Fun and Business for USGBC

The annual Christmas party for the US Green Building Council, Heart of Florida Chapter, held on Sunday December 4 at Goodwin Heart Pine Company was fun for all, and some important business was attended to. The USGBC, Heart of Florida Chapter, announced the new officers for 2012, as follows:
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Green Halloween at Santa Fe College

We Love Green Halloween, thanks to all the generous participants!
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Green Halloween 2011

Antique Pine Flooring Scrap Works of HeART!

Antique pine flooring scrap makes a work of heART in the right hands. Here is Goodwin’s former cabinet maker, Rick Bennett, with a gift he made for our Sales Manager, Charlotte.

Wood Floors Over Concrete

There are many questions about gluing down solid wood flooring to concrete.  The traditional industry standards for wood floor installation limited the direct glue down of solid wood flooring over concrete to short pieces or parquet patterns.  A well made engineered wood floor looks like a solid floor but avoids some of the installation difficulties.  The backer of the engineered flooring helps reduce the movement with moisture changes.  For many applications this is the best solution.

With the advent of elastomeric adhesives gluing solid flooring directly to concrete has become more common.  NOFMA produced a technical publication outlining recommended procedures for installing solid wood floors to concrete about five years ago.  Despite the inherently higher risks of gluing solid to concrete it has become an accepted practice for many people in the industry.  This installation method takes more effort to manage the risks.  Moisture issues are the primary concern.  Test to see if the concrete is dry enough.  The ASTM F2170-2 test is a widely accepted procedure which measures the relative humidity inside the concrete.  It is often prudent to apply a sealer to the concrete just in case moisture is introduced into the concrete at a later time. Then if the concrete gets wet in the future a trowel on moisture cured urethane vapor barrier or penetrating sealer such as Bone Dry which was applied prior to installing the floor can keep the water away from the wood. An alternative to a glue installation is to install a plywood subfloor over the concrete then nail down the flooring.

Submerged Logs

Most of the River Recovered® pine we use to produce heart pine flooring has been underwater for a century or more.  Questions about this antique wood cover the entire spectrum from concerns that the wood will shrink extra after it is installed to the thought that long exposure to water might keep the wood from moving at all.  Actually the answer lies in the middle of this range. To start with, living trees have a high water content.  Wood in its natural condition performs well when it is surrounded with water.  The basic structure of the heart wood with high resin content changes very little during the long stay at the river bottom. The resin helps protect the heartwood underwater just as it protects the wood in a living tree. The desirable properties of this antique wood come from the slow growing conditions. Original growth forests produced long leaf pine of a high density with high resin content. These characteristics are not changed while the wood is submerged. Carefully kiln dried and matched in moisture content at the job site, this antique wood will give excellent performance as flooring.

Subfloor Preparation Tips

Starting with a flat subfloor is essential for a good wood floor installation.  Older homes often have areas where the subfloor is irregular. Refasten any areas of loose subflooring.  It is sometimes advisable to renail the entire subfloor using ring or screw shank nails. Renailing can also be needed in new construction where the subfloor was left exposed to the weather. Sand any small high spots flat. Small depressions can be filled with layers of thin plywood.  Cut the plywood to progressively smaller pieces (like a contour map) then feather the edges by sanding.  Plaster based floor patch is not recommended. If the floor joists have sagged in an old house removing the subfloor and sistering new joists to the old ones can be a good solution. Adding stiffness to the framing is better than reducing stiffness. If you are not doing a large area and the plywood is sound you can use 2x4s turned on edge. Cut them to follow the floor contours and create a flat top.  We used to use a metal rail system and a router to trim the tops of the 2x4s to a flat plane.  Install the floor as you would over a sleeper system.  This is still a lot of work

Plywood vs. OSB

The relative merits of using OSB or plywood for the subfloor under a wood floor has been a hot topic.  The issue is the nail holding ability of the OSB especially if the moisture content of the subfloor has been high.  Many experienced professionals prefer plywood subfloors.  The consensus is that staples hold better than cleats if you are faced with a nail down installation over OSB.  Here are two links where subfloor materials are discussed.

http://hardwoodfloorsmag.com/forum/topic9-loose-squeeky-crackling-popping-floors.aspx

http://hardwoodfloorsmag.com/forum/topic167-understanding-osb.aspx

Antique Cypress Floor Inlay

Once again creative work by Matt Marwick of Precision Floorcrafters in Florida has garnered him national recognition.  The National Wood Flooring Association gave a Floor of the Year award for Matt’s innovative design at the national convention this year. The eye catching design features large end cuts from an antique cypress log as the centerpiece.

