More pondering, this time about the floors

Alternate title: Can someone gift us ~3,500 square feet of old factory flooring? Because that’s what we’d love to install throughout the firehouse. Reality hits pretty hard when you start looking at the price of reclaimed wood.

Assuming that the scratch-off lottery tickets Santa always tucks in our stockings don’t pay out big this year, we’re on the hunt for more economical floor coverings. While we don’t need to install anything right away, we do need to make some serious decisions before the kitchen reno we’re noodling.

Right now the firehouse floors are a hodge podge. Downstairs the kitchen is covered in dark tile. The best thing I can say about the tile is that it doesn’t show a lot of dirt.


The rest of the downstairs has been coated in an epoxy akin to what you would put in a finished garage. The fun (sarcasm) thing about this coating is that it would either need to be removed via shot blasting or covered completely. The options get thin when you consider the 4″ lip that borders the wall to the studio which has also been COVERED in this material. Palm meet face…


Upstairs, the same coating exists in the living area and hall, except it’s a nice shade of poop brown.


Both guest bedrooms have low-quality laminate flooring.



And we can tell in the workout room that the former floor left a lot of… glue?? We think it may be residue from old linoleum tile.


The master suite is a combo of uninspiring ceramic tile.


We don’t HAVE to decide on floors for the upstairs, but we do want to consider the overall aesthetic. Aaron’s been pinning lot of options. If you want a glimpse into “what’s in their heads/what could we see in the future in the firehouse” you should definitely follow Aaron’s Pinterest account. If your Pinterest interests lie more in the cooking/desserts/some home stuff/really random, then feel free to follow mine as well.

But I digress, let’s take a look at some of the contenders.

Painted Plywood


Image via Little Green Notebook

I love, love, love this image. It seems I’m not alone considering nearly 200 people have re-pinned it from Aaron’s page.

This would certainly be a cheap option, but we’re not sure how to get that perfectly weathered look. We could paint some plywood and let it wear, but the traffic patterns would be pretty pronounced. Painting and sanding prior to installation seems like it might work. The other knock on this option is that it would be a pretty bold pattern when spread across a lot of space.

Plank Plywood


Image found on Pinterest (Original source)

Another economical choice, that’s getting kind of popular on Pinterst. We like it because we could do wide planks that would be reminiscent of an old factory floor. But it would take a lot of time for Aaron to fabricate all of the pieces and the subfloor.

Stained Concrete


Image found on Pinterest (Original source)

True to our industrial loving hearts, we’ve always been fans of stained concrete. Truthfully we were a little bummed that the concrete floors in the firehouse had already been epoxyed. Considering the square footage we need to cover, shot blasting the floors clean and staining them might actually be a good option. Cost is a big question mark, as is whether the concrete will look good enough to be stained when the shot blasting is done.

Steel Floors


Image found on Pinterest (Original Source)

This wins the “interesting use of materials” category. We like the dark look and the chance to incorporate more steel, but we’re not sure of the logistics. We don’t love the tile pattern above so we could try DIY-ing it with some bigger panels.

Thoughts? Votes? Winning lottery tickets?


  1. Oh, man. I do not envy you the cost. Or the DIY install. But the steel floors would be hot. And maybe loud? With doggie pitter patter, and slippage? I wonder if you could only remove the baseboard treatment, but leave the rest of the original flooring? Or fashion some sort of high baseboard sleeve to cover them without the cost/effort of removal? The plywood wide plank is a cool option, and would give you the chance to play with a visual texture at a price point that seems reasonable. I worry that the downstairs, with all the tile and high ceilings, would feel cold or sterile with a solid stained concrete, despite how great they look. And the upstairs glue stains might make you wish you’d just covered it all up in the first place. (Like I said, I don’t envy your bill at the end of that.) And now I’m off to add Aaron to my Pinterest feed. πŸ™‚

    1. I actively try not to think about the cost. The good news is that we’re NOT doing it all at once. We really just need a game plan.
      Good point on the noise from steel floors. It’s a really cool idea, but there are a lot of logistics that we just don’t know. I’d call that particular option the least likely.
      Also, I’m not sure we’d do the same material everywhere. I could see doing stained concrete downstairs and opting for some sort of wood floor upstairs. I think the glue removal is going to be a nightmare…

  2. My office is a rehabbed industrial space and uses the steel tile floors. Not sure how old they are (I’d guess 10ish years given Wash Ave. development), but you can definitely see the traffic patterns. Big old splotches of discoloration in front of the coffee maker and copier πŸ™

    1. Interesting. Thanks for tip. We definitely don’t want something that’s going to show traffic… or spills πŸ™‚

  3. Oh and holler if you want me to send you pics.

  4. So much space! So much $$$ needed. My in-laws have stained concrete floors in their basement (heated too) and they are so lovely. Can’t wait to see what you figure out!

    1. Oooh! We pondered raising the floor and adding heating, but that’s an even worse logistical nightmare. Lol!

  5. So many options…we are having enough trouble deciding on 1500 square foot of wood flooring so we can ditch our dee-skusting cat-ified carpeting. Blah. About the only advice I can offer is never have wall to wall carpeting if you own cats. Ever.

    1. Ha! Yeah wall to wall carpeting is a no go. Aaron hates it and we don’t even own cats. πŸ™‚

  6. The plank plywood is kind of gorgeous. You could sand it down a bit and then go to town with a hammer, some tap shoes, play fetch with Mojo, drop weights, and basically ding and scrape the heck out of it so it looked like the old hand-scraped reclaimed boards you were looking for. Also some hardware stores *cough* Home Depot *cough* will cut plywood for you into the lengths you need when you buy it. No extra charge. Enough plywood to re-floor your entire house would probably earn you a few dirty looks…but it would sure speed up the process!

    1. Hahaha! I can just imagine the looks we’d get by asking Home Depot to cut all our wood. Lol!

  7. […] made any changes to the kitchen, but we are noodling some options (like the wall removal and flooring) as we head toward a total overhaul (hopefully starting later this year) Plan changes: We’re […]

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