Best Floor Option for 1800 Federal Style Home
DC Metro Area
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“I am buying a limestone, federal period c 1815 home in upstate NY. There is no flooring in the house (interior has been essentially gutted). Can I assume wide-plank pine would be the most likely original floor? I would like to put in flooring that is similar to the original. ”
It probably had old heart pine flooring, which was typical from that period. Don’t use normal pine because it will be too soft. Check out some wood floor suppliers; they will often have heart pine from old buildings that can be reused. If that is not successful, I recommend using white or red oak. Don’t go too wide because it might warp.
Heart pine or oak (in more narrow planks) are the most practical choices. Either one will look great.
Here are some fantastic photos of old heart pine flooring.
The Impact of Flooring
Whether you’re building an addition or remodeling, your goal is probably to be seamless and stay as true as possible to the original style of the home. This is particularly true of older, period style homes (like the one from this specific post’s question). The flooring is visible throughout the house and can make a significant impact on overall aesthetics, so using original materials when you can is a good idea.
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Bruce Wentworth, AIA, is a practicing architect whose insights on residential architecture have been published in House Beautiful, Southern Living, Washingtonian, Colonial Homes, and other periodicals.