If you think that Heart Pine flooring is another brand or name in the flooring industry, then you need to do more researches. It is actually a part of the Pine tree, a wood species that is often overlooked.
You see, Oak and other exotic woods are the most popular options in the flooring industry.
Pine isn’t as popular as Oak that’s why it is often overlooked. Pine is often considered the softer wood type than Oak.
However, Heart Pine is quite different from White or Yellow Pine. Heart Pine would be a stylish option for a unique home vibe.
Understanding Heart Pine
If you understand tree anatomy, then you can skip this section. But if you don’t, then read on.
Only by understanding and knowing the tree anatomy you can understand the strength and benefits of this part of the tree.
The sapwood would be the outside layer of the tree. After the bark, there is a layer underneath the bark that’s sapwood.
It is lighter (in color) when compared to the middle part of the tree. It can be sappy too hence, the name.
The heartwood is from the middle part of the tree. This is much stronger and tougher when compared to the outer side.
It is considered the ‘dead’ part of that tree and the color difference is quite obvious when you deal with the outer and inner part.
In America, Western White Pine and Yellow Pine are the most common types with hardness scale of 420 and 690. Just to compare things, Heart Pine has 1225 in hardness scale, so it is only a bit ‘weaker’ than Red Oak.
But Heart Pine is definitely stronger than Carbonized Bamboo, Cherry, and Walnut.
There are different pine species out there. The Longleaf Pine trees have the best Heart Pine, but the tree is a slow grower.
Because of deforestation, the tree is actually almost extinct. Sure, a part of the tree has made a return, but only a small part of the forests can be found in America.
But when compared to the condition of a century before, where millions of acres still existed, what left today is quite sad.
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Hardness Levels for Different Domestic Hardwood Species
Different hardwood species will lead to different hardness level in Janka rating.
Here is the breakdown:
- Hickory is 1,820
- Birdseye Maple is 1.450
- White Oak is 1,360
- Red Oak is 1,290
- Heart Pine (or Old Growth) is 1,225
- Cherry is 995
- Long Leaf Pine is 870
- Southern Yellow Pine is 690
Heart Pine’s Pros and Cons
Different people have their own preference when it comes to different flooring types. Heart Pine flooring may be one of the best flooring types, but it isn’t for everyone.
This is why you should consider the pros and cons thoroughly and carefully before making a decision.
- Heart Pine flooring isn’t only durable but also natural and eco-friendly. The hardness level is similar to Red Oak, but it is completely different from the Red Oak. You should be able to enjoy its various colors. Not to mention that your house will look rustic and beautiful with its unique reddish brown shade.
- It is extremely stable. Unlike other woods that may expand or contract, you won’t experience such an issue with this one. If you see the floor in houses with (several) hundreds year old of age, you see the example of how well the floor stands against time.
- Today’s majority of Heart Pine flooring is the reclaimed type because of the long time for the Heart Pine to construct or form and also because of the deforestation. Because of these reasons, the price tag is generally higher than the traditional pine floors.
- The floor isn’t exactly easy to stain.
- You may deal with higher (and more) waste factor, depending on the quality and grade.
- The floor isn’t easy to find. You can’t find it easily at many hardwood stores. Big chances are you will have to buy everything online.
Finding High-Quality and Premium Heart Pine
This is the tricky part. As it was explained before, the majority of old forests (from the turn of century) have been long gone.
It means that when you buy the Heart Pine now, you have limited options: the Old Growth one or the New Growth.
Looking for something sturdy, solid, and old?
Then the Old Growth type would be the perfect option.
These types of wood grow only an inch once in every 30 years. The oldest trees are under protection now. It means that you will have to pay a detailed attention to how it gets the labels and where it comes.
In general, anything under ‘Old Growth’ label would be harvested from the fallen rivers or coming from buildings before 1900s.
What about the New Growth type?
It means that the floor comes isn’t exactly ‘true or real’ Heart Pine simply because it hasn’t reached the ‘antique’ stage. It is coming from the younger trees.
A tree of 100-years old won’t have the similar heartwood percentage as the one with 400-years old type. As a result, the wood won’t be stable or durable.
The main issue is actually coming from companies who don’t provide information where the floor comes from or label their products. This will result in serious issues if you turn out choose a low-durability floor.
It is always a good idea to get true information about the origin of the wood and whether it is sold as New or Old Growth.
Sizes and Grading
The lengths and width of the Heart Pine flooring will vary wildly considering that you choose the reclaimed Antique Heart Pine.
Unlike Hickory or Oak, there won’t be any standards. It will lead to difficult mechanism when buying the floor online. There hasn’t been any true or official standard for this lumber style since 1920s.
It means that the grades are loose in terms. And you may be familiar with Character Grade, such as Antique or even Wormy along with the (standard) tags, such as Select 1 and 2, and Common.
You have the option to choose the way the lumber is sown. This is especially handy for stores or shops offering custom service.
Plain or Flat Sown is the most popular option, but there are also Riftsown and Quartersown. The widths are ranging from 3 inches to 10 inches, while the lengths are varying in lengths.
The Heart Pine itself is an unusual flooring type. It means that you may encounter difficulty during the installation.
