Guide to Pine Flooring 2023: Cost, Options, Pros and Cons

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guide to pine flooring

When it comes to hardwood flooring most people think about oak, hickory or even walnut.

Pine, though, is a type of hardwood floor, classified as a softwood.

Pine flooring has been around for decades and is currently making waves as an option to harder, colder woods.

Pine flooring isn’t for everyone, though, and that is the main challenge. Because of its softer, warmer nature, pine has great colors, tones and aesthetics, but it doesn’t hold up well in high traffic homes.

This article will look at the good and the bad sides of pine flooring to help you decide if the natural look and highly affordable flooring option is right for you. We will also compare pine to other popular wood types to help you make a well-informed purchasing decision.

Key Takeaways:

Pine flooring will likely cost between $2 and $5 for each square foot. It is very easy to install, cost-effective, versatile, long-lasting, and stylish. However, it also needs closer maintenance than other wood options, and doesn’t always stain well. Consider choosing between one of 200 different species – as well as decorative or usable styles and smooth or knotty boards.

Pine Flooring Options

There are several aspects of pine flooring that give you plenty of options when making your selection.

  • Heartwood or Sapwood? Heartwood is from the middle of the tree, offering darker tones and more durable boards. Sapwood is brighter, softer and cheaper.
  • Solid or Engineered? With solid wood boards they are a single piece cut from one tree. Engineered boards are a combination of woods with a pin layer on top.
  • Yellow or White? Pine has over 200 species and they all produce a slightly different color. Most pine used in flooring comes in yellow or white pine or heartwood pine which is much darker.
  • Smooth or Knotty? More expensive options reduce the appearance of knots. However pine floor enthusiasts enjoy the deep, rich and dark knots that are common on the boards.
  • Decorative or Usable? Pine floors are meant to be walked on. But softer pine (yellow and white) may be too soft for more than light foot traffic and generally found in a more decorative setting.

What is Pine Flooring?

Pine wood is a sustainable flooring plank option. With over 200 various point trees the wood from each offers a slightly different flooring experience.

With white and yellow pine, you get younger trees that grow much faster and are more sustainable.

Longleaf pine has some of the hardiest and most durable woods, but are scarce and take longer to grow. While heart wood is also tougher and more durable, sapwood is easier to harvest and replenish and offers brighter coloring.

Unlike more popular options like white oak, pine is also a softwood. While it makes an excellent floor, there are more care and maintenance concerns than other options. If you can live with the higher maintenance levels, pine is affordable, comfortable and easy to install.

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Pine Options for Your Floor

buyers guide right pine floors
Before you head out or call a local contractor to install a new pine floor, there are several factors to consider. Below, you will find those factors and why you need to consider them before you buy.

Area/Coverage Size

The area size of your project will be a large factor for the overall cost. Pine floors are sold in planks or boards by the square foot.

To get enough materials you should know the square foot of your floor, room or home and then add about 10 to 14% more to ensure you have enough.

Obviously, the more material you need for the project, the higher the cost. You also want to try to save money by not having to take extra trips to buy more material.

Flooring Type

Pine has several different types of wood to use, from white pine to yellow pine, you can pick the right fit for your needs.

Sapwood is brighter, cheaper and less durable than heartwood. Heartwood, though, is harder to find, more expensive and darker in color.

Whether you choose solid hardwood planks for engineered planks, you still need to decide on the color, tone, style and type of pine wood you want to use.

Board/Plank Size

On average, pine planks are wider than other hardwood options, such as oak and mahogany. You can find thinner planks in some brands but often they will still be wider than the other wood plank options.

You also want to figure out the length of the boards being offered by the chosen brand. Longer boards may require more frequent cutting for proper install, but still result in less end joints that can cause issues down the road.

Subfloor Issues

Like most hardwood flooring, the subfloor is important. If your subfloor is damaged, cracked or warped, the wood planks won’t sit right. This means you may need to perform subfloor repairs, lay new plywood or make alterations.

