Categories: DIY

Inexpensive Wood Flooring Using Pine Boards – All You Need to Know

We get asked all of the time about our wood floors.  People that see them in person think they are original to the house.  I have a post up about them already, but it’s included in with the entryway remodel.  So, I thought I would write a post specifically regarding our inexpensive wood flooring using pine boards and give you tips and tricks.  Because, after all, I think this idea is worthy of its own post.  ????

Keep reading for all you need to know about using pine boards as flooring…


Yep!  We used regular old #2 pine boards pictured above. They are the same pine boards that Mr. and Mrs Crafty Pants make shelves and craft items from.  The #2 means they come with a few knot holes which is perfect if you want a rustic looking floor.

Click the picture for an easy tutorial with step by step instruction on how to create an antique looking mirror.



But first, what are my honest thoughts about using pine boards as an inexpensive flooring?

Some people are very hesitant to use pine boards as flooring because pine is a very soft wood.   I wanted to clear it all up and answer the most common questions we get asked.


*Do you still like them after years of use?  

YES.  First off, I think they are gorgeous and we both love them.  They truly do look like they are original to our house built in 1945.  They add a rustic touch to a room and can be used in basically any type of decor style.  We installed them in our previous home, which we lived in for several years, and still loved them when we sold.


*Do they scratch easily?  

If I were to take a sharp tool and scratch the surface of our flooring, yes, it would scratch.  If I were to slide a heavy piece of furniture across the floor without using sliders, yes, it would scratch.  But what flooring wouldn’t?  We have found that regular, every day use does not scratch this flooring if you use the correct finishing products.


*Will my dog’s nails scratch the floor?

We have a 60 pound dog and her nails don’t scratch the floor.  BUT, we also, don’t allow her to tear around the house 100 mph, either.  If she starts getting a wild hair, we let her outside to do that type of running.  We also have area rugs and runners in every room which also protect them.


*Are pine boards difficult to install as flooring?

They are super, duper easy to install.   We can add ceramic tile and several different types of laminate wood flooring to our resumes.  We’ve done both of those projects, several times.  This, BY FAR, is the easiest flooring we have done.  Since the boards are 3/4″ thick, it hides a multitude of problems in sub-flooring, etc.   Basically, you cut the boards down to the length you need and install it right over the sub-flooring.


*Can you use this on a house with a slab foundation?

This is a question that I cannot answer.  I added it to this post because it is one we get asked quite frequently.  You obviously wouldn’t be nailing the boards down, but I have no clue if there is any type of vapor barrier or glue that would work.  I would talk to a contractor about that before attempting to install this on a slab foundation.


*How do you clean this type of flooring?

We use a little Murphy’s Oil Soap in our water and a damp mop.  That does the trick.


*How much does it cost?

They look very expensive!  That’s why I love them.  But they are actually just the opposite.  I believe we installed around 2500 square feet in this house and it cost us under $4,000.  That is for all of the supplies, nails, and refinishing products.

Click the picture for a full reveal of the master bedroom.



Where to Purchase the #2 Pine Boards

You don’t just want to buy any old #2 pine board and throw them down.  I LOVE Menards and Lowes for LOTS of different reasons, but their #2 pine boards is not one of them. ????  They actually suck pretty bad.  I give them two thumbs down in that department.  It’s only because they receive big shipments of wood to their stores and basically store them in little bins which can cause them to warp, dry out, and crack.  You don’t want that.  Trust me!

If you are going to use pine boards as flooring, you will want to get them from your local lumber yard.  They have the best #2 pine boards ever, that are really better than the big box stores “best” wood.  I had our lumber yard order them special for us because we needed such a large quantity AND we wanted newer boards.  Newer boards are a lot more pliable and you will soon learn and appreciate that fact.  ????   They gave us a fabulous deal because we ordered such a large quantity, too.


Click on the picture for a full reveal of the stairway landing.

Helpful Tips We Learned

This isn’t our first trip on the merry-go-round!!!

We’ve installed pine boards as flooring several times in different homes.  We are, by no means, experts on it, but I would say we are “experienced”.   We’ve learned different tricks from each project installing these pine boards as flooring and I thought I would share some of them with you.  Basically, I’ve learned a lot over my 150 years of being alive!

