Re: common house flooring-questions
From: kathleengroshong (
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:53:15 -0700 (PDT)
-------- Original message --------From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> Date: 3/14/18  12:28 PM  (GMT-08:00) To: Cohousing-L 
<cohousing-l [at]> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ common house 
> On Mar 14, 2018, at 2:35 PM, Kathleen Groshong <kathleengroshong [at] 
>> wrote:
> We are considering oak flooring in dining room, or possibly marmoleum, and 
> marmoleum in the kitchen and
> bathroom.

> What has been your community's experience with oak flooring in dining room?

We have oak flooring in our dining room. 17 years of use. We did not maintain 
it adequately in the early years so when we did finally sand it down, it had to 
be done 3 times to remove all the dirt and grime in the grain. And the seams 
had to be cleaned with an elegant instrument known a church key. It has been 
done again and may have to be replaced in a few years but only because of lack 
of maintenance.

Our vintage floor person said never be late for the maintenance party. Every 
1-2 years, depending on use, put on coats of polyurethane so you are wearing 
down the finish and not the wood. Sweep after every meal and if you don’t have 
regular meals, at least once a week. Dust, crumbs, etc., get ground into the 
finish unless it is removed. If you do that any sanding is done only to remove 
built up surface finish.

We have had trouble with plastic feet on chairs and high chairs. One reason is 
that they have been taken outside for use on the concrete and been scratched, 
but they have also been scratched by being scraped over the floors. The 
flooring people confirmed that this does scratch the floors — some doubt this 
is possible since the plastic is theoretically softer than wood. So the feet 
may need to be metal, inspected and replaced, and not used outdoors. Since the 
feet on our chairs aren’t used anymore, we purchased everything left in the 
warehouse. The chairs are still wonderful but we will run out of feet.

Of all the flooring we have in the CH — rugs, carpets, Marmoleum, Anderson 
linoleum, rubber mats — the oak flooring is my favorite. It is warm in look and 
feel, easily cleaned, and can be spot repaired. You can install oak flooring in 
a large room and use rugs to unify seating and activity areas. We have two soft 
seating areas in the dining room with the tables and chairs in the center of 
the room. You can also use squares of Marmoleum or carpet squares like FLOR if 
you have heavy use areas. 

I love the Marmoleum in the kitchen because it is soft and quiet and handles 
water well and is easy to clean, but in a living area it doesn’t feel “homey”. 
It sends the wrong signals — gym, playroom, laundry room, kitchen. Water 

We also replaced our cork tiles a few years ago. In my opinion the cork has not 
held up well. Cork also requires finishing with polyurethane, but 
recommendations for care of cork is not consistent. Because it is a natural 
material people seem to think it means no maintenance. It doesn’t. The floors 
in the NY Public Research Library are a cork and beautiful. But they are 
professionally polished regularly. the feel is more like wood than a wine cork.

We have cork tile in a path around the DR which marks an accessible path to the 
mailboxes, laundry room, etc. (don’t block the path) and quiets traffic. If you 
purchase cork with a hard finish applied you have the problem of wearing down 
the hard surface to show the cork below. It easily gouges and scratches. 
Replacing the tiles means different colors but cork fades fairly quickly to a 
common color.

> For oak, what finish was used?  How often is sanding required and how long
> does finish last in between sandings?

Purchase solid oak. Hard oak. Old as you can get. New wood is soft. Reclaimed 
oak floors might even be the best. Our oak is “engineered” with a laminate of 
oak on top. Thus it can only be refinished about 3 times. Some say only once. A 
real oak floor well-maintained and finished should last “forever”.

For new communities, you might install something less expensive and begin 
saving immediately for a later installation of oak.

Home Advisor has a good page comparing costs, advantages, and disadvantages of 
various types of flooring.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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