they like wood, well it’s there for them! It’s going to be easiest for them to do any of those things with the current wood situation to start with.

    In the grand scheme of things, replacing the floor in one bathroom shouldn’t be a total deal-breaker for homeownership — people are always going to want to change *something* (even in your perfect, beautiful cottage!)

    • Kelly, I agree with you 100%! Let the buyer add it if they want it.
      Whose to say the buyer would like your choice of tile- strange I KNOW but it could happen ;)
      I have lived in places with wood floors in the bathroom and it was fine. I would never leave water on the floor no matter what type of floor it is.
      To the people that stated tile would prevent leaks and ceiling damage to the floor below, in our case that wasn’t true. In one home and in our apartment building now the baths had tile floors and when there was an overflowing toilet or showers without having the curtain inside the tub there was ceiling damage to the space below.
      When my parents were selling their old home (themselves) my dad would walk people through and talk about the amazing woodwork, hardwood floors, the pine trees bordering the yard that were the original owners Christmas trees that they planted each year… well the buyers cut down all the trees, painted the woodwork deep forest green, carpeted and tiled over the hardwood floors. What you love the buyer may not.

    • I like the way you think, Kelly! Definitely noticed a divide between those who have lived with wood floors vs. those who haven’t! If nothing else, it’s been really interesting to me…even if I feel more indecisive than ever! :)

      And yes…things can be changed. Pretty easily. I just want to get it right!

  120. We just installed wide plank pine in our home this past summer. My husband and father did the install and then my husband handled the finishing. He first applied lye on the floors in order to get rid of that unattractive yellow. Then he oiled the floors with Woca colored oil in white. We LOVE the finish of our floors. Being pine they do ding and dent however it is hardly noticeable unless you get down on eye level because the floors are not shiny. I was sold on the product, after a little research, when I discovered it was used at the St. Louis Art Museum, which I can only assume receives a lot more traffic then my living room :) I do have a complaint about our floors however… the shrinkage this winter. We did choose wide planks and knew that the shrinkage/ gaps would be more noticeable but I didn’t expect it to be this bad. There are several spots in different rooms of the house where the gaps are very wide. We are still trying to figure out what to do with these spots as they are a huge nuisance to keep clean (we have 2 little ones and a dog). Again though I am so pleased with the finish both in terms of appearance and durability!

    • Thank you for reviewing the pine for me, Kylee!! I’m glad to hear that you like it.

      I’m sure this isn’t news, but wood definitely reacts to temperature and moisture changes. If you installed in the summer, you installed when the wood was at its most expanded…and now it’s contracting! You can probably help it somewhat by upping the temperature in your home and introducing more moisture into the air, but unfortunately the gaps might just come with the territory. I think pine does expand and contract more than hardwoods just because it’s more porous. :/

  121. Well, it’s your house to re-do, and that’s really what matters. But, since you ask–no, a wood floor in the bathroom and the kitchen would not stop me from buying the house, especially if it kept the price of the house low.

    But, the floors would not last. The pine would be pulled up the minute I could afford it–I might replace it with bamboo if I couldn’t afford hardwood. If I went the bamboo route, I would probably put it also in the kitchen and perhaps powder room (as high-quality bamboo is tougher and somewhat water resistant); but if I did hardwood, I’d have tile in the kitchen and powder room (and a door between the kitchen and dining room). But, pine–no, that would go in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t even look at it as “flooring”–I would look at it as a “temporary floor covering.”

    What would put me off is if the pine were glued down so that it is hard to take out. If soft wood flooring is in the house, then it would have to be easily removable (click/interlocking with pad underneath) before I would buy the house. I would not buy something with a flooring like soft wood that is not durable and that is going to be murder to remove, particularly in a house whose ceilings are so low that I’d have to remove it or risk making the floor-to-ceiling gap too small.

    As long as it is easily reversible and doesn’t drive up costs, I think that any floor covering that suits your fancy would not be a deal-breaker for most people. However, I would be walking through thinking–“how much is it going to cost me to re-do all the floors?” As long as the cost of the re-do wasn’t impractical alongside the cost of the house–I’d buy it (but I’d bid lower). Now, heated tile in the bathroom–that would be something that would attract me rather than be neutral or repel me, and I’d pay more.

    But, if it’s cheaper–I think going neutral with something inexpensive and replaceable is probably fine.

    • “temporary floor covering”—ouch!! Haha. I swear this isn’t some novel idea…lots and lots of people around the world definitely consider this flooring!! But I get that it’s not for everyone, of course. Nothing is!

      Either way, it wouldn’t be glued down. Not necessary. It would be nailed down, though. Not the EASIEST thing to take out, but not hard, either.

  122. The pine looks great, but I think you (or your buyer) will regret spending money on it. For about $3.50/sf, maybe less, you can get real maple hardwood, pre-finished. Easy to install, durable, beautiful, same light color. I did it in my own house and love it.

    Re insulation, if you can go up a bit, you can float a floor over a layer of rigid foam – sheets of poly-iso can go down under the flooring. If not, at least think about good underlayment and air-sealing!

    There may be some financial support for insulation – Massachusetts has a the MassSave program the funds 75% of cost up to $2000, so I got my crawl space insulated for $400 out of pocket. Check out NYSERDA and see what the story is, maybe there’s a good answer?

    I think most folks are right on about tile in the bathroom, esp. in a home that’s destined for sale. I’d spring for radiant flooring – given what you’re saying about insulation, that floor will likely feel cold otherwise, and the cost to put it in will probably be offset when potential buyers see if as a perk or luxury detail.

    Good luck with it!

    • I was looking at maple, too, but cost is a big deal here. Honestly, if I don’t do this pine, I’d probably do one of the harder pines that are upstairs, which I think are in about the $3 range.

      Thank you for bringing up NYSERDA! I’m trying to get them out. :)

  123. Per the last post where I asked about the floors, I myself LOVE the idea of wood floors in a bathroom. I’m just going to leave this here, http://www.47parkavenue.co.uk/cant-buy-taste-class-either-dont/. I know its an ensuite, but I think it counts as a full bath since it has a shower too.

    I think if you seal the floors well enough and put in good ventilation then you won’t have a problem with the wood floors.

  124. Our only bathroom in the 1929 bungalow we remodeled has the original Douglas fir floors. I love the warmth and I never really thought about water damage until JUST NOW. We had a Swedish no wax finish put on when the floors were refinished and water just beads up. There has been no problems in the last 18 months since we had them done. I would love to have wood again in the bathroom the continuity with the rest of the flooring feels real nice. We live in Portland, OR so tile with radiant heat wouldn’t seal the deal but it might in New York!

  125. OH! One more thing! Insulation was the least sexy $12,000 we ever spent when we refinished our house- but not a day goes by that I don’t walk in the door and think: good god is it nice in here. If you can do the bottom floors or any of the top floor- do it. We had soy-based spray foam and the plumber and electrician said it was a dream to work with.

  126. For what it’s worth, I have soft white pine floors throughout the 1920’s kit house I rent in Austin (which reminds me a bit of your cottage). Yeah, they’re dented, but I love them — it’s not like it makes them any harder to clean, really, and I cannot imagine any other floor looking right in this house. Plus, the dents show age & that makes me happy.
    In the bathroom, though, I have tile. I grew up in a house with a wooden floor in the bathroom, and it was just the worst — you couldn’t ever really tell if the floor was clean, and then eventually it rotted, which was terrible. Although wood in the bath wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me, it would definitely bum me out.

  127. 1. I’m obcessed with this new posting frequency. Great work!!
    2. I vote running floors perpendicular to long views. Otherwise the view looks weirdly long and hallway-ish and the pieces against the wall are a bitch to top down if it isn’t super straight the whole way down.
    3. I’m super lazy and copying a comment from yesterday re: tile floors, in short I’m anti wood AND tile. Wood floors in a bathroom are too precious. You have to be careful with drips getting out of the shower, and have to pick up your bath mat every day or else the damp bath mat leaves a dark spot on the wood floor. This dedication to upkeep takes a certain kind of person. From last post comment:
    From a bad experience experience I’d recommend against tile. It will just crack when the house flexes and your grout will leak water and rot the floor unless you pull out the wood and do a double layer of concrete board… But then, transitions. I just used Marmoleum with a really removeable adhesive in a similar situation. Made from linseed, sheet good protects the wood from puddles, and someone could come back and refinish the wood down the road if they wanted. Rubber works too, and you might not even need adhesive :)

    • Thanks, Alli! If I tiled, I would definitely pull up this floor and put down probably both a new plywood subfloor and then cement board. Tiling right over a wood floor is a terrible plan all around!! Nobody should ever do that. :)

  128. I am stoked to see how many people have responded. So, all I’m going to tell you is that we installed tile that looks like a wood floor and installed Nuheat electric in-floor heating underneath. It is awsomesauce!!! I’m wishing you happy thoughts on your decision!!!

    • I forgot to say where… The tile is in our bathroom! Out kitchen has a wood floor. Stuff gets a little caught between the floorboards as the wood expands and contracts, but it isn’t a major issue.

    • Thank you, Allison! I’m stoked too, and overwhelmed!! Congrats on your floor—sounds so comfyyyyyyy!

  129. Since you’re redoing the entire house from stud from stud I would definitely tile and radiant the bathroom. Not that I know you, but I feel like when the house is completely done you might second-guess painting the floor and regret not having tiled it while everything was already getting torn out and changed. It would be a notable luxury that could help sway buyers so I would go for it!

  130. Although it wouldn’t be a deal breaker to have a wood floor in the upstairs bath, as a buyer I would consider a radiant heat floor to be a luxury upgrade. I chose hardwood throughout my house but I’m glad I went with tile in the bathrooms (the PR is hardwood) because I never have to worry about wet feet or a few splashes here and there but mainly because I find it so much easier to clean. In my daughter’s bathroom we used tile that looks like hardwood and it’s so low maintenance. I’m not sure you can find one that would be appropriate to the look and feel of your house but it would give you the best of both worlds with the look of hardwood but the ease of tile and still allow you to install the radiant heat.

    As for the pine floors, I am usually a dark floor person but in a small house I agree that that the light floors are the way to go. Dings and dents don’t bother me, I think it adds character.

    I really love how thoughtfully considered your design decisions have been and I know that whichever way you go this house is going to be amazing.

    • Thank you for your confidence, Jannean! Sometimes I’m not so sure… :)

      Totally hear everything you’re saying! Those wood-look tiles have come a long way in a recent years, but I still can’t really see myself putting them in an old house, you know? I guess I just feel like old tiles are generally pretty simple (hexagons, penny rounds, etc…) and are still made, so I’d be fine putting something like that in here. But then I think about ripping out this perfectly goof wood floor and my heart breaks a little!

      • I was going to mention in my post that I can really see hex or penny tiles looking best in there.
        You can never go wrong by sticking with the classics.

      • Yep, yep! Classic tiles for old houses is pretty much always the way to go in my book. It’s nice that so much of that stuff is still produced, still good-looking, and still cheap!! Honestly it makes me sort of sad when people blow big money on really *nice* tile that just doesn’t fit at all with this house it’s going in. There’s a time and a place for everything!

