Q & A



What do I need to know about installing Antique Wood Flooring?


Our products have been sorted, trimmed, and defected for any manufacturing defects, gross structural defects, and large open holes. All of the material supplied can be installed and used. The flooring is produced from wood that was previously used in other applications for one hundred years or more. Care is taken to produce the flooring so that the unique character of the antique wood is maintained.  Part of this character, and the beauty of antique wood is the variations found in the wood.

The recommended 15% trim allowance is to allow for trimming at the ends of runs, around corners, or for boards damaged during installation, etc.

Flooring is typically nailed down using the edge nailing method using a flooring nailer that puts a nail or staple in the edge of the tongue. Care should be taken as with any floor to have a clean, dry substrate with a moisture barrier of building felt between the flooring and substrate. It is recommended that some face nailing be done at the end joints of flooring material that is 6” or wider. This may help prevent a future “squeak” at the joint as the wood naturally adjusts to changing environments over time.  Some flooring technicians prefer to use a mastic adhesive in place of the felt paper.  This is perfectly fine with antique woods. Each customer needs to make those choices for themselves.

How do I check the moisture content of concrete? What is a typical moisture barrier material? Is “felt” or “rosen paper” necessary?”

An easy way to test your concrete moisture content: take a square of polypropylene or viscreen (2’x2’) and tape down. If condensation forms over 2-3 days, your concrete is not cured. A typical moisture barrier material is 6 mm viscreen or plastic over concrete slab, under plywood. Felt and/or rosen paper are suggested by the NWFA.

Any recommendations for floor specialists?

The National Wood Flooring Association has a list of members by state. Copy this www.woodfloors.org/locations.asp?country=United+States&state=FL into your browser or go to www.woodfloors.org then click on member locations. The list is alphabetized by city name and you can click on city on the right hand side of the screen. All NWFA members must abide by the NWFA Standards of Professional Conduct.

How long should the wood acclimate before being installed?

All woods should be well acclimated prior to installation. In general, we recommend a conservative time frame – acclimating for 3-4 weeks in the same climate controlled environment where the floor will be installed. Your installer should give you the final guidelines, based on your location and building.

What are the recommended finishes for antique wood flooring?

Finishing the floor is totally up to the desires of the customer and the type of look they want to achieve. Sanding is always recommended to level any variations as with any unfinished hardwood floor. Sanding can be heavy or light, depending on the desires of the customer. Any type of wood finish can be used on the floor.  Stains, polyurethanes, tung oils, or plain wax are all options. However, several important things need to be considered. Antique wood flooring has more check cracks, nail holes, and knot cracks.  Also, the cell structure of the wood tends to be more open due to the many years of conditioning. It is important, regardless of the finish you choose, to get a good, deep sealing initial coat.  This protects the wood from spills and will serve as a base for subsequent coats of finish. Another important thing to remember is that all wood tends to darken a little with age and exposure to light and the environment.  Keep this in mind when stains are applied.

Finish properties and drying times require experience. Some basic information to get the discussion going with your flooring professional should include the difference between surface and penetrating finishes. Within the surface finishes there are four types:

Oil-modified urethane is easy to apply. It is a solvent-base polyurethane that dries in about eight hours. This type of finish ambers with age. Scratches can be repaired lightly sanding and recoating.

Moisture-cured urethane is a solvent-base polyurethane that is more durable and more moisture resistant than other surface finishes. Moisture-cure urethane comes in non-yellowing and in ambering types and is generally available in satin or gloss. These finishes are extremely difficult to apply, have a strong odor and are best left to the professional.

Conversion varnish is clear and dries in about 8 hours. It is durable and non-yellowing. These finishes have an extremely strong odor and should be applied by the highly skilled wood flooring professional.

Water-based urethane is a waterborne urethane that dries by water evaporation. These finishes are clear and non-yellowing. They have a milder odor and dry in a few hours. Some of the newer water-based products are now as hard or harder than the moisture-cure products and are not as harmful to humans. These include BonaKemi Traffic, www.bonakemi.com/traffic.html; Loba Supra, www.floorsanding.com/finishes then click Supra brochure; or Basic Coatings Street Shoe, www.basiccoatings.com/asp/homeowners/prod_streetshoe.asp. Scratches can be repaired by lightly sanding and recoating.

Penetrating Stain and/or Wax – This finish soaks into the pores of the wood and hardens to form a protective penetrating seal. The wax gives a low-gloss satin sheen. It is generally maintained with additional thin applications of wax. Only solvent-based (never water-based) waxes, buffing pastes or cleaning liquids (specifically made for wax-finished, wood floors) should be used. A penetrating sealer such as the one manufactured by Dura Seal can be waxed over and buffed periodically or if you do not want to wax your floor you can simply repair the finish with another product called Renovator when wear shows. Remember, if you use wax you must completely sand back to bare wood before you can recoat. If you do not use wax you can easily repair the finish with more penetrating sealer coats or a renovator.

We also highly recommend Waterlox, (www.waterlox.com) a premium wood finish made from Tung Oil. Their website provides information on different products and application information.


Q. What long term care and maintenance is needed?

Preventative Maintenance

• Use throw rugs both inside and outside doorways to help prevent grit, dirt and other debris from being tracked onto your floors.

• Put soft plastic or fabric faced glides under the legs of furniture to prevent scratches.