With engineered pine boards, you can get away with more subfloor imperfections, but not many. Also, as with all wood flooring, if your planks don’t have an underlayment attached, you will need some sort of moisture barrier.


Pine wood floors are higher maintenance than other types of wood because they are softer and are more prone to scratches and denting. Cleaning takes a little more effort. You will need to sweep and dust mop the floor.

Mopping is recommended, but it should be a damp mop at most, with wet mopping highly discouraged.

Cost & Warranty

Pine is highly affordable, with most brands and options ranging between $2 and $5 per square foot. Of course, the type of pine, brand and square footage you buy will all affect the price. You also want to pay attention to the warranty.

Many warranties will cover the flooring from damage, colors, defects and other issues until they are installed. Once installed, many warranties stop or become severely limited. Make sure you understand what is covered, for how long and what is required to make a claim.

Pine Floor Pros, Cons and Ratings

pros and cons guide to pine flooring

In this section we will look at the good and bad points of pine hardwood flooring. With the softwood being affordable and eye-catching, there is a lot going for it.

However, not everything is ideal for everyone and the negative aspects may be a turn off for some. Once you go through the pros and cons, take a look at the overall ratings where we look at pine, as a whole, on several key factors.
Simple installationHigher maintenance than other wood options
Low product costDoesn’t hold stain well
Multiple colors availableNot readily available in all areas
Knots and grain patterns change oftenHeartwood is not sustainable and more expensive
Can choose between heartwood or sapwood optionsLow quality options are difficult to distinguish until installed
Pick your board width and length 
Doesn’t expand or contract like other woods 
Can withstand decades of use 

Pine Floor Ratings

  • VOC Content Possibility: 2
  • Warranty: 3.5
  • Durability: 3.5
  • Installation: 4
  • Price: 3
  • Quality: 4
  • Eco-Friendliness: 4
  • Overall Rating: 3.4

Installing Pine Floors

Most hardwood floors require professional installation. Solid hardwood is more difficult to install, requires precision cutting, special tools and knowledge of solid wood expansions. While solid hardwood can be installed as a DIY project, that is better left to the engineered wood planks.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between DIY and professional installation methods. Each one has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps you will find one method suits your needs better than the other.

DIY Installation

With the engineered wood planks you get slotted boards designed to lock together with minimal effort. They only need to be cut on the ends when the total length is longer than the width of the room. In rare instances width or edge cutting for the final row may be needed.

You can save up to $8 per square foot over professional installation costs, which can equate to thousands of dollars in savings.

However, with DIY installs you are responsible for all clean up, subfloor repairs, cutting, repairs and staining. While you do save money, you lose a lot of time, your effort and the learning curve, if you’ve never installed flooring before.

If you are attempting solid pine wood installation, the task is much more difficult. There are a lot more cuts needed, and measurements need to be exact. In this instance, we recommend professional installation.

Professional Installation

With professional installation the contractor will measure your home, order the flooring, inspect the subfloor and much more. Not only will they perform all the repairs, but they can also remove existing flooring, prep subfloors for install and will also perform the clean up.

What you need to know, though, is that contractors can be expensive. On average hardwood flooring install will add $4 to $8 per square foot over the cost of the flooring. While the cost can be high, the expertise and speed of installation are more than worth it.

The hard part is finding a reliable and local contractor. On that front, we can help. Our free to use contractor locator tool will have you ready in minutes. Not only will it find local contractors but they will also have their background checks complete. All results are also checked for certifications, ratings and reviews.

Once you have the results, you can call up to four contractors and set up the estimates and find the best rate for your project.

Pine Vs. Oak Flooring

Oak flooring is one of the most popular and durable hardwood flooring options on the market at the moment. With white oak and red oak options, you have the tone and color options similar to the selection from pine.