  131. Wood floors would absolutely not be a deal breaker to me because I grew up with them, so it’s just second nature for me to respect wood floors, which means not leaving puddles of water, wet bathmats or towels on them. I think many people who like old houses (your market) would either like or feel neutral about keeping the original wood floors, and the more opiniated folks who prefer tile would still understand the decision to keep them. So I don’t think you’ll alienate most buyers by keeping them.

    That said, the reason I grew up with the original wood in our 1880s colonial in New England is that those bathrooms hadn’t been gut renovated since… ever? If that house was being modernized today I would expect tile floors to be added. I’ve never seen a listing for a renovated house with wood bathroom floors around me, so I’d probably run the pack and use tile myself.

    • I think you’re right, Hannah—in a place like this where almost all the houses are old, I don’t think wood floors in bathrooms are uncommon at all…so maybe it’s not such a big deal.

  132. I would suggest looking beyond your readership for advice on this one. We are largely made up of people who are familiar with home renovation projects, so a few changes upon purchasing a house isn’t a big deal and is often a requirement. We don’t scare easy! However, for a freshly and fully completed flip the potential buyer might be completely different. I think calling a few realtors in your area and asking their advice on what buyers are looking for would help in making these decisions. Kitchens and bathrooms really do sell houses, so speaking with people who know the market can really help you here.

    Also, a few flooring installers wouldn’t hurt either. In scanning through your replies I see that many opinions are coming from areas with vastly different climates than you experience, and their advice might not apply.

    • You’re absolutely right, Diya! Although I’m sure realtors around here have seen it all…I feel like they’d just tell me that the bathroom needs to have a toilet and a door! But still worth asking. :)

  133. I put wood floors in the bathroom in the last house I renovated (for which the bathroom was a complete tear-out) and the house I live in now (full demolition and rebuild). I used a pine plank very similar to what you’re considering in the first (1910 craftsman) and a strand-woven bamboo in the second (modern tiny home). Ok, so the bamboo is really a grass and not a wood, but I loved them both. Both bathrooms are tiny, and the wood makes it feel cozy. I used a nice urethane (which I know you’re a pro at), and I thought the pine plank was perfect for the older house. Clean, and warm, but still had a hand-built feel. I’ve got two big, messy dogs who get a lot of baths and, well, there’s a lot of water and splashing. If the urethane is done well, there’s absolutely no reason this shouldn’t be as water-protected as any other flooring.

    I’ve got a nice radiant heater in the bathroom, which warms up the floor (and any stylish textiles on said floor) so nicely. This is *way* cheaper and easier than radiant flooring and I like it better.

    So, if I was looking at your house (which I do, obsessively, every time you post!), the wood floors in the bathroom would be a big plus.

  134. I would prefer tile in a bathroom with a shower/tub. However, if the overall space feels cohesive from room-to-room, and floor-to-floor of this house (which it will), no one is going to notice the bathroom floor on the walk through because they will be distracted by the overall awesomeness. Maybe just paint it (like others mentioned above), then stencil a cool pattern, and seal it. It will look rich without all the added cost. I don’t think it will detract from the resale value at all.

  135. Absolutely no one will object to a tiled bathroom floor. Some will object to wood. Since this is a for-profit project, why limit your prospects?

    • Part of me knows that’s probably true, Holland! I guess because…I’m a jerk? Haha. But really, the existing floor really is very nice, and removing it would be both a pain in the butt and just sort of sad and wasteful, particularly since it’s one of the few remaining things left from before the whole inside got gutted and rebuilt. There’s also the $ thing…a new floor in here is probably a $1000-$1500 job all in, and maybe it’s not worth that for resale? Particularly if the person wouldn’t care? It’s tough to weigh!

      • Oh wow, $1-1.5K for the new floor?!? If that’s the price tag, I wholly agree with keeping the existing boards. I had painted wood floors in portions of a former house and they looked great — though the paint did chip away faster than expected. However, that can be a look in a cottage.

      • Yeah, that’s the thing! These things that sound pretty cheap are actually never that cheap. EVEN if I was able to swing tile for about $500 (which I think maybe be low-balling), there’d still be the new subfloor, the screws, two different types of thinset, underlayment, radiant heating (which I REALLY think would be a mistake to not just do if I’m tiling anyway…I mean really, it’s a few hundred bucks, and to not do it just seems like a wasted opportunity…), a couple of tools, grout, grout sealer, lots of time…it’s not such a small thing. But then there’s the part of my brain that says, well, if somebody wants to pay 150K for this house but lowballs the offer because of something as dumb (and, in the scheme of things, not THAT expensive) like a bathroom wood floor…well…maybe I’d be stupid NOT to just spend the money. There’s no right answer!

  136. I love the knotty pine you’ve chosen as a potential for the floor. It’s bright and clean and a little rustic, seems perfect. And with some polyurethane coating (I imagine it a little glossy, but barely) in the bathroom, I’d just pick out some really decadent (in softness and size, not necessarily style) bathmats.

  137. I would go tile but skip the heating.
    I don’t think that wood floors in the bathroom would be a problem in everyday use, even with a kid. There are sealants for that and stuff. But the problem with wood appears when there’s a leak or some other kind of water-related disaster. Think about it – you’re selling this house after you renovate, right? Somebody is going to spend a lot of money to buy it, probably get in debt for that. Do they want to think about the possibility of having to repair the floor soon? No, they want to believe that once they buy the house and some furniture, they won’t have to spend any more. Preferably ever. Wood in the bathroom wouldn’t be a dealbreaker to me, but it would make me think harder about buying this house (which otherwise I love already) and maybe try to bring the price down so I can factor in the tile floor I would put in anyway. And I don’t even like tile.

    As Holland VanDieren said – noone will object to tiled floor but some might object to wood floor. No brainer. And besides, if you choose the tile yourself there’s less possibility that someone will rip it up to put some terrible 90s-style, yellow-and-blue tiles, like the ones I have in my bathroom. They have tiny houses and suns printed on them. Save the world. Put in some classic tile in there.

    As for the floor heating – my parents have it in their bathroom. In the last 10 years they used it only once and only to show it to some guests. The problem with floor heating is that it’s not fast. So you either leave the bathroom anyway before the floor gets warm, or you have to have it turned on all the time, which is frankly not very cost-effective. It’s cheaper to buy a nice matt.

  138. Daniel, have you seen a similar discussion on little green notebook? She talks about wood in kitchens along with a slew of pictures with transitions.
    http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2015/01/using-and-not-using-wood-flooring-in.html

    In my parents half bath there is painted wood and linoleum in the main bathroom. They love the painted wood! It has held up perfectly. Although they have been discussing tile for YEARS in the main bath. I don’t think they ever thought of wood because old homes mean occasional surprises (like fun leaks) or trying to shower (yourself or squirmy dogs) in a cast iron claw foot tub!

    • Ha, I don’t know if I can read MORE comment debating over wood floors!! There might be such a thing as overload!!

  139. Daniel, I’ve read this blog for a long time (I think I started reading about the time you had to demo your dining room ceiling or maybe around the time you took out that ugly vestibule in your front hallway . . .anyway). This is my first post. Love, love love your writing and enthusiasm.
    Definitely agree that you should put down new flooring throughout the first floor of your cottage. Makes the spaces feel connected and just will look better. With that said, I’m not sure I’d put wood flooring in a bathroom. The usual concerns about water damage hold here and if I were in the market for a home (and I’m the demographic: middle aged woman looking to downsize) I think I’d want tile. Can you find a tile that would be true to the period of the cottage?
    Dorothy

    • Thanks, Dorothy! If the debate were really between putting wood in the bathroom vs. tile, it’d be more of a no-brainer (tile!), but the fact is that the wood floor is already there, it’s old, and I have every reason to think it would look pretty amazing after getting refinished…so either spend a hundred bucks or so refinishing and sealing it, or $1,000-$1,500 ripping it out, sending parts of it to a landfill, buying and installing all new stuff, a few days of my time…it adds up! But yes—there are lots of tile options that would be absolutely fine and, honestly, very cute in here. I’m just not convinced that I need it, especially after all these comments from people who have lived with wood in bathrooms and liked it!

  140. the perfect solution to this debate, porcelain that looks like wood. (Budget be damned).
    http://www.archiproducts.com/en/news/43624/blendart-fascinating-wood-grain-in-a-new-version.html

    • Thanks, Jeffrey! A few people have suggested tiles that look like wood, too. They’ve definitely come a long way with how they look, but I guess I just feel like there are so many nice tiles that look like tiles that I’d rather just have regular tiles! It’s simple to find tiles that are appropriate to older homes, so I’d definitely be more inclined to do that.

  141. I haven’t read through all the posts above, but has anyone mentioned how delicate pine floors are, especially if you have dogs? Ours looked like a complete disaster after just 18 months with dogs. I mean pine floors are cheap so you can replace them every 4 or 5 years, but for 4 of those years they are going to look nasty.

    Oak is much more durable, and some of the engineered wood products look great and are not horribly expensive.

    • Ha! LOTS AND LOTS of people have mentioned it, don’t worry!! It’s given me lots to think about!

  142. I have the original oak flooring in my 1925 bungalow in the kitchen. It was also in the bathroom but a previous owner did a heinous tile cover-up. (Pseudo marble = beige smears on white tiles, so the floor always looks dirty. Genius.) I have no problem with it in the kitchen despite being (ahem) a pretty bad housekeeper. In similar houses in the ‘hood that have had the wood in the bathrooms tiled over in the meantime it was usually because the toilets leaked, not from splash damage. I also have a cat with a serious water bowl splash obsession…I made a vinyl-coated fabric mat for the floor (and walls!) around her food spot and that works fine.

  143. Another tuppenceworth from another country…

    I totally understand the pain of going round in circles trying to make the best decision for a home that is not ‘yours’ and requires a commercial head but which you want to restore with integrity. It’s a tough call.

    So here’s my advice: when you’re on a limited budget you have to really think about where that budget would be best spent. And you’re currently thinking about spending almost the same amount on a single upstairs bathroom floor as on the whole of the downstairs floor. If your downstairs floor wears and weathers in the way that you hope then that isn’t necessarily going to be a problem. But, and it’s a pretty big but, if instead of getting a nice worn patina the downstairs floor splinters and becomes unusable, then you’re going to regret it if some part of the budget could have been used to get a floor that worked better.

    So I think the first thing to do is get those samples of the pine for the downstairs floor – oil/varnish them, and then bash the shit out of them and see how they hold out! If they work as you hoped, then all is good and you have that $1,000 to play with when it comes to the bathroom floor upstairs. And you can just go with whichever option you prefer up there. If they just aren’t going to stand up to daily wear and tear then take that $1,000 from the bathroom floor budget, use that to up your downstairs floor budget to something a bit tougher (does that increase it enough to get you to the reclaimed option?), and do the affordable option upstairs. It will still look beautiful, it will still work well (I’ve also lived with wooden bathroom floors and it’s been fine), and as others have already said, if someone doesn’t like it it’s easy to tile on top of.

    • Thanks, Ali! This is pretty much exactly what I’m doing. I ordered a sample today and I’ll do some experimenting. I don’t want something that feels temporary at all. Nixing the bathroom definitely doesn’t get us into the reclaimed wood territory, but it does get me into the more conventional oak/maple realm.

  144. I vote for tile in the bathroom and I think a simple hex tile would look really good. Wood flooring in wet spaces just creeps me out and I would definitely consider that when buying a house.

    Furthermore, since this house won’t be purchased as a fixer-upper, your potential buyers most likely won’t be in the market for a house that needs repairs/renovations.

