One too many floor surfaces?

Angie_DIYNovember 22, 2011

I am seeking opinions on the floor treatment for the small hallway just outside my kitchen. The area in question is about a 3' x 4' section where the door swing to the powder room is indicated below:

This hallway and the original kitchen had pine floors. When I tore out the kitchen, I was not able to save the pine in the kitchen, but I was able to save it in this hallway. It was covered by an underlayment glued down with water-soluble glue (thank goodness!). Today, I just got done soaking, sanding, and scraping it. (The part on the right is wet, the part on the left is dry):

(Don't you just adore the lovely sheet vinyl on the stairs? That used to cover the hallway in question and the kitchen.)

I like the pine well enough, but I am worried that there are too many floor surfaces in propinquity. The kitchen will be red and white travertine, and the living room has red oak:

In addition, the powder room has a small-tile, black and white floor:

(Although the powder-room door is generally closed.)

Seems to me the choices for the hallway are:

A) Keep the pine. (Probably stain to try to match the red oak.)

B) Tear out the pine and replace with red oak.

C) Tear out the pine and extend the travertine kitchen floor there.

D) (least likely) Extend the black and white 8" square tile that is in the basement and the main basement stairs up to the landing by the door, then up the small stairs to the hallway in question.

E) Use a brilliant suggestion from GW.

I am not yet sure what I will do with the stairs now covered by the vinyl. Probably try to return them to wood, unless I use option D.

Any thoughts on what might go best here?

Thanks, A_D

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Because I'm rather practical when it comes to flooring, you point out that the side door is heavily used into that area so I would probably use the travertine and not hardwood. It should stand up to wear better. There will be a lot of feet turning in that space - coming up and going down the stairs, into and out of the bathroom, entering and exiting out the side door. You're not walking just straight but actually twisting/turning the feet. Does that make sense?

Unless of course you want to relay the sheet vinyl that you have on the stairs? That could be option E.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 10:40PM
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If the house was built before 1950, I think you can get away with finishing the pine and being done with it. Matching the oak would likely be imperfect and/or expensive.

If the area is adequately supported for the stone, extending the travertine would be ideal, I think, giving you a good solid floor at the top of the stairs. You could even extend it into the powder room. Depends on how big a job you want to make of it. Unless it's a contemporary house, all the different floors just speak to the house's history and are fine.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 10:41PM
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Circus Peanut

I'd stain the pine to match the oak and be done with it. It's amazing how uniform wood can look when it's all stained and finished the same.

I say this having spent all week dying new pine quarterround molding to match our 90yr old douglas fir baseboards. :-)

If it's a heavy traffic area, in some ways wood might be safer than tile? I often slip on tile, esp with wet shoes (but then I'm a total klutz).

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 11:03PM
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Thanks for the comments and suggestions.

BlF, yes, I know exactly what you mean about the turning of the feet. Ever look at the wear patterns on any leather-soled shoes? They are circular!

Unless of course you want to relay the sheet vinyl that you have on the stairs? That could be option E.
Smile when you say that, blf! (shudder...)

Plllog, the house is from 1930. I like your thinking on the palimpsest effect (now that I know its architectural rather than its parchment or codex meaning).
You raise a good point about the support for that area. I adequately stiffened the joists under the kitchen, but did not make a concerted effort under that area. Happily, I just checked, and it should be fine. Of the 3 joists under that area, two are fine (one supported elsewhere, one I stiffened "accidentally").

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 11:21PM
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Circus: you are probably correct about the invisibility once color-matched. I think there are probably 4 people in the world who would notice: plllog, one of my girlfriends, palimpsest, and my sister. And probably none would care.

I suppose I don't have anything to lose to try staining the pine. If I will change it, I do have to make a final decision soon, though, as I hope to do the kitchen floor next.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 5:37PM
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I am with you on staining the pine. Keep it simple where you can...

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:19PM
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Definetly stain the pine.
In our house, we had to stain a red oak saddle to match our pine floors when we reno-ed our kitchen.
After applying several coats of different color stain, I was able to get the match, not perfect, but so close that only I notice it.
My guess is that you'll have 3 saddles in that space, one at each floor transition and one leading to the powder room.
That should help "fool" your eye into blending the slight color mismatch between the different floors.
The only one who'll notice the difference in graining will be you.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Depending on budget and other decor in the house, it might be fun to do something eye-catching like a mosaic or something like a 2x2" mosaic stone/glass tile. I have a couple of marble mosaics and they're a terrific accent that I still enjoy the heck out of after 5 years.