Now featured on the cover of the Hardwood Floors magazine for June /July 2011

Reclaimed Pine Flooring Heartwood Colors

There can be confusion between sapwood and heartwood that has not darkened in antique wood.  As living trees mature they develop heartwood around the center. Pine heartwood has more resin than the surrounding sapwood.  As mentioned in an earlier posting the heartwood darkens over time.  In large antique pine beams it is common for this process to progress through out the entire piece.  Occasionally however we find beams that still have yellow portions within the heart.  These areas are called yellow heart.  The picture has a board that was just surfaced showing areas that have changed color and areas that have not.  The question is sometimes asked if these yellow sections are sapwood, but they are not.  The sapwood is on the outside of the heart wood. If you look at the curvature of rings and the yellow has heartwood outside of it the yellow part is heartwood. Over time the light heartwood sections will darken and blend in.

Restoring Antique Wood Floors

We recently had an inquiry asking if more finish can be added to an old site finished floor to improve its appearance. This is what we used to call a buff and coat.  Recoating will not remove deep scratches or discoloration in the wood, but is a good choice in many cases where the finish is sound and not overly worn. The surface of the existing finish is abraded lightly to get it ready for additional finish.  If there are contaminates on the wood floor such as wax, dusting products, polish, etc. the new coat may not adhere in some spots and total resanding may be a better choice. The major water based finish manufacturers make pretreatment products which aid adhesion. The water based finishes are easy to use if you know what you are doing and are used by many professionals.  If you are doing the work yourself many first time attempts do not come out as well with these products. You might consider using a more traditional urethane floor finish with a slower drying time. Once you get everything cleaned up and ready two coats often looks better than one on an old floor. A finish with a low gloss level tends to help surface imperfections blend in. If you are not going to use water borne finish the old way to abrade it was to rub the surface with fine steel wool.  Go with the grain of the wood floor. It is a good idea to test the compatibility of the finish you are using with the existing finish in a small out of the way area before doing the whole floor.  Also the National Wood Flooring Association http://www.woodfloors.org/ has information on finishes and maintenance.

Antique Wood Floors Over Radiant Heat

We are occasionally asked if antique pine flooring is a good choice over radiant heat.  Over the years our customers have had many successful installations over this heating system.  There are general guidelines such as turning on the heating system in advance for several days to make sure that there is no excess moisture in the subfloor.  Also the temperature of the subfloor should not go above 85 degrees F. Wider boards are prone to show larger gaps in the heating season.  Vertical grain flooring moves less than select grain flooring.  As with any installation starting with properly milled flooring and exercising care to get the moisture content of the flooring (and the job site) correct go a long way towards getting an antique heart pine floor which looks good for years and years.  The NWFA has also developed guidelines for installing wood floors over radiant heat see Installation Guidelines, Appendix H.

Antique Heart Pine flooring from Reclaimed boards

 

Occasionally we get calls from people who have some salvaged lumber and they want make their own flooring.  Here are a few details to consider.

The fit of the tong and groove is critical if the wood floor is going to perform well.  A loose fit can lead to squeaks while a fit that is too tight will make the floor hard to install.  If you put two short straight boards together and then hold them in the air by one of them the other should not fall off.  A quick shake should cause the boards to disengage.  A difference of a few thousandths of an inch can make a significant difference.

Almost all wood flooring is made with the top face slightly wider than the bottom. As the floor is installed the top touches first leaving a slight gap between the boards on the bottom. The difference in width between the top and bottom avoids cracks showing between the boards in areas of slight sub floor irregularity.

A groove on the top inside corner of the tong allows a space for the nail heads as an addition aid to a tight fitting floor.

Some individuals with good skill levels have been able to produce serviceable flooring from antique wood, but most high quality reclaimed flooring is made by experienced craftspeople.

Natural Color Changes

The rich color of old heart pine is one of the main benefits of an antique wood floor. A discussion of heart pine may help you to get the look you want. Several species of wood change color significantly as they age. Lumber from freshly sawn antique heart pine logs change from light yellows to deep orange-red browns as time passes. The color change is especially noticeable in longleaf heart pine of high resin content. Other species such as American black cherry, Jatoba (sold as Brazilian cherry) and purple heart also show a significant color transformation. Oxidation of components of the wood drives the change in color and it is accelerated by ultraviolet light. Covering part of a board with aluminum foil and leaving it in strong sun light for a day or two can cause enough darkening to be seen. For a new wood floor much of the change in color takes place in the first few weeks. However the richer tones continue to emerge for several months. Area rugs placed on the floor before this time will keep the areas under the rugs from darkening. Heart wood typically changes color significantly more than sap wood. The color of freshly sawn longleaf pine River recovered® logs is lighter while heart pine reclaimed from buildings is usually darker. Reclaimed heart pine can also contain some yellow portions that are associated with high resin concentrations. The color deepens to the same range in wood from either source. The degree of color change in a new floor is strongly affected by finish that is applied. The type of finish should be considered as a part of the decision to determine the final color of the floor.