    As far as wood flooring overages, my husband and I have done several flooring projects in our own home and we’ve always stuck with 10% overage and have never had any issues. That seems to be the norm from whom I’ve personally asked so that could save a little money also.

    • That’s helpful to know, Jaclyn—thanks! I’ve never installed a floor before but I read that somewhere. I don’t know where, haha.

  145. I think for this decision, I would go back to the beginning…why you bought the house.

    It’s my understanding that this cottage is primarily a financial investment and that ideally you’d like to flip it, but if that turns out to be undoable in a timely manner (ongoing tax and utility expenses) you’d settle for renting. (Luckily it’s one that happens to have the bonus of doing what you like: restoring a house and giving a little bit of love back to Kingston. ~_^ )

    Thoughts:
    1. What’s your housing market like? How hot is it? How long can you afford to hold onto it after it’s finished? What else is on the market in the price point that you will be competing against?
    2. Do you know any local realtors? Are you planning on listing with one? A realtor might be able to advise you as to what potential owners are looking for and what they don’t care about. I think, the wood vs. tile floor thing is probably regional dependent.
    3. Never count on renters caring for things the way you do. High potentiality for renting almost requires a tile floor, IMO.
    4. How many “cons” do you have in your house? A big one to me from a selling/buying standpoint is the rental property right next door. As a buyer, I would be skittish enough about that and wouldn’t need any more strikes against the house.
    5. If you CAN avoid tiling the floor (realtor doesn’t think it’s a big deal), do it. You are way too far from the finish line. There will undoubtedly be more unexpected costs

    • Thanks for this, Mary B. I guess going back to the beginning…yes it was a financial investment, but it was also an investment in my neighborhood, in Kingston, and a desire to restore this house…even when it might mean doing an abnormal/unpopular thing like restoring old windows instead of replacing them or using materials that people might not expect to see in a new renovation. So it’s tough! I guess I see the bathroom floors as part of that…I could rip them out and replace them with a nice, period-appropriate tile, which would look really good…but in all honesty I’d rather see these old floors restored and used.

      Anyway, I don’t know the answers to a lot of your questions! I need to talk to my realtor about the market. It’s picked up, but I definitely wouldn’t describe it as “hot.” It’s very hard to look at this house alongside comps because there really isn’t anything like it around, honestly! Everything is either huge, or not near the area, or needs a ton of work. It’s very hard to say where it should/will be listed…which I know sounds dumb considering I need to make my money back, but I think I’m still definitely in the zone where I can verrrrry safely break even and should make a nice profit, but yeah…I don’t know yet.

      Also—YES. I am far from the finish line. There is still a LOT to go and MANY ways I can blow my budget (more), and I’m very hesitant to add another unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  146. I think you’re over-thinking it, Daniel. You’re too close to it. Step back. You’re looking for a buyer who wants a 2 bed, 1.5 bath. That’s a niche market. You want to cater to your end user which I respect, but dealbreakers tend to be bigger than a bathroom floor. Dealbreakers are things like, “I don’t want to live in this school district/location” or “We need another bedroom” or “I don’t want an old house because old houses tend to have maintenance problems.”

    Now step forward. You’ve already incurred overages where you didn’t expect, and will likely incur further overages. Don’t create costly problems that only exist in your brain (because you’re too close to it), because you need to save money for problems that sincerely do exist and are blatantly obvious (like a hole in the middle of your kitchen). If the floors are salvageable and consistent throughout the second floor, it’s enough. Aesthetically, it’s not a bad idea to have consistent floors. It might make the space look bigger, which is going to help.

    In my opinion, you were right in your vein of thinking that if flooring is an issue, it’s something they might budget for separately. It will also allow them to adjust to their respective taste. Don’t put that on your dollar.

    • I want to hug you, Casey! I try to keep this in mind all the time, but I do need reminders every now and then. This house will ABSOLUTELY not appeal to everybody. I will almost certainly not appeal to a lot of people. It’s a quirky place. I love it, and I believe in my heart that somebody (or maybe more than one somebody) will see what I see and want to live here, but ultimately my only allegiances here are to this house and to my budget, not an imaginary person who doesn’t exist yet. And yes…I don’t need more strains on the budget. That is absolutely correct.

      • It’s so tough. Like you said, a small upgrade here and using the better materials there add up. I certainly couldn’t do it but I’m cheering you on emphatically!

  147. After reading most of the comments what seems to make sense is keeping the wood floors in the bathroom, I would not be that concern with a leaking toilet since you seem too choose well your electrician, plumber, Edwin! Hex tiles in the bathroom would definitely add charm but I think wood floor have a lot of charm and your sink is so charming already, this bathroom would be killer with wood floor. A majority of people who have wood floor in their bathroom (even the one with kids) seem to love them. I don’t think it would be an obstacle to selling this beautifull cottage. Also, I love dents and all in wood floor but the comment about white pine being prone to splinter is kind of scary. Maybe save the 1000$ on the bathroom floor and invest in a first floor that will last. Or maybe do a plywood floor, if I remember right you helped Anna and Evan do their kitchen flloor in plywood. You could have the crew at Lowe’s cut the sheet to save time and you could either white-whash or paint the floor. Anyway, good luck with decisions!!!

    • This is exactly what I was thinking. In terms of where you’d get the biggest return on investment, the whole downstairs looking great (by using a harder wood or bamboo that won’t dent) seems like a bigger deal than the flooring in the upstairs bathroom.

    • I considered doing the plywood floor, but I don’t think it’s right here, unfortunately! I don’t want to paint the floor (I just think it would turn off prospective buyers) and I think it would look too contemporary for this house left unpainted. It’s actually around the same price as the pine flooring I linked to, so I’m anxious to review the quality of that before making any big choices. :)

  148. I have wood floors in my only full bathroom. They are ten years old and show a lot of damage, most of which was already there when we bought the house 3 years ago. (The previous owner had 3 teenagers, and I have 3 small kids.) I’d never do a wood floor in a full bath again. When we renovated our powder room the original wood floor was underneath 3 layers of vinyl. It was so rotten around the toilet, which we discovered had a very small leak, that the floor was soft and the whole thing ripped out and replaced with a new subfloor and tiles. My kitchen also has wood floors, and that I’m mostly okay with. The house was built in 1913 and the wood looks better than I imagine tile would, though it is not original. If I ever purchase another house, wood floors in the bathroom won’t be a deal breaker, but I would be negotiating a lower price.

    On another note, you might want to consider the spray foam insulation (or any kind) for under your front room. We noticed a huge difference in our kitchen floors when we insulated the basement ceiling below.

    Looks great so far. Good luck with everything!

    • Yikes, Janice! Good to know. Although I DO wonder if your experience with the wood floor has more to do with the maintenance (either from the previous owners or from being covered, or both…) of it than the simple fact that it’s wood. Wood that’s not maintained and regularly exposed to water will certainly rot…especially under layers of vinyl, any moisture gets trapped and has nowhere to go! Anyway, I’m sire none of that is news…I just think the situation might be a bit different here.

      • I think it’s important for us (your readers) to remember that you are not “doing” a wood floor in the bathroom, it’s already there. I’ve never had a bathroom with a wood floor, but if that was what was already in my current house it would never have prevented me from buying it. Wood is warm both literally & aesthetically.
        I agree that you don’t have to appeal to the masses when considering what to do to make this house attractive. Many people insist on wall-to-wall carpet, for God’s sake. Probably half the people reading this blog’d want to pitch their own house & purchase this cottage if it was feasible. You’ll probably sell to friends who are done with Brooklyn. Your taste & instincts are brilliant.
        BTW, I have to admire your tenacity with the rehabbing. I had a sleepless night last night after discovering the replacement tiles for my downstairs bathroom were a little more “butter-y” than the lemony originals. Yellow tile would not be my first choice for a new bath, but it really suits the character of this 1930’s bungalow. I fortunately found 100 of the lemony ones (never used) this afternoon @ my local reuse for all of $10. All is right with the world!!
        Respecting the cottage for what it is will not steer you wrong.

      • Chris, will you come to Kingston and hold my hand while I fret about things??

        I really appreciate everything you’re saying here! I think the fact that there’s already a perfectly good wood floor in the bathroom got a little lost in translation here (oops!) but yes, that definitely changes things. I wouldn’t even really be debating this at all if the floor wasn’t there. Anyway, I appreciate the kind compliments very much! I hope the end product deserves all the kind words!!

        And YAY, YOU for finding matching tiles!! I know how hard that can be, and I’ve only ever really done it with white 4x4s (sounds easy, right?? NOPE.). I think it’s great that you’re respecting the character of your vintage bathroom…I get so sad when I see great yellow/pink/blue bathrooms scrapped for something more “on trend.” Your house will thank you! :)

  149. Just one more follow up: there are some absolutely beautiful linoleums out there, extremely cheap, and real linoleum is a green material. My friend has a gorgeous old Victorian house, did all linoleum in the baths, they came out absolutely beautiful and much easier to clean than tile, etc. Also period-specific for these cottages in which linoleum was considered state-of-the-art material.

  150. OK, I was really curious about this issue as I loved both ideas, but given that you want to sell it, I’d say go with tile since enough people were against it that you might have trouble selling if the buyers are similarly divided….I think whatever you do will be beautiful and elegant, but if the aim is to resell, then maybe be on the safe side? Also, I totally would do a little happy dance for a heated floor in the bath…. sounds so luxe!

  151. I’ve never lived in a house that has hardwood in a bathroom. If I were looking to buy a house, I don’t think having hardwood in the bathroom would keep me from purchasing it, because I love hardwood. I just installed new porcelain tile in my home’s bathroom and had radiant heat installed as well and I love it! I think since it’s a house that you’re planning on selling instead of living in, I would maybe skip the extra cost of putting in tile and radiant heat. I’m sure whatever you decide will look great.

  152. Property Brothers! In a episode they used hardwood for a bathroom. I don’t remember what they sealed it with but it was some kind of marine-sealant. Like the stuff they use for boats. Maybe you should check it out, Property Brothers is on Netflix now!

  153. Hi Daniel,
    Another thought: I clicked on your picture of the bathroom with the brass fixtures/pipes (your prior post) and looked at the pictures of the house that had this bathroom. It looks like they used a dark stain/paint?? with some sort of gloss finish in that bathroom, on the stair treads and on the kitchen floor. It sort of unified the house in a nice way. So, you may want to think along those lines instead of tile/no tile.

    Good luck. It has been so interesting to read these ideas/comments. I have thought about your house almost as much as mine.

    • Yes, paint is definitely an option! Although I gotta say, at THAT point I’d probably opt to refinish, seal, and let a buyer decide if they’d like to paint. No sense doing it if they’d rather have the natural wood, and it’s a one day, $50 job!

  154. It is definitely the right idea to do the whole first floor in one level of wood, and I think running the planks front to back is also right. Don’t even consider breaking that up by tiling the kitchen – wood is great in kitchens. Yes, some people hate them, but they aren’t your buyers – the house will look better with the first floor all wood, and your buyer is someone who wants an old house that looks good, not tacky. (Yes, I would think a tile kitchen in here would look tacky.)