Otherwise the options of staining to match the other wood or extending the kitchen travertine both sound like good solutions to me.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 11:41PM
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Thanks, Dianolo. I guess if anyone knows about unnecessary troubles, it is you! I do hope things are going well for you.

Will: Thanks for the moral support! Yes, I was banking on the thresholds to help hide the transitions.

Chiefneil: If I were going to do that, I would probably replicate the earthy tiles in my front foyer or fireplace hearth (oh, goodness, I didn't know the fireplace tiles looked so dirty!):

I love these, but I don't think I am up for a project like that! I am glad to know you still are charmed by your efforts after this long.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 12:28AM
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Circus Peanut

Since it's a wooden stairwell and gets lots of use, you might do best to avoid tile, even if you stiffen the joists below. You'd have to deal with adding 3/4" height to the existing subfloor, also (or whatever the total of substrate, mortar, tile thickness would be) which might throw the door saddles off - although I know you're more than qualified to deal with those issues. Don't borrow trouble, perhaps?

To me, a wood 'foyer' (as it were) best matches the style of an older house and brings out the beauty of the surrounding doors, although this is by no means stylistically definitive.

Happy Thanksgiving as you mull over the project!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 7:48AM
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Another vote for staining it! I just love old floors and the mis-match doesn't bother me one bit. After all that work getting them cleaned up - enjoy the beauty of the wood and your work. ;)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 8:35AM
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After all the work has been finished, I thought I would update this thread. Last winter, I decided to put tile in the area that I sought advice about in this thread. I had already shown some pictures of that area in the spring in other threads but will repeat one here. Here is a view from the LR into the hallway in question and on into the kitchen. Obviously, I decided to continue the kitchen pattern into the hallway, and to add a decorative border at the top of the stairs:

I still had to decide how to treat the stairs (visible on the left of the above picture) and a landing that leads to the outside. I continued the border pattern down the stairs (which matches the pattern that goes down the full set of stairs to the basement):

I also fabricated the plinths at the top of the stairs to provide a transition between the two different baseboards. (Previously, there was a doorway there so the baseboards did not meet.) I just put a simple ogee detail at the top of a 1x3 poplar board to form those.

and then I put a herringbone pattern on the landing:

I again used epoxy grout (Spectralok Latte) and matching caulk at where the plane changes.

I really like the overall effect! Very happy with it so far.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Another vote for staining the pine to match the oak

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:28AM
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That turned out great!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:35AM
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Wow, that is beautiful, Angie! Very nice work--you have such a good eye.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:45AM
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This looks amazing. Just perfect. Congrats.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:19AM
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I missed this thread last year (was moving). Thanks for showing the final result. Your DIY skills continue to amaze me! The project looks great, and I'm glad to see the final conclusion.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:49AM
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Island, thank you for your vote, but I am afraid that ship has sailed! :-)

(Fellow) Badger, sjerin, Kris_ma, and Breezy: Seriously, thank you for the kind words. I think you, in general, overstate the case! But thank you!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:06PM
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Looks great! I think that decision worked well for you.

Somehow when you posted before I missed the bathroom floor. I love that mosaic! Do you have any info about it?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Angie--I refuse to believe, based on the descriptions and pics of what you've done at your own home along with how easily the answers to complicated questions on the forum seem to roll off your fingertips, that I am overstating. :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:37PM
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Williamsem: No, I am afraid I don't have any info on that tile. I am pretty sure it is original to the house, although I do not know that for certain. (It was the same height as the original wood floors, so I suspect it was never redone.) I assume you did see the better picture of it in the OP? (If you want a better picture, I can take one.)

Breezy: Awww, shucks! Merci.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:05AM
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Angie_diy -Wahoo, looks fabulous! Love the plinths as a transition and love how you have connected so many surfaces/patterns together.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 6:58AM
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Thank you, OB2B!

Re-looking at my own pictures, it perhaps looks a little busy here, but looks fine IRL.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:48PM
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