Soft cushion-y underlayment?

Q: I am looking for an inexpensive real wood flooring that might be a good bet in Salt Lake City, Utah. I DON’T want really hard stuff that won’t get beat up. (I would prefer a “worn”, very informal, cottage-type look!) All the info I can find relates to hardwood, so I guess this is a strange idea. But if I don’t spend a fortune on the wood, I can always re-do it in 10 years if I want better wood by then, right?

Also, is there any kind of under-flooring moisture barrier that we can install that would also help give wood flooring a softer, more cushion-y type feel so it’s not as “hard on feet”?

A: I’m rather partial to quarter sawn white oak. You might want to contact Timberline Hardwood Dimensions in NY state to see how their prices are. If you wanted something softer, you might be able to get pine or similar from a local mill cheap.

Cork or other sound barrier underlayment can be installed to soften up the floor some, but I wouldn’t call these moisture barriers.