Volumes might be written upon the subject of floors and their finishing, covering and care. Pine, hard and soft, maple, ash, and oak are the kinds of timber most often used in floors. Soft pine has the advantage of being least expensive. Oak is by many considered the best wood for floor uses, particularly if it is quarter-sawn. All woods darken in time if treated with oil.
Maple is preferred by those who object to the dark floors, as the closeness of its grain prevents the rapid absorption and consequent darkening by oil. The stained, painted, oiled or waxed floor partly covered by rugs is steadily growing in favor and displacing the floor covered with carpet.
There is much to be said in favor of the finished floor. It saves the tugging and pulling sometimes necessary to make the carpet fit. It simplifies very much the problem of house cleaning. Instead of that week or two in the spring and fall when all the carpets were taken up, pounded, beaten, stretched and pulled with the resulting finger and back aches, with the rug covered floor, the rugs are removed as often as need be, shaken, the floors wiped off with a damp or oiled cloth and the rugs relaid with much less expenditure of energy. The rugs are much lighter and easier to handle and the dust which accumulates under the ordinary carpet is thus dispensed with; so the rug covered floor is apt to be more sanitary. Some people object to any bare floor where there are children or elderly people. This can easily be obviated by the use of large rugs with borders of matting or filling.
No exact statistics can be given as to the comparative time required in caring for a room with waxed or painted floors with rugs, and one covered with carpet. The testimony of one woman who had the care of eight carpeted rooms for years, is given. After one of them had been transformed by floor finish and two rugs, she said that she would rather care for three such rooms than one carpeted one.
The question as to whether the finish shall be paint, varnish, shellac or wax must be decided by the expense and by the use of the rooms. Wax and varnish are not desirable if the floor is to be subjected to the tread of many dusty feet. The oiled or painted floor will stand the wiping with the damp cloth to remove the dust much better. A little kerosene or milk added to the water used in sponging will serve to brighten either the paint or oil.
THE UPPER HALL PLAN No. 2.
AN ATTRACTIVE HALL WITH HARDWOOD FLOORS From House in Plan No. 2, Page 62.
Before a floor is treated with varnish or wax, the pores of the porous woods are usually filled with a paste filler, which may be combined with a stain if other than natural finish is desired. This treatment brings out the grain of the wood and prevents the absorption of too much of the more expensive finish.