buying a house where the old floors (prob wood and flagstones) have been vandalised removed. I want to put something old or old looking back on the ground floor. Maybe not the kitchen if this would need something different.
It has to be real wood and it has to be knocked about (not perfect,flush, gloss iyswim), but I dont even know where to start - is laminate ever real? What is engineered wood, or do I need reclaimed wooden planks?
I dont necessarily want cheap but it has to look authentic.
Go for reclaimed! We are for our cottage which has hideous laminate downstairs put in by the old owners (why!?!? It's built in 1806!). Having been to look at in the flesh, it's so much nicer and also can be cheaper than engineered wood flooring depending on what you get. We are going to mix ours up with some wider/narrower planks too.
We have the same in our Georgian house. Ours were in a terrible state. I will never be able to get old Baltic pine to match the old ones so I have salvaged as much as I can by taking up existing floors then combining them into one room, chucking out the new softwood planks that were shoved in and relaid, gently sanded, stained and polished so they look beautiful. Problem is I have now got two missing floors so tried buying reclaimed Victorian pine floorboards from salvage yards. Difficulty is a lot of trendy clothes shops have been buying it up in bulk and its very hard to get.
The next best thing is sawn boards made from old roof beams taken out of demolished mills in Manchester. I am resorting to that solution, saves the sanding too.
Now I just need to find about 500 square headed nails as the modern round headed ones look awful.
I don't necessarily want cheap but it has to look authentic.
Lay it yourselves?
Honestly - as someone who has lived in a refurbed Victorian house, I would say to just do it properly with new floorboards, and lay plenty of underlay/insulation or you will spend a small fortunetrying to heat a freezing house.
Wider boards tend to look older - you can get these as floorboards or as engineered wood which will sit on top of underlay, on top of new pine boards [if it is currently open to the earth floor]
Use some darker wood stain or an "antique stain" and then have a good party or two.
Pine floorboards age (or get damaged, depending on your outlook!) quickly. We have a pine floor of indeterminate age in our Victorian house and it picks up new scuffs/dents all the time, so OK wouldn't worry about it looking new for long. We also used tinted osmo oil which is fantastic for making them look a natural aged colour. We used the amber one - if you look on Pinterest there are lots of pics.