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What is Heart Pine Hardwood Flooring?

Botanical Name: Pinus spp

Looking for a chance to add some age to a new home? Using Antique Heart Pine will do just that because it is reclaimed wood from pre-1900 buildings and boats.

Fast Facts

Heart Pine

Color: Heartwood is yellow but will turn a dark pink or red within a couple weeks after cutting because of the resin content. Sapwood will remain yellow in color by may have a few blackish blue sap stains present. It may also have an orange tint to it.

Grain: The grain is dense, but will vary depending on how it was originally sawn. Quarter sawn and rift sawn will have more of a pinstriped appearance whereas plain sawn will look more swirled.

Variations within Species and Grades: There is moderate variation between grades as all of this wood is reclaimed, rather than cut from fresh trees.

Hardness/Janka: With a Janka Scale rating of 1225, Antique Heart Pine is approximately 5% softer than the traditional Red Oak.

Dimensional Stability: The dimensional stability of Antique Heart Pine is hard to pinpoint because of the fact it may come from a variety of sources exposed to a variety of conditions and climates

Sawing/Machining: Antique Heart Pine has no issues with sawing and machining.

Sanding: Sanding can be difficult because of the high amount of resin present on the wood. It is necessary to change the paper frequently to keep it from getting clogged up.

Nailing: There are no known problems with nailing Antique Heart Pine.

Finishing: It may be difficult to get the wood to take the stain. To make it easier to finish, a 100% pure solvent can be used to remove all the surface resin. The solvent should be compatible with the finish used, and water should not be used.

Availability: Limited availability, as this is reclaimed from pre-1900 buildings and from underwater.

A Brief History of Black Cherry

What makes Antique Heart Pine so interesting is that there is no such thing as new heart pine. It is all reclaimed wood from first generation trees, from a time when trees were left alone long enough to grow big and tall. The heart wood comes from the center of the tree, and as today’s trees are harvested at an earlier age, there is little heart wood available because they don’t grow as large. Anything built after 1900 is second generation pine tree and doesn’t generally show the tight rings seen in Antique Heart Pine. New Heart Pine comes from the heartwood of new trees, not old ones.

Durability

The wood is considerable durable, as it reclaimed from old buildings. The wood is very old so it likely won’t be as durable as newer, harder species, but isn’t much softer than many of the woods commonly used for flooring today. As with any other species, it should be cared for and maintained properly to get the most use from it.

Workability

Though it is easy to saw and machine, it is difficult to sand and finish. It is important to sand with varying grains, usually a coarse grain at first to remove all the surface resin and previous finish. The sand paper will have to be changed frequently to prevent the resin from causing problems. A pure solvent – without the use of water – should be used to completely remove all the resin on the surface of the floor to have the best luck with finishing. If there is still surface resin on the flooring, it may not take the stain or finish well, causing problems. Do a careful and thorough job to ensure the flooring will take the finish.

Where to use

Antique Heart Pine can be used anywhere in the home where it may fit with the decor. It will likely have a great deal of character present as it is reclaimed from older trees. Keep it away from areas where high traffic or water will be an issue for easier maintenance and care.

Care and Maintenance

As with any other wood floor, it is important to know about the finish and its care and maintenance requirements as this is what determines how to care for a floor, rather than the species itself. Choose a finish compatible with the wood species and follow its care instructions carefully to ensure the floor has a long life span. Place furniture pads underneath all furniture legs. Use mats by doors and non staining rugs in high traffic areas to protect the finish. Avoid wearing high heeled or spiked shoes on the floor. Use a cloth mop or a vacuum at least once a week to help remove dust, dirt, and other debris which may cause scratches on the finish. Avoid using water whenever possible as this may get into the wood and cause swelling and contraction. Clean up spills immediately to prevent them from staining the wood.

Environmental Issues

There is an increasingly limited supply of Antique Heart Pine, as the wood is reclaimed from old buildings, barns, and from underwater. The wood is several hundred years old, so the supplies are dwindling. It is a good way to help protect the environment, though, as using reclaimed wood is better than cutting down new trees. Even though this is an expensive type of wood to use as a floor because of the age and limited supply, doing so helps add a great deal of character to a home while keeping more trees in the ground.

(4) Comments

  1. Hello, I was wondering if you still had any heart of pine flooring left? If so, how much per sq ft? Thank you!

  2. William Sullivan - Reply

    We have 20,000+/- square feet of antique heart pine flooring for sale that has been cut into widths of 4-1/2 to 6-1/2 inch wide planks that are 3/4 inch tongue and groove boards. This wood was reclaimed from an old textile mill in South Carolina.

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