Thoughts needed on Cheap Wood Floor Idea

Hi Group --
I am hoping there is someone out there with some experience with crazy ideas. I know that this is kind of a hard question and that's why I'm appealing to the group for help. I want to run it past y'all because I'm worried that it won't work (even though I can't think of a single reason why - except that it is too cheap to work). I was thinking of getting these great Doug Fir strips (1"x4") that are sold for indoor trim and nailing down to the plywood subfloor in my living room. I know that Doug Fir is soft and that is okay because I'm going for the rustic look. I was thinking of nailing them down, sanding, staining and varnishing them.
I would so love it if someone with some experience with wood floors or with Doug Fir could give me their two cents worth! If you think it's a bad idea, let me know! The problem is that I have a limited budget and in need something REAL. I could do pine, too, if that would be better. I stained some pine and some doug fir and it looked great. Any thoughts or ideas would be welcomed!! I have a budget of about $1/ square foot.
Thanks --
MissyM
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Well Missy, it can be done that way. You will definitely have gaps between the boards that will widen in time and will fill with dirt. The boards may cup and the edges will come up. Doug fir is also bad for splinters. But if you like rustic, it could be done. I'd use lots of ring shank nails. Also wondering where you are finding fir trim boards for about $1.00 a board foot.
An alternative would be to make your own flooring by cutting slots in the edges of the boards with a router, and inserting thin strips of wood to act as tongues. Then it could be stapled down with a flooring stapler. This would not cost that much more, but would result in a much better floor. It would take a ton of work, and require tools that you may not have.
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I'm I going to have gaps because of the wood changing size because of the change in temperatures over the seasons? Is that the same reson the boards may cup? I guess boards don't cup on regular hardwood floors because they have the T&G action happening. I appreciate your advice. I would hate to throw away whatever money I have on a project that is a bad plan. I'm trying to get a realistic idea of how it will turn out. It's Home Depot that has Doug Fir and Pine for about $2.25 for a 1 x 4 x 8. There are some knots.
MissyM.
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Hardwood floors can cup as well - even if T&G.
The wider the board the more the risk. It's important that the wood has the right moisture level when it's fitted. If it's too high then as it dries it's at risk of cupping and moving in other ways.
We wanted wide oak boards for our new house but because we had UFH we used engineered oak to reduce the risk.

I think it would be a lot of work for too much risk.
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wrote:

Yes, and overall drying as well. And heavn forbid it shoudl get wet!

Yep, you understand

Again, that's good thinking.

Softwood floors are used in some older New England homes, and certainly do show wear quickly. but if you are after rustic look, then it is practical to a certain extent.
Another alternative that will give better results and life is engineered flooring (Pergo, and other similar products). I've installed these at half the cost of hardwood, and had results that when I go back and look are excellent even in high traffic areas.

One suggestion: don't stain a softwood floor. Eventually the finish and stain will wear off and it will be a PITA to 'patch' those areas without refinishing the entire floor. Just varnish or clear finish without changing the color, then when you patch wear spots (near doors, etc.) you can sand and not have to match old stain.
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Go to several lumber yards and see what they have available. I have found the selection and quality is always better at a lumber yard. They may even have some alternatives that you might like. You can sometimes ask for a discount if you are buying quantity.
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I have T&G pine in my house for floors, was in the house when I bought the house, had a polyurethane finish, last year I worked on sanding it off, just the poly, and waxing the buffing the floor, like the less shiny wax look better, has more of a glow then a shine from the poly. tounge and grouve pine is avaible at Home Depot and Lowes, its 3/8ths thick not 3/4's as the floor in here is now, it can be used as wainscoating for your walls as well.

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MissyM wrote:

Fir works well as does pine. Fir does have a tendency to split on edges that makes it a little more difficult to work with but once finished it will be fine.
That said, I can't really recommend the idea of random 1x4 stock laid as a floor unless the idea is a _very_ rustic cabin or you're willing to mill them before laying it. Stock won't be all that straight and more importantly, won't be exactly uniform in width from piece to piece so you won't be able to get a good joint initially, what more after some shrinkage. Material sold as construction grade 1x, while dried, is not dried to the extent that flooring is and as others have noted, moisture is the enemy here.
You can get unfinished #3C oak flooring for around $1/sq-ft which _is_ manufactured to the same specifications as #1C, just has more knots and other wood imperfections which shouldn't be a problem for your desired look.
Here's one online source, most good flooring distributors will have similar or even better closeouts, etc. The other place to look is for places like the Rail Salvage or similar overstock/closeout merchandisers in your location...
http://www.internetlumber.com/lumber-products/Northern-Red-Oak-Floor
--
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I have a log cabin in the woods with 6 dogs, 3 cats and wife. We have tongue and groove knotty pine floors with 3 coats of polyurethane. They have served well for 12 years and only now are in need of some touchup refinishing in high traffic areas. The get a LOT of abuse, eg. dog toenails and sand from outside. I think the original cost was around 50 cents/foot. They look rustic that fits the look of the cabin and we like it. Shrinkage has been minimal. The only minor problem has been a few of the knots have come out and catch dirt.
Harry
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hebinwi wrote:

...
T&G I'd agree w/ fully -- OP was asking about run-of-the-mill construction-grade 1x trim stock. I suggested it would be ok too if it were milled before laying, but I suspect that's beyond capabilities...
--
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