    I’m really drawn to the slightly more expensive southern yellow pine samples that pop up on the side of the link to the lumber you posted. Yellow pine really reflects the light and makes a place look light – the photos of the white pine on the link don’t do that. (I really don’t understand the people who are giving you advice about how to not have pine yellow – I think it looks great yellow. Just like I liked the yellowed 100+ year old oak parquet I lived with all over Brooklyn.) I had yellow pine (was it heart of pine?) in my last place (not NYC), and it was gorgeous. It was 100 years old. It reflected the sunlight beautifully. Yes, it dented when I dropped things on it. But my furniture didn’t dent it. Then again, I did put a rug under my dining table and chairs – the chairs would have dented it for sure. It was, I think finished with one of these penetrating oil finishes I have been reading about on renovation blogs – it just did not act like the polyurethane I’ve always lived with – it didn’t crack around the small dents, it wasn’t quite as glossy feeling, and the wood did not look like it was covered with plastic – I would definitely look into the penetrating oil sealants here rather than poly – apparently, it can be spot applied to fix later problems, with no problem, which you can’t do with poly. And it may make the wood harder and more dent resistant – check that out – do they make that claim? I don’t know if my pine was hard enough for me because it was 100 years old, or because the sealant the made it harder. It was lovely, and despite the risk of adding dents, I would consider installing it in a new place – (but then I don’t have kids or dogs and my friends don’t wear high heels when they come over.) However, I think that yellow pine looks much better than the white pine you linked to – that white pine looks more rustic, like for a log cabin or a writing shed. The yellow pine would also carry through to being similar to your top floor flooring – I also don’t like it when I see different flooring on different levels, as someone above noted. If the yellow pine was harder, that would be a plus – I haven’t looked them up on the hardness index for hardwoods (I would though, and I’d also buy a piece of any pine I was considering using and see how it reacted to being beaten up a little – I’d drop things on it, etc., after applying oil sealers, before I bought it.)

    As to the bath, I prefer tile. Very small tile, with lots of grout that small tiles entail. Why? Because it is a natural non-slip surface – the grout makes it so. I hate larger tiles in bathrooms – way too slippery. (And don’t go for tile that looks like wood – that only belongs in basements, if anywhere.) You could do hex, or you could do something cheaper – just make sure it is small if you tile. I had small white squares – like an inch or less – in a new renovation, and really white small rectangles, laid two this way and two that way in a bathroom last renovated in the 40s (though that floor could have been 100 years old, I don’t know if they changed the floor in the 40s), and I liked them both. Plain white is good for the floor – you don’t need to go all fancy with patterns in a cute small not-ornate house like this – classic less-is-more goes a long way. Yes, those bathroom floors were cold. One bathroom was so tiny that it had no radiator, and radiant heating in the floor would have been nice there! I didn’t find the floor cold in the one with a small radiator.

    So, while I prefer tile in a bath, were I renovating this place, and had gorgeous wood floors there already, and was trying to be budget-conscious, I would definitely wonder, like you, if I shouldn’t just keep the wood floors. I suggest you trust your own aesthetic. I think you (and the rest of us who obsess about this stuff) make better choices when we stop worrying about what the potential buyer wants. (I don’t love the neutral color you chose for the exterior of this house – I think this cute cottage demanded color. Was that decision what you liked, or what you thought your potential market would like? I suspect the latter.) If you can do the wood in a way that looks great to you, go for it. Someone who is buying this place because they want a restored little old house will like it. You don’t have to be looking to please the theoretical buyer – you can’t anyway, they aren’t all the same. So, if you decide to keep the wood, finish it like the rest of the wood. Maybe with more coats of whatever you use. Don’t paint it or stencil it (a buyer can do that if they want.) You can point out that it is easier to clean (the grout between small tiles does really need to be scrubbed when it is dirty, whatever color it is, and that is a pain.) Someone who hates wood in the bath can easily lay another floor on top. What I might do, and what you might consider, if I didn’t want to wipe up after my wet feet on wood (I don’t like to, which is one reason I prefer tile), or if I felt that the wood was too slippery under my wet feet (it might be, for me, I don’t know) – would be to install modern linoleum over the wood. It looks gorgeous, is warm underfoot, easy to clean, and protects the wood, and is classic in old houses. I have seen it in modern kitchen renovations and love it (haven’t seen it in a bath, but am guessing it would have the same effect on me.) Someone who hated it could remove it and go for wood underneath. Or, you could offer to have it done if you were selling to someone for whom the wood was a deal breaker. I figure it has got to be a lot cheaper than tiling. If you go for Marmoleum, go for a bright, bold color. Though I do think small tiles would be classic with that sink, I think a bold colored lino would loo great, too. And white subway tiles 3/4 of the way up the wall. Maybe with black curved tiles for the top edge.

    • Thank you, NestFan (I like your name, btw…;P)! I think you’re spot-on with…everything? Let’s see…

      1. I THINK I could even pull off tiling the kitchen without it looking bad, but yeah…I don’t want to. And I’m not going to. Haha.
      2. The yellow pine and heart of pine is nice, yes, and I think is harder than the other stuff. It’s an option! I think that’s what is upstairs so it might even be a better option, honestly…I just liked the price of the white pine and the width. But I agree with the yellow-factor, actually…NORMALLY I’m not a fan of yellow/orangey woods but for this house, I wouldn’t mind getting a more amber tone out of the wood. It would look older and more appropriate than the whitewash/neutral look, even though I LOVE that for different places.
      3. Yep, small tiles are almost always best for old houses! I’d probably do a 2″ hex in here…something like that. Cheap, classic, simple. For sure.
      4. You’re right, you’re right. I need to stop worrying a bout a buyer that doesn’t exist yet! They’ll come. And they’ll like it or they won’t.
      5. I think you’ll like the exterior more when it’s done! I agree that it was looking flat right after it was painted, but I think once landscaping goes in and accents like the door and windows and stuff get painted, I think the grey will be good. If I were to do it again, I might go a bit darker, but I’m still very happy with it overall.
      6. I don’t think I would put linoleum over this floor…I agree that it can be very nice, but I suspect buyers would be more turned off by that than they would by the wood to begin with, and it would cost me more money than refinishing this floor, you know? But it’s a good suggestion!

  155. FYI – comparative hardness of wood species:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test

    • Oh, cool! So it looks like the yellow pine is about twice as hard as the white pine. Interestingggggg. Thank you!!

    • Wow! I love this link. I also liked seeing how hard the carbonized bamboo is, sincee I just put some in a tiny half-bath. Yay!

  156. Could you do a clever repair upstairs WITH the mini hex tiles? I mean in those spots that need a little love and some boards replaced fill it in with cute hex tiles? Like the Japanese process of fixing broken china ‘kintsukuroi’ with gold….you could fill the missing floor boards with cute marble tile or something? Like an adorable patch job that is purposeful and economical? crazy? cute? Like the tinier version of this: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/tile-trends-bold-hexagon-tiles-for-kitchens-baths-more-204765

    • I’ve actually seen that kind of thing executed really beautifully, but I’m not sure I’d be daring enough to do it in a house I’m trying to sell!! Actually, the bedroom floors are the ones that need a lot of patching…this floor is actually in great shape!! Part of why the idea of ripping it up is so sad…

  157. There are some interesting reclaimed wood options out there…
    take a ride down to PA to pick up this! http://etsy.me/1BvnJaY (this breaks out to $2.15 plus probably a fair amount of labor)
    also, I’ve seen where reclaimed wood floor people have sales of certain amounts and since your space is small enough, you might find something good– ex/ http://www.thewoodscompany.com/specials (they have an oak option for $2.50 sq. ft)

  158. I’m on Team Wood Floor. Just seal it well and call it done. I’ve had wood in my bathroom for years. It is great.

  159. Add me to team wood floor. As a parent of two mess machines, water/mess goes everywhere- not just the bathroom, and we’ve had no issues.

    Also, very off topic – but are you going to get the opportunity to stage this house? I’d love to see it with furniture in it! ***coughwestelmletdanielborrowfurniturecoughcough***

    • Thanks, Amanda!

      I honestly don’t know if I’ll be staging the house or not!! I’ve been vaguely planning on it (by hoarding furniture, duh), and I kind of want to just BECAUSE, but maybe it won’t be necessary. There are actually a few people who are *already* interested in it (I don’t know why…it’s a mess right now!!) so maybe it’ll sell quick and without much effort beyond the renovation side of things.

  160. My vote is for tile. Classic black and white hex or oct or basket weave. We’re also considering doing white or yellow pine on our first floor. Question – will you stain and poly or waterlox with dark stain in first coat? I’ve been leaning towards the latter since the waterlox will patina over time. What was your plan for dark stain?

    • I don’t have a plan!! I think I’d like to use Osmo hard wax and no stain, if possible. But I’d need to do more research on what kind of staining technique would work best with the wax.

  161. I would definitely prefer all bathrooms and kitchens to have tile floors, because of the water thing. I respect that a lot of people like the look of wood in a kitchen, like a seamless look going from room to room, or they prefer to have wood everywhere for an historic look.

    However, I feel that tiling with ceramic or porcelain that *looks like wood* gets you both that historic look and meets the water resistance needs you’ll have in a wet area.

    More importantly to me, though? A kitchen and a bathroom is an opportunity to add some real style by using tile, and I think it would be a real shame to miss out by sticking too close to the idea of seamlessness or historic style. My opinion about building up a house with the goal of selling it is that you should never play it totally safe. You have to swing for the fences in terms of style, because people will snap up a house that looks like something they could NEVER do on their own, and yet there it is in their price range.

    That doesn’t mean going crazy and doing something bold, it just means that maybe on your main floor you lay down the fresh wide plank hardwood but you do your kitchen in a remarkable tile in a colour similar to the hardwood (something very blonde-ish) that’s beautiful and rustic (thus achieving both the historic + seamless aspects, while achieving the waterproof aspect of tile), and pair that with period appropriate cabinets that have some form of exquisite knobs.

    This Sarah Richardson mud room floor is kind of what I’m thinking of: blonde-ish tile that will blend and complement your new flooring, but isn’t “new looking”. The random pattern is perhaps too rustic for what you’re trying to achieve, but it’s the colour of the tile I’m mostly interested in here.
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/312859505338976150/

    This image of floor tile from Lowe’s has the sort of neutral-to-the-eye look that you might look for in your kitchen. Also: LOWE’S! Hellllooo sponsor.
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/325033298077591785/

    I want tile floors in bathrooms EVEN MORE than I want them in kitchens. When it comes to your upstairs, I would totally install a heated floor (for so many reasons!!) and use a really great tile. Something that will knock people’s socks off, make them say “this tile with that sink with that light fixture… I could never do this on my own, I have to buy this house.”

    • Another reason I hate tile in kitchens is due to aging:

      1. You lose the fat pads on the bottom of your feet as you age, so your feet hurt more standing in a kitchen than they did when you were younger.

      2. The disks between your vertebrae also age, so standing on tile in a kitchen also makes my back hurt now. (And I’m not elderly yet.)

      I don’t mind in the bathroom, because I don’t spend a lot of time standing on the floor in there. But I do spend time standing in the kitchen when cooking and cleaning up. Wood, cork, or linoleum over wood is all I can handle in a kitchen.

