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Is Pine a Hardwood? Advantages, Disadvantages & FAQ

wood interior design with pine flooring

Pine is not hardwood. It falls into the softwood category, along with cedar, spruce, yew, and many other trees. Hardwoods include broad-leaved trees, such as oak. Conifers typically aren’t considered hardwoods, including pine.

With that said, many people misunderstand the properties of hardwood. Trees are classified based on their seeds and their coatings. If the tree produces seeds with a coating, then it counts as hardwood. Seeds that don’t have a coating fall into the softwood category.

Therefore, the category that wood falls into doesn’t necessarily correspond with the toughness of the wood itself. For instance, yew is a softwood. However, it is tougher than many hardwoods. For this reason, you can’t exactly go off the category the wood goes into.

Pine can be used for a variety of different uses. This wood remains extremely durable, despite being categorized as softwood. This wood can easily last for over 100 years when used as flooring, assuming that you take care of the floor appropriately.

Furthermore, pine can be used for a variety of other purposes, too. Anything that requires significant durability typically benefits from being made of pine.

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Are Pine Floors Expensive?

Generally, pine floors cost less than other wood flooring out there. You can get pine for about half as much as oak costs. Furthermore, pine is pretty easy to find. Out of all the softwoods out there, it is probably one of the easiest to locate, as it is very common.

With that said, pine doesn’t always cost as little as other materials. Tiles and cheaper options will likely be less expensive than pine. However, if you’re set on purchasing wood flooring, then pine is easily one of the cheapest options out there.

Advantages of Pine Flooring

Using pine flooring remains much cheaper than other options out there. Its cheap price is likely the reason most people choose it. As far as wood flooring is concerned, you can’t get much cheaper than pine. Sometimes, you can even purchase pine for less than vinyl flooring.

Furthermore, pine is more sustainable than hardwoods as it grows faster. You can sustainably grow and harvest them easier, allowing you to make less of an impact on the environment. Of course, that assumes that the supplier practices sustainable harvesting.

If you’re worried about sustainability, though, then pine remains a solid option.

Many people like the appearance of pine flooring. There are many different colors available, allowing you to choose the option that best fits your style. Pine usually has pin holes, knots, and similar imperfections. However, these can give the floor some character.

As it ages, pine will develop a distressed look that can make it look far older than it really is. This rustic appearance makes it a great option for log homes and cabins. However, its warm appearance can even provide some character to commercial office buildings or modern homes.

pine wood
Image By: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Disadvantages of Pine Flooring

Despite being quite durable, pine is susceptible to dents and scratches. Therefore, it should begin to show wear soon after being installed. For some designs, this harmless wear provides character and can make the flooring look quite old. However, if you’re looking to maintain pristine flooring, then pine probably isn’t for you.

We highly recommend that you’re careful with heavy furniture, as it can leave deep gouges in the wood. Dragging furniture around can cause scratches that go beyond just adding character.

Of course, you can improve the durability of pine by finishing it. Providing a couple of coats of polyurethane can make pine flooring less susceptible to bumps.

Pine requires quite a bit of maintenance to look its best, as well. For your floors to look good, you’ll have to regularly dust them in a way that limits scratching. You’ll also have to regularly sand, stain, and coat your floors. Because pine can be more prone to scratching, maintenance becomes even more important.

How often you need to refinish depends on the amount of traffic the floors get. In a home with only one or two adults, the finish may last 10 years without a significant problem. However, if you have lots of children and pets, the floor’s finish may only last 5 years.

Usually, pine floors are sold unfinished. Therefore, you’ll need to finish them after they are installed. There are many ways to do this, allowing you to choose an option to fit your preferences. You can also finish the floors by yourself if you wish, though many hire professionals to do it.

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Is Pine Better Than Hardwood?

Yes and no. It really depends on what you’re looking for in wood flooring. Pine tends to last a long time. However, it is quite prone to scratches and dents and will show its age, and won’t stay pristine for long. For this reason, we highly recommend it to those looking for a more antique feel.

However, if you’re looking to maintain pristine floors for a long time, pine probably isn’t the best option for you.

We do recommend pine for those on a strict budget, as well. Pine costs much less than most other flooring options out there. Therefore, it’s a great option for those that want wood floors but don’t want to pay the high price of one. In some cases, you can even get pine for cheaper than vinyl.

However, if you’re using the wood in a high-traffic area, then you have to consider the maintenance costs, as well. Pine does require quite a bit of maintenance and regular re-finishing.

Washoe Pine
Image Credit: Dominic Gentilcore PhD, Shutterstock

Can You Leave Pine Floors Unfinished?

Most pine flooring is sold unfinished. Finishing it adds to the price and costs of installing the wood. Therefore, it only makes sense that many homeowners would like to skip the finishing step.

You can leave pine unfinished but this will greatly diminish its durability. The finish works to prevent scratches and dents.

It’s up to you whether the extra wear is worth not finishing the wood or not. Raw wood floors are becoming more and more popular. They generally require less maintenance, as well, since you won’t have to worry about redoing the finish.

wood divider Conclusion

Pinewood may not be one of the most popular floorings out there. However, this wood works well in many different situations. On the one hand, this wood is inexpensive and lasts longer than you would expect. There are some pine floors in existence that are over 100 years old, proving that this floor can last a really long time.

However, this flooring is prone to bumps and scratches and it takes on an aged appearance very quickly. This style doesn’t work in all homes. Of course, the extra wear can provide some character in more modern homes and office buildings.

In the end, it mostly depends on what you’re looking for in your wood flooring.

Featured Image Credit:, Shutterstock


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