View Full Version : Are floorboards cold?

03-12-2019, 01:12 AM
The setting is an old rundown apartment with no heater where the MC lives. The floorboards are cracked and a few mouse holes are near. Being that, I assume some sort of low draft is likely. The MC walks barefoot on it. It's the fall season in the book. I'm wondering the MC would feel it being cold, freezing, mildly cold, warm or what? I have no wooden floors to see. I'm curious what's realistic

03-12-2019, 01:16 AM
Yep, I find hardwood floors cool underfoot in a heated house. In your setting, I would say yes to cold on the feet.

03-12-2019, 03:41 AM
That's pretty much why we have rugs and carpets. If the outdoors is cold, floorboards will be cold.

Norman Mjadwesch
03-12-2019, 07:13 AM
I’ve always had floorboards and have never really considered them to be especially cold, certainly not enough to bother with slippers. Concrete floors and tiles are a lot colder. I suppose, for me, the measure would be: can I lay on it on my bare back? If not = cold. (Sorry, it’s hot here, no such experiment possible.) FWIW, even though I don’t do too well in cold weather, my feet never seem to feel it and therefore I run around barefoot most of the time. Maybe that has desensitised my feet to cold floorboards?

Siri Kirpal
03-12-2019, 07:40 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

People differ in their sensitivity to heat and cold. Some people are usually warm and some are usually chilled. For people with sensitivities to cold (I'm one of them), floorboards are indeed cool. But not as cold as tile or metal. There would be a low draft with holes in the floor. I've lived in places with them. I'd want warm socks and rugs or carpets.


Siri Kirpal

03-12-2019, 08:12 AM
They can be freezing.

03-12-2019, 07:49 PM
If the flooring is in poor shape and minus any sort of insulating under material, then I would assume your MC is going to be properly nobbled in that house. I know all too well what an unheated property feels like. I have ceramic tiles in my kitchen and bathroom, and had to change my footwear for something warmer and more appropriate.

Ceramic is not wood, but if cold has sunk into the whole property, it will take hours to warm it up, plus if no insulation, heat will just leach away.

03-12-2019, 09:13 PM
If you floorboards aren't cold as heck you have good insulation, keep the heating cranked or live somewhere warm. I'm not overly sensitive to temperature and I have stood on a variety of unambiguously cold floorboards. Maybe in the modern well-built world it's not such a thing any more.

M.S. Wiggins
03-12-2019, 09:43 PM
It depends on insulation, but even with the best, hardwood floors are often chilly when the ambient temperature dips. Also, when the temperature has dropped for an extended period, the floorboards are creaky-LOUD!

Jaymz Connelly
03-13-2019, 05:57 AM
Couple of questions for you. Where is the apartment? A rundown apt in NY in late fall is going to be vastly different to a rundown apartment in Florida in early fall. So, more specific time and place would be good.

If it's a fantasy, then, maybe a comparable region, but definitely need to know if it's early fall, mid, or late. Early fall the floors could be coolish but not too bad and actually feel good if your feet are hot. Late fall, depending on region, and in a drafty, rundown apartment, it's going to be darn cold underfoot, particularly barefoot. (I grew up in Canada, and we had hardwood floors until the early 80's when my parents got carpet--after I moved out *g*)

03-17-2019, 12:37 AM
Agree with Jaymz... depends where you live. Here's a southern England/UK answer. When I was a kid I had just plain floorboards on my bedroom floor for a while and I can't remember if there was no heating at all upstairs or if my dad never turned it on to save energy, but my bedroom wasn't heated. I'd describe the floorboards in winter as bloody freezing and it was necessary to do a mad dash across them to get to the bathroom or anywhere else first thing in the morning.

I did get a carpet in the end, albeit my parents continued to be very energy and money conscious, only turning the heating on when it's really cold, like around zero. Obviously I mean centigrade. My parents were frugal but not sadists... "oh hell no, we're only turning the heating on when it's zero KELVIN!" :greenie

L.C. Blackwell
03-17-2019, 05:54 AM
Depending on your setting, if you're making this a colder climate, fall isn't just cold, it's damp. If your character doesn't have a lot of very warm clothing and isn't in great shape, he or she is more than likely to have regular coughs, colds, bronchitic or flu-like illnesses, etc, especially if not able to afford proper food or have any way to cook it. He/she may wear some sort of soft cap or hat to bed as people did in previous centuries, in order to stay warmer.

Note: if there is an oven in the apartment, people who can't afford heat will often turn it on and leave the oven door open as a heater.

I can also tell you that in a house where the temperature is as low/high as 35-40 F--which it easily can be in the fall--it will still be unpleasantly, numbingly cold over any length of time. If you get hot food in a place like this, it will cool almost instantly. You can get fatigued just trying to stay warm, and if you become ill, it will be very difficult to get better.

Bottom line, people can survive in these conditions and many do, but they seldom thrive.