  1. Purchase “newer” boards – I cannot express this tip enough and, I know, I have already covered it.   (That means it’s really important.)  You don’t want to use boards that are dried and warped.  Your local lumber yard boy will know what exactly what you are talking about when you say you want new boards.
  2. Install the pine boards shortly after you purchase them – You are probably thinking to yourself, “Oh my gosh, old lady, how dumb do you think we are?”  I’m only reminding you of this because we learned from experience.  We had a large amount of wood delivered to us for the main floor of the house.  We had a stack of wood leftover from that project to use upstairs.  When we finally got started on the upstairs, they had probably sat for about a month in our house.  They were already dried out and extremely hard to use.  Therefore, don’t order tons of wood to be delivered tomorrow if you aren’t going to get to your project for a month.
  3. Remove all of your base boards before installation – I know, I know.  Some of you are probably saying “DUH” again, and giving me the old eye roll.   But, I’ve seen people install flooring with the base boards on.  BUT, you need to keep these pine boards about 1/8″ to 1/4″ away from the walls to give them room to expand and contract.  Therefore, your base board trim will hide that gap very nicely.
  4. Install them with adhesive AND nails – We used an adhesive on the underside of each board AND nailed them, both.   Since the boards are new, we didn’t want them to warp when they dried out and pull up.  Therefore, we ensured that they would stay attached with both glue and nails.  Now, we used square nails for installation, because they appear like rustic old barn floors.  Although, we have installed them using an air nailer which obviously takes about half of the time.
  5. Pre-drill holes if using square nails – TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.  We learned that the hard way.  We tried pounding those nails without pre-drilling holes, and were worn out ten minutes into the project.  It takes less time to pre-drill the holes than it does pounding those gimundo nails in without.
  6. Beat them up and make them look old – Take all of your frustrations out on your pine boards after you have them installed and before you re-finish them.  Seriously, beat the living shit out of them.  We used chains, hammers, screw drivers, crow bars, etc.  This part is very important.  When you ding and dent them up before you re-finish them, you won’t notice imperfections from installation errors, etc.
  7. Apply three coats of polyurethane “specifically for floors” – After we chose and applied our stain color, we applied three coats of Super Fast Drying Polyurethane for floors in all of the high traffic areas, kitchen, and bathrooms.  We only applied two coats in the bedrooms.
  8. Do not use a water-based polyurethane on your wood floors – We tried that once.  Don’t do it.  The instructions said that you can use it on floors, but it didn’t hold up well at all.  Talk about scratches.  ????   DON’T DO IT.
  9. Use different widths of boards – This is something that you don’t have to do, but it makes things a lot easier.  If you notice in the pictures, we used boards that are 12″, 10″, 8″, and 6″ wide.  I would recommend installing them in the middle of the room and work your way out on both sides, keeping the last board on each side the same size.  If you use different widths of pine boards, you can start at one end and work your way to the other.  When you get close to your wall, you can kind of control what size goes where and won’t end up with a sliver.
  10. If using different widths, install them randomly – This helps also with the problem above.  If you are using different widths of boards in a random pattern, when you get close to the wall, you can lay two of the same size boards in a row rather than having that sliver that I talked about above.

Click on picture to see a full family room reveal.

Tips for Picking a Stain Color

We took scrap pieces of our pine boards and tried several different colors of stain. The color we loved the most was Provincial, by Minwax.  It has the perfect amount of warmth and is not too dark.   The colors will all look different in your home due to different lighting, etc.  Therefore, I suggest you do the same thing.  Purchase the little sample sized cans of a few different colors and stain individual boards and see what they look like in your room.  You don’t want to get this far and then despise the color you choose.

We also used three coats of polyurethane specifically for floors that I swear by.  It dries really fast and holds up really well.  We used a Satin sheen, because in my opinion, it’s the best for flooring.

Oh…. and this is the poly that we used on our wooden bathroom vanity top, too. We used three coats and have no issues, whatsoever, with water marks.


Click on picture to see the full bathroom reveal.

Woooooohoooooo.  That was a long post!

BUT, I really hope it helps you out and I answered any questions that you may have if you are thinking about installing pine boards as flooring.  Please reply in the comment section if you have any other questions that I didn’t cover.  I would be happy to answer them for you.  We learned all of this by trial and error.


Thanks so much for stopping by.  I pledge my love to all of my readers.


Buh bye now, said in an old lady’s voice that is just tired from reminiscing about installing our floor.



Danelle Harvey

View Comments

  • Hey to funny that u just posted this ... I was checking out your blog and was going to ask u about your floors ! Was reading your blog and Greg & I had a couple questions. 1) we were wondering with installing floors right away did u have any gaps from shrinking over time ? I know u stated that for the upstairs u waited about a month but then had difficulties. 2) U said that the flooring goes with all different decor but, I have the warm colors in my house and oak trim just curious your opinion if this flooring would look right ? I probably have the same colors that I had when u we're here 100yrs ago ! lol It's green, taupe brown, mustard and a terra cotta ! Thanks for reading all of this !

    • That very reason is why you want to use new boards. They are a little more pliable and it is way easier to push them tighter together so the gap won't be huge when they dry. There is a small gap though. And as far as your trim, I would just get a stain that would coordinate.

