Hard pine is now hardly more expensive than soft pine and, if of the proper grade and sawing, makes a very satisfactory floor at a moderate cost. The best finish is to treat it with boiled linseed oil and after thorough drying with two or more coats of varnish or with shellac and wax, or wax over the varnish.
In the old days of poorly heated houses the fully carpeted floor had good reason for use because of the extra warmth given by the carpet. Now that nearly all new houses have the heating plant in the basement there is no longer the danger of cold drafty floors, and from the standpoint of sanitation, care, upkeep and first expense the argument is all in favor of hardwood floors. Vacuum cleaners came too late to mitigate the evils of carpeted floors.
Many people who would be glad to have the benefit of the use of rugs, feel that they cannot undertake either the trouble or expense of having new floors laid. For such the following suggestions, which have been carried out in actual practice, are given. One woman wished to make over an old soft pine floor, but found the wide cracks a great detriment. She overcame this difficulty by stretching very tightly over the floor strips of old sheeting. To this she applied two coats of paint and thus secured a very satisfactory "border" to her room, the center of which she covered with a rug made of old ingrain carpet which had been ravelled out and woven over.
Another woman secured a very good looking floor from an old, soft pine one with wide cracks by applying first, a coat of linseed oil, after which the cracks were filled with a "crack and crevice filler," then an oak stain and two coats of floor finish were used. The wood work of the floor was inconspicuous because it was of the same general tone as the rest of the wood work of the room.
This treatment of the floor cost $5.00 and the floor is in quite good condition after two years constant use.
In treating an old floor it is well to avoid the use of bright colored stains or paints as such treatment calls attention to the floors; also very dark colors are to be avoided as they show the dust more easily than lighter colors. At the same time it is to be remembered that in the general color scheme of the room, the floors are supposed to carry the deepest tones, the walls to be lighter and the ceiling still lighter. It is well if possible to have the color of the floor blend with the color of the baseboard and with the border of the rug.
The kinds of floor coverings now on the market are so numerous that one can hardly fail to find a suitable one. Fiber carpets and mattings of good color and design can be obtained for a comparatively small sum. Then there are a great variety of American rugs. The "Smyrna" rugs made in Philadelphia are very satisfactory. Oriental rugs with their beautiful durable colors are a constant source of pleasure. It ought to be remembered in selecting any floor covering that the walls and floors are to be a background for the other furnishing. Therefore, patterns and colors that "rise up and hit you," startling colors, immense bouquets and in general large designs are to be avoided. Bright colors in a small pattern or a conventional design make a much better background.