This is a nail-down type and you will have to deal with nail holes (dozens of them), depending on the boards quality.
It may lead to higher possibility of waste. It is advisable that you hire a professional installer to install this Heart Pine flooring.
The Best Shops for Heart Pine
Basically, the reclaimed wood floor has experienced an increase growth lately in popularity. More and more consumers understand more about environmentally-friendly products.
You shouldn’t have any issue finding reclaimed Hickory or Oak, but it is a different case with Antique or Old Growth Heart Pine.
That’s why knowing some shops with various kinds of solid planks with either prefinished or unfinished look.
- Stonewood shop with reclaimed wood with average price of $4.99
- E.T. Moore shop with reclaimed wood with average price of $5.75
- Longleaf Lumber shop with reclaimed wood with average price of $10
- Stonewood Products
Stonewood is a company having a wide array of manufactured and natural products for the house, including hardwood and stone.
They also have their lines for outdoor products, but we are going to focus on the specialty wood only. It includes the reclaimed Antique Heart pine.
Stonewood currently has 2 products: Tobacco Series and Martha Mills collections. The Tobacco Series contain collections from old Tobacco factory.
It is available in 2 grades of Naily and Select. The Martha Mills collection comes from a mill (having the same name) located in Thomaston, Georgia. It has 3 grades of Select, Prime, and Naily.
There is an option for everyone, no matter you like knotty pine types or something simpler and cleaner.
Besides these styles, the company has a New Growth Heart Pine coming from 80 years to 100 years old trees.
The planks come in 6 feet to 16 feet of length with 6.8 inches or 10 inches of width. These planks are coming with tongue and groove, sold at around $4.99 a square foot.
However, you need to ask for a quote if you are interested in their Heart Pine flooring lines.
- E.T. Moore
This is one of the oldest and the longest running company making Heart Pine floor. Since 1970s, they have been reclaiming wood earning them the tile of Heart Pine Specialist. They have 10 different types of Heart Pine which is quite interesting.
They have things like Number 1 or Tidewater and Oily. They also have different kinds of textures and shades.
Their collection of Select Edge Grain has 97% of heart wood with 10 rings an inch in average. If you are looking a vintage (but uniformed) look, this would be the most ideal pick.
There are also AI Heart Nail Hole (full of holes) and also Oily Heart Pine. Widths and lengths are varying, along with different Heart Wood content percentage.
The collections from E.T. Moore are quite impressive, especially when it comes to reclaimed wood. However, the company doesn’t list the age or the hardness quite clearly.
It would be wise to ask for information about the hardness, especially if you are worried about the durability.
The information about the price isn’t available either, although the sales price is listed for $5.75 a square foot.
- Longleaf Lumber
This company focuses on reclaimed wood from old buildings all over the world.
They have one of the biggest Heart Pine collections, having 6 grades available. However, their stock is all New Growth type NOT the ones from older trees.
Longleaf provides various styles with Rustic, Skip-Planed, Quartersown, and Flatsown Heart pine.
The Quartersown and Flat have 2 grades, especially if you prefer nail holes and knots and you aren’t really interested in the uniformed and clean floor.
The plank width is ranging from 2.5 feet to 12 feet with ¾ inches of thickness. They also provide the custom size, but most of their products have 870 hardness level.
Besides the reclaimed Heart Pine flooring products, the company also has Heart Pine mantles, charred wood, beams, and paneling. They provide international shipping, but it is better to call for exact pricing and quote.
These previously mentioned shops may not carry engineered Heart Pine, but you should be able to find the New Growth types through various shops, such as Country Plank. They offer reclaimed boards within engineered form.
The price ranges from $10 to $12.50 for a prefinished or 5-inch unfinished plank. They also provide solid flooring which is basically cheaper than the engineered products.
Goodwin also offers their own engineered Heart Pine lineup. You can also choose Parterre for their vinyl planks. Yes, these are actually vinyl planks but imitating wood look just perfectly.
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Basically, it depends on the quality and brand. Engineered hardwood would be the cheaper option. Unfortunately, finding one in Heart Pine line can be a challenge.
Unfortunately yes. All woods would experience color change, especially when exposed to the light. The brand’s floor will experience color change due to natural oxidation. If it goes naturally, the color would be richer and deeper.
The maintenance and care are just the same as other hardwood floors. You can use a broom, a vacuum cleaner, or a dust mop. Be advised to choose a vacuum designed especially for hardwood use.
In Janka scale of durability, Heart Pine is only a little behind Oak. However, in terms of stability and structural stability, it is better than Oak.
If the damage is too serious or severe, and you won’t be able to refinish it, then the matter would be complicated. It depends on when you purchased the floor as well as the brand. In some specific cases, you should be able to get a sample through mail and find out whether they have suitable products.
Yes. Sinker Cypress or Antique would be an interesting alternative. They are eco-friendly with unique style and design.
Basically, yes. If you care and maintain the floor correctly and properly, the floor will last up to 100 years. But then again, the warranty depends on the manufacturers and their policies.
Those are the general facts about the Heart Pine type. Make sure you are honest about your own condition and house situation before you finally decide that Heart Pine flooring is the right one for you.