      • I feel like standing for long periods of time just inherently hurts, no matter what surface you’re on. I’ve heard that cork is very comfortable, but I’ve never seen an attractive cork floor so I don’t think the comfort factor is worth it. I’ve never enjoyed standing to cook at ALL, and I’ve worked in kitchen with a myriad of floors. (I’ve always assumed the fault was mine.) I’ve actually started cooking in comfortable shoes which makes my feet happy, but then my counters are too low! First world problems.

        I guess my position has always been “if your feet are going to grumble a bit, it might as well be over a really great floor”.

      • HA! I need that on a t-shirt. Or an apron. (when I have a really great floor, that is…right now I have the cheapest of the cheap black VCT and maybe “really great” is not quite how I would describe it, although it does the job…)

        On a side note, but since you brought it up…cork is so interesting to me. I know it’s super popular but I SWEAR I’ve never seen one that held up well to even a couple of years of mild use. It always looks like it’s coming up! But maybe this is a crazy bias based on a couple bad installs I’ve seen or something? I’m impressed by how much it’s taken off, I’ll say that!

      • Makes total sense! I’ve definitely heard that critique of tile in kitchens, too.

  162. I grew up with rather wide plank softwood pine floors, including in the bathroom. The house was built around 1915, so possibly still the older-growth stuff? (The main part of the house was very nice maple.)

    Regardless, I would NOT advise a soft pine floor. If you can make it harder or find a harder pine, great, but pine doesn’t dent or scratch like maple or oak–it is very soft and it takes very little force comparatively to damage it. This isn’t just “adding character” — in the case of our floors, this included areas with splintering, like into bare feet with some regularity (kids = not careful, previous foot splinters = careful, so…). Keep in mind that this was a well-maintained home, three owners total (including family that built it). If I lived there/owned it, I would refinish those floors (in a creative way to deal with splinters) because I’m anti-waste, pro-old-things, but purchasing new pine? Especially likely softer and even more prone to heavy damage? It would be only marginally better than engineered hardwoods in my mind.

    In the bathroom, there was some minor water damage around the toilet bowl, just from condensation. But not bad. Aside from areas prone to potential repeat exposure to water, it held up fine. There are probably ways to deal with that, though.

    P. S. Site is suuuuuuper laggy to the point of nearly unusuable for commenting for me.

    • Thank you, Julia!

      Is the site just laggy for commenting, or loading, or…if you can be more specific about what’s going on, I might be able to address it! I’m not sure why that would be happening.

  163. We have a newer home (20+ years) and when we had to replace the floors a few years back, we put hardwood in the living, dining, kitchen, and hallway, tile in the bathrooms and laundry and carpeting in the bedrooms. In the master bath, we put in radiant heating in the area adjacent to the tub and sinks–it was literally an electric-blanket type of deal that did not require any additional outlets. BEST money we ever spent on anything, hands down. Highly recommended.

  164. I was totally in the wood in a the bathroom camp and then I had kids. The amount of water that gets splashed and dumped out of the tub during bath time would rot the floors. It wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, but it would be a concern.

    Our 100 year old house has one of those bare wood floors over a freezing crawl space. Even with wool rugs the floors are like ice in the winter (and this is in Virginia!). I like your new floor solution.

  165. Well, I wouldn’t choose a wood floor in the bathroom for practicality reasons, but it wouldn’t keep me from buying this house. (If I was looking to buy, and in this area, etc.) It seems like a reasonable place to save money, and would fit with the charming cottage look this place will have.

    Now unedited:
    I’m also getting weird lag whent yping outco mments – spacesi n themiddle of words,l ong pausebe fore i see letters. REALly strange.

    • That’s really odd, kj!! I’m sorry! Is it doing the same thing on any other websites, or in your email or something? Just wondering if it’s isolated to your computer or if there’s something buggy with my site. It’s not a problem for me and it doesn’t seem like anyone else is bringing it up…

  166. I lived in a house in Spain that had wood floors (totally counterintuitive, right?) and a wall-mount radiator/towel rack. It was AMAZING. The floor had an extra coat of sealant, I think, because water never soaked in. The wall radiator gave off amazing cozy heat, and I’d hang my damp towel on it — near instant drying! It flowed seamlessly with the rest of the wood in the house, which made me feel like I was in a spa. I loved it.

  167. I’ll also second (or 50th) the concern about the pine, though; pine is a softwood, and even dropping a plate on it could dent it. Have you thought of bamboo flooring? It’s much cheaper than hardwood, suuuuuuuper easy to install, and can be quite light-tinted (since you’re concerned about the rooms not reflecting enough light off of surfaces). My mom redid her entire living room in it, and it looks fabulous, while still being durable and dent-proof.

    • I have sort of thought about bamboo flooring. Maybe it’s time to check it out again, just in case, but to be totallllly honest…I can’t see myself putting it in an old house. New construction? ABSOLUTELY. Super modern renovation of an older structure? Sure. But I just feel like it’s doesn’t have the right vibe for here, unfortunately, as much as I like all the benefits of it.

  168. We have original 1890s pine (fir?) subfloors throughout our house in every room, so I want to put my two cents. They are damaged and imperfect but refinished they are beautiful. Three main points:
    *Floor on first floor should match floor on top floor.
    *It’s fine to use wood in a bathroom if you want to.
    *The new pine floor you are considering is too soft.
    Also, agree 100 percent you should use the same wood floor in the kitchen as elsewhere (not that that was ever a question). Water isn’t a problem (assuming you don’t let it sit). Denting and scratching is. Our 1890s pine/fir/whatever it is is very soft. We don’t wear shoes in the house, you can’t pull a chair up without scratching, and dropping anything on it causes a dent. The new pine you are considering is probably even softer, and merely walking on it will ruin it and any new finish. So unless you want to keep pink paper on the floor until the house is sold, I wouldn’t do it.
    .
    But if you are determined, be sure to order samples and stain and refinish them in the different ways you are considering to see if you like the look. I have my doubts new pine will look acceptable, but it’s easy enough to find out by testing. And anyway it won’t match the second floor, and I think that’s a big problem.
    .
    Some other things to know about finishing pine floors: If you go with poly, though it doesn’t sound like you will, use four coats of best-quality water-based satin poly OR use three coats of semi-gloss poly. Poly, wax, and stain all change the look and color of pine. It can turn out stripey orange/yellow/purple if not done correctly. So it’s very important to test first. Oh and the floor should be sealed first (though maybe this is only if you are staining). Actually, unless you already have experience refinishing floors, I’d hire someone else to do pine floors. Find someone experienced who will do it for $1 a square foot. With the cost of the rental and everything, it’s worth it. Whereas if you were going with oak, I’d say, sure do the refinishing yourself. Oak is much less temperamental.
    .
    We found some remilled salvage pine that perfectly matches our original floors for $2 a square yard at Build It Green. I have no idea if they are still doing this, because it’s difficult and there’s a lot of waste involved, but maybe (1) they could tell you something about it and (2) maybe you could find it elsewhere.
    .
    Good luck! Whatever you choose, I am sure it will be beautiful.

    • Totally hear what you’re screaming, cate!

      I’m admittedly a bit anxious about the mismatched flooring between the floors. It wouldn’t necessarily bother me (I mean, we have it in our house, but it’s subtle), but I can see how it would feel…not cohesive. If upstairs is yellow pine, maybe I should be looking at that for downstairs too and just upping my cost a little to accommodate. I am a bit nervous after all these comments that the white pine really is too soft…like beyond the nice bumps-and-bruises-and-patina soft. So I’m definitely considering more options! Sample time, here we go…

      That salvage pine you got is a STEAL. Nice. I’ll give them a call…it would be pretty cool to use something like that, just not sure how practical it would be and I worry it would cost more…but maybe not?

  169. I just want to point out that pine is a softwood, not a hardwood. And it’s really soft and vulnerable to damage. My friend’s pine floor was trashed by a woman wearing stilettos. It looked like someone used a small hammer all over the floor. For that reason, I just want to suggest that you use a very low gloss finish that won’t accentuate the divots and gouges that will accumulate over time. Radiant heat in the bathroom would be wonderful, but I would avoid slippery-when-wet tiling. How about Marmoleum? http://www.forbo.com/flooring/en-gl/products/linoleum/marmoleum-real/bftg77

  170. So many comments today!!! I did not read them all. Has the house lost the pet urine smell that it had when you bought it? Is it still around in the old floorboards? Anyway, I think both floors should be flat and strong. But then the top layer would be fine with me if it were durable and practical. A nice hardwood in the front room only and a plain but stylish linoleum in the dining room and kitchen and both baths. I’m sure you could make it look good.

    • I know, they just keep coming!!

      The urine smell DOES seem to be gone (pulling so much of the house out seems to have done the trick!) although I’ll admit that I’m still a bit concerned about the floors when the weather warms up. I’m not sure if the smell will return. HOPEFULLY sanding down the floors, cleaning the shit out of them with an enzyme cleaner, maybe a bunch of vinegar and lemon juice, letting it all air out…that kind of thing…will completely neutralize it. You really can’t smell it at all anymore, but I know low temperatures can do that. Fingers crossed, big time!

  171. Hey Daniel,
    I’m a newcomer to your blog (only found you about three weeks ago, but have gone through your entire archive within that time) and I love what you are doing! Both with the house and with the cottage!! I’m bummed out that I’m all caught up, but I guess that means I can’t procrastinate school work anymore. :P

    As to the bathroom floor, I would suggest two wood-look options if you decided to cover the wood. First, you could do vinyl plank strips – my friend’s parents put it into their basement and I actually thought they were hand-scraped wood floors! They have the texture of wood, they are super-thin, and I believe they can be put down over radiant floor heating systems. The second option I thought of is these: http://www.southcypress.com/Theme/Traditional-Wood-Look-Tile#.VMseqS6GN3l . Porcelain tiles that have a wood grain pattern on them might be a nice compromise between actual wood floors and tile floors. Also good for radiant heat.

    • The entire archive??! I feel suddenly compelled to apologize profusely and offer you hours of your life back!! Ha! I hope you enjoyed it!

      Anyway, thank you for the suggestions! Since this bathroom floor already has a very nice, old wood floor, I don’t think replacing it with laminate would be any kind of improvement—laminate generally reacts worse to water, I think, since the base is an MDF-type material that sucks up water like a sponge, so properly sealed hard wood should actually be much hardier. Anyway! A couple of people have brought up the wood-look tiles, and I personally don’t like them for old houses. There are just SO many great tile options out there that are inexpensive, appropriate to older homes, AND can easily read more “modern” if people want (think black penny rounds with black grout—classic but still feels fresh, you know?)…I guess I just don’t really understand this trend!

  172. Daniel,

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I just wanted to say something about the Cottage in general.

    Are you really going to sell it? Because you are putting so much effort into it, and the Fittings, and I have no doubt it will look amazing as well as being high quality (like everything you do).

    Whether a buyer, however, appreciates all that, is quite another matter. As you know, money and taste don’t automatically go hand in hand . . .

    I would say. you should seriously think about how much money you’re investing v. how much return you’ll get (I’m sure you’ve done your sums, but I’m talking about market potential here, and its volatile nature).

    Another thing you should seriously consider is keeping the cottage and letting it to holiday makers. For me, this seems a better Long-term prospect. You could do your own marketing and administration (and even your own cleaning!!) in order to keep the costs down at the beginning. You can always sell it in the future, if this doesn’t pan out the way you want.