• Avoid walking on your wood floors with cleats or high heels as this can dent your floor surface.

• Do not slide heavy furniture on wood floors.

• When using wood flooring in the kitchen, you may wish to place an area rug in front of the sink.

  • Vacuum, sweep or dust mop on a regular basis.  When vacuuming, use a bare floor attachment.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.

Antique & Vintage

What is the difference between antique and vintage woods Antique lumber represents woods that were harvested from first or old growth forests. These trees grew for hundreds of years, and were standing when the first European settlers arrived. These trees often grew extremely slow, in dense forests conditions. The figure of the wood is characterized by dense growth rings (10-30 growth rings per inch), and richer hues. Vintage or second growth woods were planted after these old growth woods were felled. These trees generally grew faster, and were cut down in a shorter period of time. As a result, the wood has a broader grain (4-10 growth rings per inch), and a somewhat paler color.  All these woods are salvaged from dismantled factories, warehouses with growth rings that are denser and tighter than today’s lumber, making the wood of a higher quality. Only time and the elements have allowed for the unique and irreplaceable look of antique reclaimed timber.

What is the value of choosing antique woods for flooring, beams, cabinetry and moldings?

Reclaimed heart pine, oak and chestnut materials are one of the best investments. The color, character and patina are unique, and the wood has already cured through a century’s worth of seasonal expansion and contraction cycles, so it’s more stable than new wood. New wood is not comparable in quality to old growth wood. The process of reclaiming antique timber is also very labor intensive and the labor and technology needed to rescue and convert the antique wood is profound.

Exterior & Other Applications

What reclaimed woods are recommended for exterior applications? All reclaimed woods can be used for interior use. Exterior uses would depend on the wood, application, particular environment and other factors. Our tank woods are best suited for exterior uses such as decking, siding and railings. These woods primarily fall within the category of tank woods – Alaskan Yellow Cedar with limited quantities of Redwood, Cyprus and Oak.

What is a good wood for a high moisture environment such as a bathroom, or an exterior porch or deck?

Because a bathroom can have a good deal of variation in moisture levels, I would recommend using a vertical grain pattern because it expands & contracts through the thickness rather than the width of the board. You may also want to consider applying a sealer to the back of the flooring that will add stability.

What is tongue and groove, ship lap, clap board and straight edge?
These terms represent molding profiles that relate to the joined edge of a piece of flooring. Tounge and groove is generally the most secure. Solid boards to be installed in parallel rows now produced in these thicknesses ½”, ¾”, and these widths 3” up to 12”.   The strips are tongue and grooved and end matched. They are for nail down installation directly to wood or plywood sub floors; or over wood screeds on concrete slab construction.

Comparing Quality

Are reclaimed wood products from different companies of comparable quality?

There can be substantial quality difference between antique wood products from different companies. Is the wood kiln dried? What are the grading standards? What is the quality of the milling equipment? How much experience does the company have in milling antique woods? Can they provide samples that are representative of the product that will be delivered? There are many questions to ask that will help ensure that you receive the best possible value and quality. Antique woods are the foundation of a home and a statement about your values to future generations – this choice is only made once in a lifetime.

How wide can I go in heart pine?

Heart pine timbers may be two to five hundred years old but are often no more than 24 inches in diameter. It can take up to 25 years for a heart pine tree to put on just one inch of girth. Heart pine flooring is available up to 10 inches

What is the relative hardness of Heart Pine? Heart pine measures 1225 on the Janka hardness scale vs. 1290 for Red Oak. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, however, it is 27 percent more stable than Oak. Many Colonial homes over 200 years old are still in service.

What are the grooves for on the back of the floor?

They are required to be consistent with the flooring industry. Historically, it is said that they were used to reduce the weight for shipping large quantities. Some people today say they do not serve much purpose, while others say they reduce any tendency the wood may have to cup. They definitely help the air to circulate a little around each board allowing the wood to “breathe” and if you are gluing to the subfloor, they provide added surface for glue adhesion.

Ordering & Shipping

How do I order? What about shipping? Shipping is arranged through common carriers. We have favorable shipping rates, and pass our discounts along to customers. Our products are carefully and securely packaged so that the wood arrives in the same condition as it left the milling facility.

How much time is needed to complete an order Our products are custom manufactured, and normal lead times are 3-6 weeks. Some of our standard products are constantly on hand, and can be shipped within a week, so call to check out in-stock selection. We’ll make every effort to meet your construction or renovation schedule

Why is antique wood more expensive?

Antique heart pine does not come from standing trees. All of the few remaining original-growth trees—trees old enough to produce mostly heartwood—are protected, as they should be. Most commercially available heart pine will probably be gone in about 10 years. There are only so many old warehouses and only so many logs at the bottom of the river. When those are gone- that’s it. Because there are only two sources for original-growth heart pine, there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the salvaging and recovering of this precious resource. Thus, the process to locate and mill this limited treasure requires more labor and time.

Is there a money back guarantee?

We follow the last grading standard set for heart pine published in 1923. Our literature also details many of these specifications. Our HP is graded numerous times as it goes through the transformation from rough log to finished fine flooring. But we’re only human and if you receive a product that does not meet our specifications, we will gladly exchange it for you upon return of the defective material. If the material is determined to be defective upon return,