Heart Pine Flooring

Putting Real Value Into Your Home

By: - Home Improvement - July 20, 2011
heart pine flooring putting real value into your home

Many people get confused if they think of getting hardwood flooring put in their home and then hear about heart pine flooring.  The fact is that the wood is both hardwood and non-hardwood, which is probably the fact that confuses people most about heart pine floors.  So, to save on confusion, let us look at the facts behind this type of affordable and beautiful flooring type.

Heart pine flooring is usually made from older pine trees that have developed a central core of deeper colored wood.  Unlike the pine that is used in furniture and other floorings that is soft and light in color, the heart pine comes from the same tree, but the inner wood is harder.  Thus heart pine floors are both hardwood floors and not hardwood floors because they come from the interior of a softwood tree that has aged considerably.  Interestingly, the density of the heart pine section is very similar to that of most hardwoods such as walnut, maple, popular, oak and maple.  As such the heart pine wood is very stable and tough, making it long lasting and very beautiful once it has been either stained to a different color or simply sealed with a non-colored application.  The other thing about the heart pine is that the rings are very tight and there are few if any knots.  The color is usually a deep amber and the majority of floors made from it have come from trees that were up to five hundred years old.  Unfortunately, few of those old trees remain, making new heart pine extremely expensive to buy and very hard to find.  So, what are your options?

If you want to have heart pine flooring in your home you can do one of two things: buy new heart pine; or reclaim old heart pine from old buildings.  It may surprise you to know that heart pine was not just used for floors in the old days.  Because of their resistance to rot and insects, the heart pine was used for beams in homes and even the huge beams that you find in some old factories, warehouses and barns dating from 1900 AD and before.  It is not uncommon therefore to find salvagers taking these beams and selling them to companies who are building new buildings or to homeowners who want the touch of the old in their home.  Many of the timbers that you can find are huge, some of them spanning huge lengths and are quite often seen in many rustic restaurants to support cathedral ceilings.  However, if you ask around, even check out sales of wood from old barns and other old buildings, whether in your neighborhood, nearby rural areas or online, you would be surprised at how much heart pine is still available from the original heart pine trees.  In fact, it is possible for you to even get some of the heart pine for heart pine floors without spending anymore than the cost of transporting the wood.  Some old buildings come down to be replaced by new ones or simply because they are no longer needed and many owners are simply happy to save costs on getting rid of the wood, so they give it away.  Others may charge you a small fee if they think that the wood is valuable enough, but you can still find these through secondhand construction outlets and through online suppliers.

Photo: heart pine – copyright 2004, MPF – reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License 3.0 Unported, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Taxus_wood.jpg