    • Oh, believe me, I think about this everyday! And I don’t have a concrete answer. Maybe I should at this point—I don’t know. If the right buyer came along and wanted to pay top dollar for it, it would be one thing, but one thing I DO know is that I have to cover my costs, and I have to make a decent profit. Plain and simple. The market is indeed volatile and unpredictable and the neighborhood is, for some, a tough sell. So the way I see it is that all I can really do is my best—for the neighborhood, for Kingston, and for this house…and to me, that means making tough decisions, perhaps abnormal choices (oh hi, cast iron radiators!), and leaving behind a property that’s unique, distinctive…and maybe even, in a small way, sets a standard of what can be done even with the most far-gone looking houses in this community. It’s an investment, yes, but it’s a lot more than that, too. That’s why I cringe a little whenever this is described as “flipping,” because I know that’s what it is, but it’s also so far from my perception of what that means.

      And WOAH somebody slap me. Anyway. If the market is bad, I think an Airbnb is a real possibility…but that’s still a while off. :)

  173. So you’ve mostly replied to comments that praise wood in the bathroom…not hard to guess which way you’re leaning. Maybe you’ve already decided and just need people to confirm your decision????

    • Have I? There are over 300 comments on here at this point, and I feel like I’ve probably responded to about a third of them! I really am weighing all options…if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have written this post! Bear in mind that I don’t have experience with EITHER the pine I picked for the downstairs OR a wood floor in a full bathroom, so (as I said at the end of the post) I’m particularly interested in hearing from folks who have! Before I wrote this post, I was still feeling pretty sure about tiling the bathroom, but even DESPITE all the comments saying ABSOLUTELY, TILE…the ones from folks who actually like wood and have lived with it have me second-guessing, too. There’s a lot to weigh…what buyers probably want vs. what is completely functional…how much I’d spend on a tile floor vs. what my return on that floor would possibly be…how much more I want to strip out of this house vs. preserving what’s left of the original (or old, at least) materials…it’s a complicated issue! If anything, I think these comments have helped me feel (about the bathroom, at least), that no direction would be necessarily, objectively wrong. People like and prefer both things.

  174. Marmoleum isn’t terribly practical in a bathroom and it costs a fortune. If you are preparing the house for renters, then tile in the bathroom is the best approach. If the house will be for sale, wood is fine, if that’s what you think will look best.

  175. Hi Daniel! I LOVE your blog, but am not a huge commenter, and I’m sorry for that.
    My house dates from sometime around the 1880’s (pre indoor plumbing). I’m not sure what the wood floors are made of, but the style alternates wider boards with narrower boards. I bet you know what the term for that is, but I don’t! This is a tiny twin house in Pittsburgh, that was for many years a barber shop. (In a picture from the barber shop days there seems to be some sort of linoleum on top of the wood). The floors are definitely worn and a bit ‘rustic’, and I love them. I never have to worry that my dogs will damage the floors, since they have plenty of scratches already, and also my dogs are tiny.
    The wood floor is in in the whole house, including the bathroom, which has a claw foot tub that seems to be original – not to the house, but to the invention of indoor plumbing, so about 100 years old? Behind the tub, below the faucets, there’s a small amount of damaged wood. Otherwise, the floors have held up remarkably well the entire time,and the claw foot tub has not crashed into the kitchen below.
    I installed a circular shower curtain, and make sure it’s closed all the way behind the shower head, and I use a microfiber bath mat after the shower, but then hang it to dry on the side of the tub (rather than sitting damp on the wood floors all day).
    The bathroom also includes an old, covered over fireplace, just like the one you built! Al four rooms in the house have one, which is so cool!
    I’ll instagram my bathroom if you want to see (colleenthek) and let me know if you want more detailed pictures of the less glamorous parts.
    Good luck with whatever you choose, I can’t wait to follow along!

  176. I wish I could go back and add radiant heat under all our tiles. We renovated a Chicago bungalow and it has one of those typical slivers of an addition on the back without anything under it and the floors are terribly cold. Also, a wood floor in a bathroom would be fine as long as it’s sealed – think of a ship deck or a bar – you just need to get the right kind of sealer. Also, some woods are so dense they are practically impervious to water like Brazillian walnut (not that it’s the aesthetic you would want for the cottage) so you could do some quick research on how porous the species you would use is. Love the progress and SO incredibly jealous of that sink, always been my dream to get one.

  177. Daniel, I love your blog and reading these posts/comments feels like I’m in a master class for renovators. Learning so much! Floors: I lived in a house built in early 1900’s that had the original pine floors throughout and I loved them. The dings/scratches didn’t bother me one bit, but that being said, I agree with the earlier comment about the splintering. I felt like I was constantly catching my socks on a splinter (and occasionally a bare foot-ouch!) so that’s something to think about. As for tile vs wood in the bathroom, my vote is for tile simply because it’s so dang glamourous! It would look amazing with that sink you just scored, too. I’m sure whatever you decide it will be just perfect. :)

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I’m learning a lot, too!!

      Thanks for the input on the pine floors! The splintering thing scares me, for sure, especially since you’re talking about old pine, which was much harder.

  178. If you go with wood or vinyl, skip the radiant heat. It won’t conduct the heat as nicely as tile, and I’d be worried about weird expansion/contraction under the temperature changes. With vinyl or linoleum flooring, you’d also probably want to make sure the temperatures from radiant heat wouldn’t damage the flooring over time. Doesn’t seem like it’s worth the time/money/risk here.

    If you go with tile, the radiant heat issue is probably tied more to where the bathroom is in the house. For example: in cold-ass Wisconsin, we have tile flooring throughout our first floor and zero issues with the tiles being cold, even in January. BUT it is over a finished, insulated basement. We also have acid-stained concrete floors in the basement (newer house), and when we built we elected to diy hydronic radiant heat in most of it. Good thing we did! Where we didn’t run it, it’s painfully cold in the winter (as in wear shoes or your feet will literally hurt from the cold).

    For what it’s worth, my parents installed new wood flooring in their powder room to match the rest of the first floor of their Victorian home, and it has held up really well. It also helped unite the space with the rest of the home (as opposed to making it look like a weird afterthought). I think wood flooring in a full bathroom is a stretch, however.

    If it were me, I’d do the wood flooring in the powder room on the first floor, which will be much warmer than the tile, with the added benefit of skipping the radiant heat (and not worrying as much about the insulation in the crawl space, at least from the bathroom angle). I would put some of the saved money toward tiling the full bathroom, since it’s on the second floor and over a finished space, as long as the house isn’t super drafty (sounds like it won’t be if you insulate well and the windows are sealed correctly). A towel radiator in the full bath would be a really nice but optional upgrade, if it was economical enough.

    Btw, LOVE your blog! Keep up the awesome work & good luck!!

  179. We have wood floors in the baths & have never had a problem (plus messy kids). A good bathmat is all that is needed.

  180. I vote no on tile because of practical reasons- If you put in a tile floor and radiant heating and the new owners want a different kind of tile, then they’re more stuck than they would be with the wood. Given that tile is such a personal thing I wouldn’t install it for anyone but myself. For instance, some people hate hex tiles on floors because of cleaning issues and grout upkeep. Some people don’t like big tiles or only like certain colors or finish. If you refinish this whole house and it’s move in ready and in your budget, I think most people would be delighted to only have the flooring of the bathroom as a potential future project.

    And maybe I’m way out there but if you really feel like it can’t stay wood, there is an other option which i find pretty cool, natural linoleum. Eco friendly, affordable, historic appropriate- invented in 1863: http://www.thekitchn.com/all-about-linoleum-flooring-kitchen-flooring-spotlight_1-171989, I’m sure you could get it in black or grey or white, in keeping with the minimal approach you use.

  181. Have you thought about using a wood-looking porcelain tile (like this http://www.lowes.com/pd_399388-34692-17MN16_4294696460__?productId=3799719&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo= ) in the bathroom? I’m sure you could find a similar option to the pine to keep everything looking consistent. It’ll give you the look you want but not scare off potential buyers who are nervous about wood in bathrooms.

    Personally, I wouldn’t be nervous about wood flooring in the bathroom as long as the room is well ventilated. Our current apt doesn’t have any ventilation in the bathroom and we quickly noticed that the wood trim around the window was starting to rot. Not fun.

    • A few people have brought those kinds of tiles up—you can read through my comments above if you want, but the long and short is that I’d much rather use some pretty (and cheap!) classic tile that are more appropriate to an old house, you know? It’s one of those things that I can picture actually looking a lot MORE conspicuous since it’s such a modern material (especially right up against a real wood floor) than just using something cute and classic that might have been in a 1900-1930s bathroom originally.

      • I completely agree. The faux wood porcelain tiles were only if you were set on wood but I much prefer a classic tile (our apartment’s bathroom still has the original tiles!).

  182. I think this is a hard decision because you won’t be living in the house yourself. I personally wouldn’t want wood floors in the bathroom. I love the idea of adding radiant heat with new tile.

    I think my husband is one of the most careless people with water I’ve ever met. He splashes, spills and drips everywhere and is oblivious to cleaning it up (my asking him to be more careful for 9 years has gotten us nowhere). And now I have two kids so the bathroom is just covered in water all the time. I don’t know who will end up in your home but I think tile is a better functional choice.

    I love the look of the pine floors for the first floor!

  183. We’ve got a continuous wooden floor running throughout the entire main floor of our house (including the kitchen) except in the two bathrooms which are tiled. I often pine for a fully continuous floor, particularly when I see a beautiful bathroom in a magazine with a wooden floor. Then I think about how I can tell the difference between the summer and winter in my wood floors (hello dry MN winters and muggy MN summers!) and wonder if the regular exposure to damp air might eventually make a wooden bathroom floor swell and buckle. After that string of consciousness I am thankful for my tiles and the only thing I am left wanting is for a magical grout fariy to come and clean my grout ;)
    Good luck with whatever choice you end up making. I love seeing the cottage updates!

  184. The cottage looks great! I vote for the new, continuous flooring. It would look so fresh and light in that space. I had similar issues in my house when I bought it (small house, lots of different floorings- carpet, lino, wood, tile- throughout the house, going in different directions, etc.). It was an eyesore. I ripped everything up, put in or removed subfloor to level things out and installed continuous hardwood everywhere but the bathrooms, all running the same direction. Huge difference- you won’t be sorry, especially since you’ll be able to see the flooring from room to room. It also adds the illusion of space, especially if you have the flooring all running the same way. In the end it’ll be more cost effective too, you won’t be fiddling with matching, feathering, refinishing, etc. I also wouldn’t recommend wood in any bathroom just because the humidity, moisture and possible damage can age/damage the wood faster than the rest of the house (grooming and hair products like hair spray, spray perfume/cologne, etc., building up over time, spilled water and/or lengthy baths and showers with closed doors and the wood expanding and contracting specific to the smaller space). Tile or even cushioned lino would be my picks.

  185. I’d leave the floors wood – this coming from a mom with a 1 year old. Put a durable finish on them like Waterlox and they’ll be fine if they get wet. I would love the warmth of wood over a radiant floor any day. But then again, I’m a bit old school.

  186. I love both wood floors and tile floors, and can see the benefits of both. And having grown up with tile floors, I know the terror of trying to get out of the bathroom in the winter without. touching. the floor. BUT. Have you considered… wood-appearance tiles? I love the way it looks in this family’s kitchen:

    http://ourgermanvillagekitchenreno.blogspot.com/2015/01/floor-work.html

  187. I love nothing better than sitting down with a cup of coffee & reading about the progress your making with both houses. I’m in Australia so I don’t know how your housing market works, but if I were you I’d ask a reputable real estate agent what he/she would think would help get the best price for the cottage in the current market.

