In each of the bedrooms, there were areas of flooring that were missing and had been patched with plywood. My guess is that the previous owner wanted to install carpeting in the bedrooms and didn't worry about replacing the missing flooring with equivalent material. Not wanting to go the carpet route ourselves, we had our contractor feather in flooring for the missing areas. Luckily for us, the floors upstairs are the same as the subflooring we tore out downstairs, so we had plenty of matching material for him to use.
After the first few rows, he stopped and told us that we wouldn't be happy with how the floor was turning out. He didn't think he could eliminate the gaps between the floorboards that seemed to be appearing, even though the replacement material was an exact match for what existed. Not only that, he continued, but "pine just won't ever look as good as oak." He suggested we cover the floors with oak flooring or, to cut costs, a wood-look laminate.
It was the end of the work day anyway, so we told him we'd sleep on it and tell him the next day what we wanted him to do. Encouraged by a wealth of information on the internet (God bless Google), we told him to do the best he could and that we'd deal with the gaps and cracks later. At this stage of the game, we are not going to worry about refinishing the floors. Sure, it'll be a pain to empty out the rooms in order to sand them, but it's just not crucial right now. We'd much rather have the drywall up than perfect floors.
Really, though, we don't expect the floors to be perfect. A smooth-as-glass gym floor would look strange in this house. Oak might be a harder material, but new oak will never have the same charm and character as these 100-year-old pine (or fir, we're not sure) floors. Anyway, here's what we ended up with. I was bracing myself for far worse!
He won't be doing the floor refinishing himself (I'm not trusting ANYbody to put a drum sander on those floors!), but I can only imagine the response when he finds out I don't want to use poly but only a natural tung oil finish (or Waterlox if I chicken out on the pure tung oil).