I want to replace carpet with hardwood, but have a dog and a kid, and have heard horror stories of them scratching and marring the pretty surface. So I'm considering a different approach: buying inexpensive "tavern grade" flooring that's already got character and scratches and holes and stuff. They way when they mess it up, you won't even notice! I've got a few samples of some nice tavern-grade oak and it looks like this:

Tavern-grade hardwood oak

Sunlit tavern-grade hardwood oak

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? Will my plan work? Also, they're charging $2.59/square foot for this. Does that seem like a reasonable price?

Finally, the subfloor is a slab so I'm considering doing a glue-down install so I don't have to build a plywood subfloor, which would add considerably to floor height and make transitions to the other tile and carpet areas awkward.

Before anyone asks, I haven't found anything engineered that I like the look of. Handscraped stuff looks fake, and most of the wirebrushed floors are too light or dark to work in the space. That said, if anyone knows where you can pick up some wirebrushed butterscotch oak with a wear layer of at least 2mm, that would pretty much be ideal.

  • You'll notice the damage still. You may not be bothered by it as much, but it will be noticeable. If you use solid wood, they aren't really damaging anything, only changing the cosmetics. It's up to you if that's bothersome or not. Solid wood can always be refinished.
    – bcworkz
    Jan 18, 2014 at 2:04
  • Where are you (So that the $ amount has context). Jan 18, 2014 at 5:10
  • That's an internet price: builddirect.com/Hardwood-Flooring/Butterscotch/…
    – iLikeDirt
    Jan 18, 2014 at 5:54
  • I like your choice. I've personally put down three rooms of oak flooring in our home and we still really love it. But, I nailed it down, so I can't offer any advice on gluing it. As for the price, sounds good to me based on what I paid in Charleston, SC. One more thing: you can always add rugs to protect the floor in high traffic areas.
    – getterdun
    Jan 21, 2014 at 4:04
  • The word you're looking for is "Distressed" which is all the rage among those who want their lodgings to look like they've been lived in for a century. It's bought pre-worn and pre-marred kind of like those high dollar jeans. Feb 18, 2014 at 2:40

2 Answers 2


Not only have I installed a few tavern grade floors but I bought both from build-direct.

I think some people are confused. This is not engineered. You will have a LOT of variety. So you better like all of the character or you will throw literally half out and any savings will be out the window.

As far as holding up to kids and dogs I would do a thorough scratch test. Really you are testing the top coat. Take a hammer to it, a screwdriver, and put on some heels and dig them in. Whenever doing a floor from build-direct we get at least 5 samples and go over the durability of each before purchase. I am very surprised at the the variance, especially with the engineered.

For the wood you picked out, it requires nail down. Which means you will need to put down a subfloor. There are hardwoods that you can glue down to concrete subfloor but most "home" subfloors are not smoothed enough to support this type of install - which is mainly for apartment buildings. You would need to take pictures of your subfloor to know for sure. Anyway I certainly wouldn't plan on doing an "odd" install with tavern/utility grade.

I am not sure what type of dog you have but I am guessing you have one that would scratch a wood floor. So I would suggest that you take the engineered flooring out of the equation. Which means you can float vinyl planks - there are some that look a lot like the Jasper you want or you need to get the subfloor put in.


Given a desire for glue-down, low cost, actual wood and not too thick: You might look at/for solid wood parquet - the stuff that's just 6 inch blocks (4 glued into 12-inch blocks) of solid wood strips, not the monster blocs at monster prices with backing squares that make a thicker floor.

Before laminate really gained acceptance, there were some very inexpensive options in this line at the large box stores - I don't know if that would be true anymore, I certainly have not seen as much of it there, and what I can find right now seems relatively more expensive.

My first install run was with the old-fashined solvent adhesive, which was fairly unpleasant to work with. The next batch I did the low-VOC latex adhesives had come nto the market (or into the store) and that was 9 times more pleasant. A very satisfying DIY. At first I was freaked out by the need to cut the metal strips that hold the 6" groups together, but then I found that a standard coping saw blade sliced right through them without damage.


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