Oil finished wood flooring w/ kids & pets: a mistake?
I'm in the process of updating our 2005 builder-blah home and could really use some flooring advice. I live in the pacific NW and I'm dealing with an above grade concrete slab. We currently have laminate flooring and in all fairness it looks pretty good considering the abuse it gets. We have two small dogs, a couple cats, two kids under two, a husband who refuses to remove shoes upon entry, and a less than stellar housekeeper ;).
The issue I have with the laminate is that is looks fake to me, I dislike the light natural maple color and I cannot stand the clickity-clack of my dogs nails even when they are trimmed short. I do suspect that the light color I detest is part of the reason it's still in decent shape. There are a few dents/gouges from where something sharp and heavy has fallen on it, and the seams are starting to look dark (due to the shoe wearing and lack fastidious cleaning I'm sure). But all in all it looks okay for what it is, I just want something nicer looking that will fit the look of a craftsman cottage with semi-rustic touches that I have planned.
The laminate is throughout the first floor of our open concept home, save for the laundry(vinyl) and living room (carpet). So whatever I replace it with will be in our foyer/hallway, powder room, playroom/den, kitchen & dinning room.
I really want a rustic white oak or hickory floor with an oil finish (solid wood finished on-site w/oil). Will this hold up as well as the laminate has to our pets and kids (think plastic ride-on toys being dragged around)? I imagine it will get some dents/scratches, but A.)the floor will be light-ish and rustic looking already and B.)the oil finish will allow me to buff and reapply the oil to damaged areas if needed. Is that true? Would hickory be better than oak?
So if the wood will work for our scenario what do you think about my DIY plans: Install a utility grade (& maybe some higher grade for longer planks) white oak or hickory over Elastilon? I know this board pooh-poohs LL, but the Elastilon product looks very promising and I haven't been able to find any negative reviews even on UK sites where it has been around longer.
How hard will it be for me (a novice DIY-er) to work with utility grade wood? By using the Elastilon I won't need nails or glue, but I'm worried about the 3-1/4" wood planks being all wonky in shape. Besides LL, any suggestions on where I can get inexpensive character grade oak or hickory? The Elastilon product is just under $2 a sf, so I really don't have much room in my budget for a higher quality flooring. I need something inexpensive and I want it to look rustic.
If my plan sounds like a complete disaster waiting to happen what would you recommend in its place? I'm waiting on some engineered wood & laminate samples from Builddirect.com, but I'm worried that even if they look good to me they might not hold up as well as my current laminate. I have seriously considered a slate floor, but tiled floors are really rare here, my husband will protest the hardness (if given a choice he would have wall-to-wall carpet installed throughout the first level), and I'm not sure I can DIY it. I tested out some vinyl wood planks, but I was able to scuff them with my finger nails, so they are out.
Many thanks in advance for your help!