    • Interesting. I have always heard that you want to let the boards be inside for awhile to shrink first. I guess, from what you are saying tho, it's a tighter fit b/c they haven't warped and are more pliable. Where as if you let them dry and do their shrinking it's harder to push them together and close the gaps from the drying and warping. Sound about right?

      • That is exactly correct. We ordered a huge load from the lumber yard. We installed the entire downstairs and had a bunch of boards leftover for the upstairs. We left them sit upstairs for 3 weeks. They were TERRIBLE to work with. We couldn't get them to budge. We ended up cutting the warped parts out and using the straight smaller scraps for the closets, etc. Even when you get them as tight as you can, there will still be a small gap when they dry but that didn't bother me at all. The look and the cost far outweighed the small gaps that appeared between. We did our entire house in pine boards (2700 sq ft) for $4,000 by doing it all ourselves. We've installed them in several homes including our old store front and love it so much, we are doing it again in our new house. If you want perfect, this isn't for you, as pine boards are soft and will scratch easily. I will say that someone told me over on Instagram that they did this same thing 10 years ago and applied a "boat finish" in satin sheen, rather than poly, and it made them almost scratch resistant. We are going to look into that for the new house. She said it is expensive but well worth the money and she would install them again in a heartbeat.

    • The finished floors look beautiful. Do you fix the pine to an existing floor? Do you feel they could be fixed direct to floor joist’s of a suspended floor or would they need an OSB board or something similar under?

  • I loved reading this post, and I know we'll be trying our hand at this! Thanks for all the wonderful tips!

    Halfway to Heaven Homestead

  • Not too long ago, I stumbled upon your blog. I love how you express yourself. I adore how you create your home ..... it is magical, enchanting and beautiful. I am inspired by how you and your wife are two women creating this home.

    I hope I internalize this and believe more strongly that I can create my longed for home even though I am a single woman. I also need to figure out how to transcend above an inner back and forth I experience in seeing the beauty you create and wonder how I may do so, possibly differently, to accommodate a son with autism. He is 16. He lives residentially with his school. He is not a young man with terribly destructive tendencies, yet I wonder the longevity of pine floors for when the time comes I can rip up my ugly carpet and have lovely floors in my new-to-me condo home.

    • Awww... thank you so much. It is all about creating what works for you. Our house wouldn't work for lots of folks, but it would for lots of others. It's all according to what you have going on in your life and your lifestyle. Remember though, you can do ANYTHING that you put your mind to, however you need to get there. Thanks so much for following along and I send will send positive vibes your way. ????

  • I love these floors, but I wonder if they could be installed over a post tension cement slab. I'll have to research, because really who doesn't love this??????????????

    • haha thank you. Please let me know what you find out about the concrete slab. I would love to hear.

    • Thank you! ???? Keep me posted. I actually did a painting technique on the base and refinished the top. I should do a before and after post explaining it because it was so simple.

  • Just stumbled on your website in a pine flooring search and, after an hour of poking around, I've finally come up for air! I'm stealing so many of your designs it's criminal. You have great personal style.
    My husband and I are about to install roughly 2,500 sq ft of knotty pine across our whole house. Did you sand any areas or just install, stain, poly and enjoy? And about how long did it take you and your husband, from start to finish? Thank you for your advice, Danelle!

    • hahaha Thank you so much. You are so sweet. (And, fyi, I have a wife - ????) We installed the boards and only sanded the areas (boards) that were a little higher. And, we sanded off the "stamp" that the lumber company uses. Other than that, no. I do have to say, that when they are installed, we tried to not walk a lot on them because dirt, oil, grease, make marks that won't stain like the rest of the boards. Message me if you have any other questions. I would be glad to help.

  • I wish I saw this months ago before I spent a fortune on flooring that I am extremely disappointed in. You both are fantastically creative and I am that sponge taking everything in! The floors are organically beautiful and beatin with love! Thank you for consistently inspiring me.

  • There's nothing more beautiful than those old heart pine floors you see down in the South with all their patina! I seriously thought your floors were original, too. The expense of supplies, was a lot of that those square nails?

    • Yes...the nails were probably the most expensive item. We've installed them with and without before but I definitely love them WITH. They look a little more rustic.

  • LOVE your floors! I would love to install them at my house. I’m curious if you’ve heard from anyone that has installed them on concrete slab?

  • Soooooo What are your thoughts on doing pine boards on a bathroom ceiling?? I've heard it's bad because of moisture in the room. But I'm assuming it's no different than a pine board floor. Any thoughts or suggestions??? We love the look but are so confused by everything we have read! LOVE YOUR HOUSE AND YOU!!

    • This is coming from Deb (the expert). ???? As long as you seal it with a poly, it should be fine. She, also, say maybe seal both sides of the board... obviously before installing it. It would be no different than the trim work around your flooring and around your windows? And, do you have an exhaust ceiling fan? Because that should help too.

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Danelle Harvey

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