Oak is more durable on the Janka hardness scale, but it is close. Heart pine can reach up to 1220 on the scale and white oak rates about 1360 while red oak hits about 1290. With similar hardness it falls apart with longleaf and new growth pine, which can be as low as 400 on the hardness scale.

Oak is cheaper, more durable and readily available. These obvious pluses make it easy to see why oak flooring is so popular. However, pine, when treated well and cared for properly, can last longer than oak.

Your main choice here comes down to durability for high traffic areas (oak) and longevity in looks and performance (pine).

Pine Vs. Hickory Flooring

Hickory is the leading US sourced wood flooring. With 12 native species to the US, plus several types native to Mexico, hickory is popular, durable and beautiful. It is among the more expensive wood flooring options because while it is primarily US sourced, it is still scarce.

Similar to old growth and heartwood pine, hickory is abundant in nature but doesn’t grow very fast so harvesting for flooring and other uses puts a strain on the supply while demand remains high.

Hickory flooring has many tones but most are in the reddish and lighter orange tones. It is a naturally beautiful wood that needs little maintenance, which also adds to its popularity. With the cost, though, it is a turn off for many and prices can easily reach double digits per square foot (with or without installation).

Compared to pine, hickory is stronger, hardier and more durable. However, even with all of that, it doesn’t last as long, provided the pine is well cared for. Unlike pine, though, hickory doesn’t require staining or sealing and if left natural it will still hold up well.

Pine, though, has lighter tones and comes at a cheaper price, even for the more expensive options. Because of that, pine is highly sought after and when left with a choice between these two woods, pine generally wins.

Care and Maintenance of Pine Floors

care and maintenance of pine floors
Pine is one of the most maintenance intensive wood floorings on the market. It shows dust and dirt a lot more than other types of wood. You will need to sweep and dust mop at least twice a week. Depending on your location and even the time of year, it might even be daily sweeping.

If you decide to use a vacuum, you need a model designed for hardwood floors. Suction only models are the recommended option. You don’t want to use vacuum with a beater bar or brush roller as they can scratch the pine wood surface.

You also need to finish the flooring after install. Most pine is sold and shipped unfinished. You can stain the floor after install, but pine doesn’t take stain well. The intensive process looks great but takes a lot of time.

You also need to seal the stain which may need to be reapplied every couple of years. While the maintenance and care routine for pine floors are more intensive, in the long run it is worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq guide to pine flooring

In this section we will answer some of the more common questions about pine floors. If you have other questions or concerns please use the comment section below.

Q. Is pine flooring worth it?

  1. Pine flooring is an affordable solution for many rooms and homes. Pine is high maintenance and isn’t the most durable of the wood planks. The benefits outweigh the negatives and with a highly affordable plank, pine is well worth it.

Q. Why does pine flooring have such a wide range of pricing?

  1. Pine is one of the popular wood choices but there is a large variance in the quality of the planks that are produced. Low quality pine comes from the young growth trees and the outer lumber. It has much more knotting and grain visible and is a much softer wood. Old growth pine is stronger and more durable, but costs a lot more.

Q. Where can I buy pine flooring?

  1. You can purchase pine at a number of wood flooring dealers. Depending on the brand or type of pine flooring you can find options at home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Mernard’s. You can also look for dealers through the chosen brand’s website as most will have dealer look up tools to use.

Q. Does furniture dent pine flooring?

  1. Heavy furniture that isn’t properly protected with foot pads can cause some damage to cheaper pine floors. When furniture sits for a long period it can cause some denting, though this is rare and high quality pine floors won’t show damage, scratching or denting when proper care is taken.


Pine flooring is a reliable and aesthetically pleasing wood option. It is highly affordable, has a lot of coloring choices and has DIY install potential. There are a few negatives to the flooring solution, though, such as being higher maintenance and less strength than other wood floors.

The benefits outweigh the disadvantages. With pine flooring you will have a surface that lasts for decades. The initial costs being lower mixed with the eye-pleasing colors make this sustainable flooring option one of the most popular currently on the market.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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