  188. Down my way in Charleston, we have a lot of sources for inexpensive wood floors. One option is to get in the car and drive to the factories in North Carolina where they actually make the wood floors and buy the factory seconds for a whopping $.99/sq ft (usually would be basic red oak for those prices). These factories are generally where places like Lumber Liquidators get their product from.

    The other thing is, since we’re in a port city, getting exotics for next to nothing is common. I can get solid cherry hardwoods for about $2/sq ft – something I was thinking of changing my floors to for our current remodel. So, maybe you need to take a trip to where you can get these materials very cheap, which would make the cost of the trip worth it? I used to do that for furniture all time, making the pilgrimage up to High Point in North Carolina.

    I’m with so many others and think the soft pine would be a mistake. Heart pine, I would say absolutely go for it. I’ve used heart pine before and it’s a great product – holds up beautifully. My current floor is plain old red oak (likely to change soon). As for wood in the bathrooms, I don’t see that as a big deal and frankly, in our area, it’s quite popular to do and we live and breathe cottage style down here in Charleston!

  189. Ok so after 320+ comments you may not even see this. I ripped linoleum out of our only bathroom to fin the hardwood continued underneath. I sanded and sealed it and it’s holding up just fine. The area under the toilet and sink is missing the so they are resting on plywood for the time being. I will take it out and replace it with tile when I have the budget. With a baby on the way I don’t see it standing up through routine bath splashes and potty training. I would suggest taking that wood and using it for your upstairs patching and installing heated tile.

    • Thanks, Melyssa! Your plan makes total sense, especially since there are parts missing anyway. Part of me wishes this floor was in worse shape—it would make the decision so much easier!!

      (And I swear I read every comment! I don’t respond to all of them bc at a certain point I start to sound like a broken record, but I definitely read them! :)

  190. Hey, Daniel. I love your idea for the first floor – it definitely makes sense on all kinds of levels.

    As far as the second floor, we have a 10-yr-old boy and live in an old house that has wood floors in the bathroom upstairs, which is the bath we use the most and bathe in. Our floors are oak – narrow strips, maybe 1.5″ wide? Anyway, very cool and my guess would be they’re about 100 years old (we also have those floors in the kitchen). I will also mention that they just have a tired coat of clear poly on them – in other words, they don’t have marine-grade level poly on them or any such thing and they could certainly use refinishing… But I’m happy to report that they do just fine.

    I’d never had wood floors in a bathroom before, and I have to say, the really cool thing about them is that they do not feel cold like tile does! We are not precious with them, we just use a bath mat next to the tub, and like I said, we have a boy who is definitely not particularly careful about his showering/bathing ways, nor his, um, toilet habits. ;) I mean, if there was standing water on tile floor, I’d wipe it up too, you know what I mean? So really, I have no complaints and in fact, like I said earlier, I love that the floors are warmer than the chill you’d experience with old, unheated tile.

    And just to be clear, I think heated tile would be lovely too, but if your wood floor upstairs is in good shape, I would consider just giving it a coat of paint, honestly. I’d personally paint the entire upstairs (not just the bath floor) since the house is on the smaller side and you’ll already have two different kinds of floors between upstairs and downstairs. Kind of like here:
    http://www.remodelista.com/posts/a-cottage-reborn-in-rural-maine

    Anyway. Sorry for rambling. I love your writing and your work – thank you for sharing both!

    -maria

    • Oh man, that cottage is so pretty! And thank you for chiming in with your experience with wood floors in the bathroom! One of the things that’s been so interesting about these comments is that it seems like the majority of people who have wood floors in the bathroom do actually prefer them…I never thought about the heat thing, but it makes total sense. And yes, I feel like standing water on ANY floor is not a good thing!!

  191. Hallo from Sweden again..
    Jag har grangolv i hela huset, med trasmattor på. Repigt..javisst. Nu är golvet så gammalt så det är blästrat och stenhårt. Men jag har slipat om det. Blev som nytt.
    I badrummet har jag kakel och sjösten. Det enda som fungerar här.
    Vi badar och duschar oftare numera, än när huset byggdes, 1940.
    Då var det grangolv där också. Men så småningom lades en ful plastmatta på och när jag tog över huset ville jag ha ett snyggt och vattentåligt golv, så den revs ut och jag lade fina plattor av sjösten.

    Men hur fungerar nåtlade golv, sådana som är på båtdäck? De borde stå emot väta ganska bra..?!
    Såå fantastiskt roligt att följa renoveringen.
    Good luck!

    • Daniel – can you read Swedish? Just curious. I know you visited, but don’t know if you speak it or can read it.

      I think Katarina has a good point about wood decks are fine on a boat, so why not in a bathroom.

      • I can’t read or speak Swedish aside from a very few words, but I can plug Swedish comments into google translate so I know what they’re saying! :)

  192. If you do decide to go with tiles in the upstairs bathroom, it makes sense to spring for radiant heating underneath. Which brings me to this advice: buy an extra sensor and cable and install it as a spare. From what I’ve read, a few years down the road, it’s possible for the sensor to go bad, in which case you have an unfixable cold floor. But if you spent $20 and got an extra one installed right next to the first one, then fixing the floor is as simple as disconnecting the original sensor within the thermostat and connecting the spare. We did this in our master bathroom remodel; it was easy to do, and I feel pretty smug about future fixes. PS We used hex tile in white and gray and it is fabulous. Never a slip, and water beads on the surface and evaporates b/c of the heat underneath.

    • That’s really smart, Ann!! I’ve definitely wondered about the longevity of the hardware for the underfloor heat, and how impossible it would be to repair. Installing an extra sensor is genius!

  193. I think the downstairs plan sounds pretty great in terms of unifying the space and making it more appealing to potential buyers.

    While I generally prefer stained floors, I think a good fix for budget and design would be to paint the bathroom floor with white marine paint. My family did that in my old attic bathroom. The marine paint held up, and the white color made the tiny space feel bigger.

    I just spent the past week ripping out the crappy carpeting in my apartment stairwell and refinishing my steps. Enjoy the work on the cottage, because when you refinish the floors in your home, it’s going to be a royal pain in the ass. Not because the work is particularly difficult, but because I’ve found that no matter what steps I took to close off rooms, there is dust EVERYWHERE. And no matter how much I’ve swept and vacuumed and done my best to limit access, each time I’ve laid down a new coat of stain, somehow a couple of my pets’ hairs have floated down onto the floor. I highly suggest kenneling your puppies when it comes time to refinish your own floors.

    • Yeah, I have no IDEA how I’m going to go about that. I think we’re going to have to move out for a couple weeks…maybe into the cottage!

  194. Definitely in the Wood floor team for a bathroom ! Such a great feeling for the toes, never rotten even with large family and super parties….painted wood is a very cool option too.
    We French people can’t live without a nice electric heater drying towels…cheap and easy to fit in an old house. HudsonReed makes some looking classy and vintage. ..
    I feel less lonely being obsessed by flooring options for days, weeks, months….Thank You!

    • Holy cow, thank you for the HudsonReed recommendation! I’ve never heard of them before…so nice, not super pricey, either! Cool!

  195. Hej Daniel,

    It’s great to read of all your progres!. I tried reading all of the above comments to see if I was repeating sentiments but golly gosh there are so many! I understand the dilemma of having a sound wooden bathroom floor Vs the option of tiling. I’ve lived once in a rental with a wooden floor in a bathroom and it really grossed me out. But that could have been more to do with my house mates. Have you ever thought of laying cork tiles? My parents had that in their bathroom, similar situation where the subfloor was in good condition and tiling too much hassle. They were warm underfoot and were sealed well from moisture, could also be painted I guess. That was just my idea anyhows.

    We had a nasty flood in our kitchen last year resulting in us having to rip up the original base floor from 1886, it was pine and so we replaced like with like. It’s obviously going to take a while to look like the other floors in the apartment and the dog has done some impressive “damage” but it’s beginning to look lived in and is a continuation of the apartments story. Also, it’s a floor.

    Greetings from Sweden, looking forward to seeing what you do next!

  196. Hi Daniel,
    I think you made a really good decision to buy new flooring for the first floor. I have a 1911 house with yellow pine floors, which are also the subfloor. I stained ours dark to match our original woodwork, doors, etc… And it hasn’t worked out great. The problem is that yellow pine is really soft, so it gets dinged up really easily so I’m constantly touching up these dings with stain so that they aren’t obvious. Also, I’m sure you know that dark floors show dirt, so I vacuum everyday, kind of a pain. You mentioned your concern about lack of energy efficiency from lack of a subfloor. Another issue is smell. Our basement isn’t very damp, but I can smell it in the house sometimes because there is just 3/4 inch wood between my first floor and the basement.

    So I think you made a good decision re: the first floor. Just be aware of how soft yellow pine is when you are thinking about stain for the second floor. I’m sure you know that pine doesn’t accept stain well, either, although there are tricks to improve results. Honestly, I wish I’d just gotten oak at this point. Love your blog!

  197. Hi Daniël

    Very inspiring to see how it’s going – the First view of the cottage would have had me running, but it’s lovely to see it come to life & to imagine how it’s going to be. And it’s sure to look splendid !
    Floors always seem tricky to me, I still don’t know what I want for my own house, so I made a pinterest board of different floorings (wood & tiles) to get an idea how different possibilities can look
    https://nl.pinterest.com/everydaybasics/floorswalls/
    Personally, I’d vote for tile in a bathroom – easy to clean & to trust in environments with lots of water.
    A neutral yet classy tile floor version is sure to win most potential buyers over. Is there any buyer out there that would say : “No wood floor in the bathroom, hmm, now that’s a deal breaker for me ?” The reverse, however, is quite more likely …

  198. Nobody has mentioned the sap problem with pine. My b-i-l bought kiln-dried pine boards to do trim around the cottage. They were still exuding sap 9 months after installation. The plan is to flick off the now dry sap and seal the wood, but of course they’ve yellowed in the meantime so now my sister wants them to be pickled but that’s alot of work.

    Articles on how to deal with the sap problem if you do choose to go with the pine.
    http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/41798/how-to-set-wood-sap
    http://joneakes.com/jons-fixit-database/1246-What-to-do-about-pine-sap-oozing-out-of-a-deck

    Good luck with your decision. Very much enjoy your blog, thanks for it.

  199. Have you looked at other houses in the area that are priced similar to what you’re hoping to sell this house for? It might help to see what the market likes around there.

  200. wood floor in a bathroom is not a dealbreaker for me, but poly-ed natural yellow pine floors throughout would be. I have stained hardwood now that I hate because the stain is so yellow-orange and it clashes with everything. please please please whitewash that wood!

  201. Wow, an amazing amount of comments! Some good points made. I always have to ask everyone for input with major decisions but your ‘everyone’ is many more than mine! After reading through them all it seems keeping the wood is the best plan, leaving some financial flexibility just in case the pine doesn’t work out, hopefully it will. That would leave more money/time/energy so we can all get our amazing tile fix when you do your house bathrooms xx

  202. First, good decision to lay new flooring on the first floor. It will make the space look continuous and seem larger (we did this in our small Philly row house and it’s one of the best decisions we made). Plus, you can salvage the salvageable wood from this floor and patch it up stairs. Wood floors in bathrooms is such a nice touch, and just image it with that sink you just thrifted. Swoon!

  203. Just wanted to say whichever you do will go with the style and age of the house, so will be fine. I don’t think you need to worry so much about all the potential buyers in the area and restricting costs so much – I think your likely buyer for this sort of reno might likely be a city person looking for a second home, or to relocate out of the city – and that person is much more likely to be willing to pay more than your typical upstate family looking for the cheapest home they can get for the size – you know what I mean? So your design decisions will certainly appeal to someone who is looking for nice design in the renovation, and the house won’t look the same to them as one that looks totally different. Of course, some will want to buy that cheaper house and do the work themselves – but there are others, especially those looking for a second home, that will find a home all done up and in a nice way totally worth it to buy at the renovated price. I don’t think you really can go wrong here.

  204. We had wood floors in our master bath in our 1920’s four-square and never gave it a second thought when we bought the house. To me it added even more charm. The bath had been carved out of one of those small “nursery” bedrooms they used to have in old houses so the wood was original. The hall bath had tile, but I’m pretty sure that had been added sometime in the 50’s-60’s. So I say keep the wood, especially if you are going to have fully tiled walls. Nice juxtaposition. My current 1950’s ranch kitchen has wood floors under a couple layers of tile and linoleum, we were just too scared to rip up all that extra flooring when we did renovations. But it certainly is on my to-do list should we stay in this house for a significant length of time.

    I have a design suggestion for the bottom level flooring. Have you considered whitewashing wide plank pine hardwoods? I’m pretty sure you’re going to paint the walls white :). But it could really open that small space up to have super light flooring as well. Just a thought.

  205. When we bought our houseboat in Sausalito, it was about 10 years old and had wood floors in the bathroom. The previous owner — who had the place built — clearly cherished it and took good care of it. But during the inspection we sent a guy into the crawlspace under the bathroom floor, and the floor next to the tub was so rotted he was able to push his hand through it. (Like someone clawing his way out of a grave in a horror movie, basically, but in my bathroom.)

    We had the wood floor rebuilt. Fast forward another 10 years and it was totally rotted AGAIN, this time from a slowly leaking toilet. We’re in the process of ripping out the floor and a good chunk of the subfloor, and you better believe we’re going with something totally waterproof this time. (Also a tub surround rather than a shower curtain. Also a better plumber.)

    YMMV, but if I saw wood floors in a master bath I might well turn and run!

  206. I lived in a very similar house in Red Hook, just across the river–similar vintage and size. It had the original wide-plank wood floors throughout the first floor and up on the second floor, including in the bathroom, which was the most beautiful room in the house with a big clawfoot tub and pedestal sink. I personally thought the wide-plank floors were one of the great charms of the house, and I especially LOVE wood floors in bathrooms. My mom has them in her Craftsman house as well, and water damage is really not a thing to worry about, especially if there are no kids in the house.

  207. I’m not sure how much this is worth, because I live on the other side of the world (Sydney, Australia), but I would run a mile from wooden floors in the bathroom. Tiles are much much easier to take care of, especially in an area that has constantly high humidity (although I’m not sure how much of an issue that is in the colder climate in which you live). From a purchasing perspective, I’d be pretty reluctant to replace a wooden floor with tiles too simply because of all the (potential) levelling involved.

    Regardless of my opinion though, based on the replies above, it seems as though wooden floors are polarising whereas tiles are not. I would invest in the tiles – you would save money skimping on it now, but if you’re alienating half of the potential purchasers then you’re paying for it down the track. Remember the key to flipping properties is making them appealing to the broadest segment of the demographic for which you’re aiming.

  208. I’ve had two bathrooms with wood floors. One was the main bath in a house built in 1866, the floors were probably put in in the 1920s. I don’t know how they were finished but they were perfect, we never needed to do anything to them. They survived two small children bathing and splashing and looked just as good when we moved ten years later. Second was a powder room in a newer house, I put it in and used a marine finish to seal it.

    I don’t think wood floors will discourage buyers or renters. Not in the northeast. They are beautiful and so much warmer than tile, unless you add the radiant heat option.

  209. Pine floor in the bathroom is a deal maker, not a deal breaker!!! Consistent with the character of the house, plus having the same flooring throughout will make all those small spaces, especially the bathroom, feel bigger. There seems to be some kind of prim phobia of wood and water, but properly treated it’s a terrific look, both traditional and contemporary. The world has a lot of wooden ships and wooden decks, free of nasty little tiles, that prove the point…

  210. Hi Daniel,

    Re: the bathroom
    I only ready about half of the comments, so I hope I’m not repeating anyone, but what about leaving it up to the next owners? I’m assuming that after all of this work restoring the cottage you will have contact with potential buyer/s, so why not keep the wood floor as it is now, and explain that you kept it because it was original to the house and in good condition, but for an added $3K or so you could install a kick ass heated tiled floor? I agree that there is no right answer, but despite the general assumption that bathrooms should be tiled, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to remove the existing flooring.
    I vote for keeping the wood floor, but I know what ever you decide will be well reasoned and look great. Can’t wait to see the finished bathroom!

  211. Daniel! Love your work! I’m always on the lookout for your post update – and I’ve figured out that it might just happen on a sunday night (at some ridiculous hour) or possibly somewhere on a monday, after you’ve had time to wash off the weekends’ blood, sweat & tears – I know the feeling to well. I’m constantly hiding my hands for the my nails or shall I say the lack of them???!!!! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoy your blog, which I feel we sometimes need to hear, for we really don’t feel like updating it, after a weekend of DIY-hell. Vegging in front of NetFlix is always way more attractive. You are an inspiration for me to get my own butt off the couch. Adel Ainslie http://www.lifeofreily.co.za (btw, I’m a South African, who is currently residing in the States – been following your blog all the way from there…… so there you have it……)

    • Aw, thanks so much, Adel! That’s all very kind! :)

      (“constantly hiding my hands” <-- YES, haha. Trying to keep my hands acceptable-looking accounts for about 99% of my personal grooming and it's a losing, uphill battle.)

  212. Hi Daniel, I’m really enjoying your progress through the cottage.
    As for wood floors in bathrooms, well I have wood floors right through my house including the two bathrooms and the kitchen and they’re fine! I’ve been renovating my place for ages and when I first purchased it, over ten years ago, it had just one bathroom with truly awful vinyl tiles stuck to the hardwood boards. I put on an extra bathroom, ripped up the tiles and got all the floors polished. They look fabulous and I’ve had no issue with water on the floorboards because they’re sealed really well.

    Hope that’s a help. keep up the great work
    Cheers

  213. I’m sorry if this is repeating what many others have said before, I read through a few comments then gave up.

    I’m concerned about the use of pine on the first floor. My husband owns a hardwood flooring co here in Seattle and these softwoods, while cheaper, are not long lasting. We see firjust in the finish and can be repaired if the homeowner wants. But the wood itself only gets so many sands before it’s too thin. Hardwoods last longer, thus cost a bit more. I understand the want and need to keep within the budget but pine floors might hurt your resale value.
    You might want to talk to a realtor…it’s a major factor when calculating the value.

  214. “so throwing 5-7K at a floor kind of makes me want to puke!” – Daniel

    That’s funny. My puke threshold seems to be anything over 10K. I get night sweats at anything over 15K.

  215. Wood!!! I hate tile, it is so hard to clean and gets worse with age. Wood ages beautifully. I can’t understand why anyone would think differently lol!

  216. Hi! I may be late to the party but just installed a wide plank pine floor into my home myself. Our floors were bought pre-finished (Craigslist score) but upon reading a ton about new pine, many choose to just seal it with tung oil in the beginning. For the first few decades of it’s instillation, it is very soft and needs to harden so the dings and gouges aren’t as noticeable without a scratchable topcoat like poly. Bona makes an amazing natural matte sealer that is highly recommended also. I was surprised at how soft our pine is, but a week in I am loving the instant character all of the flaws give it, and my stain marker isn’t BFF ;) As a mom with children, I would never use wood in the bath- too hard to keep dry and sanitize (little boys!)

  217. Hi Daniel,

    I have both a heated tile floor in one bathroom and a wood floor in another at my house. I love them both. The wood is beautiful (and sealed) and I’ve never had any issues with it. Both bathrooms have tub/shower combos so occasionally water does get on the floor. I will say that the heated tile floor in the bathroom (which I put down myself) is very nice in the winter – that level of the house is on concrete. But it was a tad expensive for such a small space.

    Overall – I would put wood in a bathroom again in a heartbeat.

    Good luck! Love your blog :)

    Kelly

  218. Will you even read the 377th comment????? I don’t have the time to read them all so someone may have already stressed my point, but I would like to weigh in on wooden floors in a bathroom. As someone getting ready to replace hardwoods in my kitchen from an undectected slow leak that totally ruined the floor: don’t do it. Water and wood just don’t mix. There are a thousand and one unforeseen ways for that mixing to happen. Its just not worth the cost, hassel and inconvenience if and when it happens. A leak MIGHT never happen, but a wise remodeler would stop the problem before it has a chance to happen. If you are concerned about doing the best for this house, put tile in the wet spaces….

    You are doing an amazing job by the way!

  219. Opinion No. 378

    As a buyer, I wouldn’t mind wood floors in a bathroom. However, if I did, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. I would just have it tiled at some point if it really bothered me. Also, although it is a nice perk, I don’t think a radiant bathroom floor would sway me to buy a house if I didn’t already love it.

    If you seal it properly, the wood shouldn’t be an issue for day to day use. Yes, there might be a burst pipe or something down the road, but that could potentially ruin any surface. You are doing all new plumbing anyway, right?

    If the floor needed to be replaced for quality or aesthetic reasons, then heated tile would top my list, but I think I would just refinish or paint it before I would rip up a perfectly good wood floor to tile. I am sure you have google image searched the options. There are plenty of good looking bathrooms with wood floors – painted or natural. Whatever option you go with, you are going to do it tastefully and do it well. That is what is going to resonate most with buyers. I can totally relate to spiraling costs, so I might save yourself a little time and money here.

  220. Wow, I am totally exhausted, but gotta toss one more thought out. MOST peeps wouldn’t think of marble in a kitchen, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. That patina! So totally go with the pine. That little cottage deserves all the patina she can get. And wood-grained tile? Please.
    I totally guffaw when reading your posts. My BF and I are just south of mid-stream on a reno of an 1896? Victorian. I haven’t slept more than 4 hours since we bought it 6 mos ago and he is more rested than ever. Not an interested bone in his body. He is pretty, though. I’m sort of okay with that…my waking hours are spent dreaming (and obsessing) about bringing this old gal back to life. Our renos seem to be on a similar timeline and your MN posts help tremendously, even if I do change my mind 78 times through the comments. Stay positive!

  221. Have you thought about making friends with a real estate agent? I wouldn’t listen to them on everything, because by making a house that’s inoffensive to everyone you’re not going to have anything interesting in it, which isn’t your style, but for questions like this it might help. You might be able to find a forum online where real estate people hang out, and ask questions like this there. But I think the traits people demand in their housing varies a lot by region, so you might be better off finding a real estate person in your neighborhood and offering to buy him or her a cup of coffee so you can pick their brain.

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