Knowing what to expect can help you flooring installation go more smoothly.

Antique Pine Reclaimed Wood for the Masters!

Goodwin teamed up with Akira Wood to replace the interior of the Oconee Golf Clubhouse at Reynolds Plantation just in time for the Masters Tournament. Here are panels and columns in Antique Heart Pine.

Another first! George Goodwin pulled a log from our sawmill log pond and Akira made the antique pine plywood made for the banquettes. More on this to come as it hasn’t been done before. Kudos and thanks to Akira Wood.

Choosing a wood floor professional -2

Part 2 – Hints for finding a finisher for heart pine wooden floors

Many of the suggestions for finding an installer in the first section also apply to looking for a floor finisher for heart pine so you might want to look at Part 1.
A directory of professionally certified finishers such as NWFACP’s list at http://www.nwfa.org/cp-about.aspx is one place to look for a person or company to sand your wood floor. Websites will often list certifications for the individual or company and classes they have taken. Membership in a wood flooring association can also be a positive sign. A certain minimum amount of work experience is highly desirable, but this is not a guarantee of quality work. Another indication of a commitment to quality work is attending wood floor industry schools. Also the sanding equipment should be professional grade. This does not mean that it has to be new but well maintained high quality equipment is important for a top quality job.
A discussion of the look you want to achieve helps choose between the many types of floor finish available for wood floors. Natural oils, hard wax oils, oil modified polyurethane, water borne acrylic or poly, and Tung oil (fortified or not) are some examples of what is available. Talk to your finisher about the properties of the different products such as –
—overall look,
—ambering,
—gloss levels,
—drying times (walk on floor),
—durability,
—odor,
—time for full cure (replace area rugs),
—VOCs,
—film build,
—maintenance requirements, and
—environmental concerns.
Additional information is available on the internet at http://www.woodfloors.org/WoodFloorFinishes.aspx and other sites. The brand of finish should be designed for use on wood floors for durability and so that film forming products flow to yield a smooth surface. Saving money by using low quality finish can significantly reduce the life of the floor. Professional products cost more but usually only add a small percentage to the overall price. Discuss the finisher’s experience with sanding antique wood floors. River Recovered® heart pine sands slightly differently than most other woods. Some finishes darken antique heart pine floors as they are applied and continue to enhance the natural color change in the wood as it ages. Other products maintain a much lighter shade. Certain species have different reactions with different finishes so it is best to use a combination of flooring and finish products that your floor finisher has experience with.
Dust control and possible paint touch ups on the baseboard are other topics to discuss in advance. The temperature in the room, relative humidity, and direct sun light in the areas where the finish is applied will be of concern to the workers. Commissioning a new flooring project can be stressful, but finding a good team to install and finish your floor makes the process easier and gives better results.

If You Think Antique Pine Flooring is Gorgeous…

Antique Heart Cypress "Tidewater Red" Brochure from 1904Here’s a brochure from the early 1900s touting the beauty of Tidewater Red Cypress. That’s about the end of the commercial availability of virgin growth, or original growth heart of cypress.

Today Goodwin offers River Recovered Antique Heart Cypress in many grades and milling patterns for paneling, cabinetry and millwork. We follow the 1904 grading standards, the last time any were published for this rare wood.

“New cypress looks almost like another specie”, says George Goodwin talking with Norm Abrams while they look at a 1,700 year old river recovered heart cypress log.

Zen Dog House Made with Antique Heart Cypress Reclaimed Wood

For all you Habitat for Humanity lovers, this doghouse was made by Goodwin Heart Pine to benefit. If you think antique pine flooring is gorgeous, you should see antique heart cypress. Russ Morash, This Old House producer, says, “The River Recovered Heart Cypress from Goodwin in my entry vanity is some of the most beautiful wood in the world.” Thanks Russ. We love you too!

Credits: Randy Batista Photography for hosting the event. Architect Tom Smith for designing the doghouse. Rick Bennett for building it while working at Goodwin. All of the above reside in Gainesville, FL.

Call for a sample of this beautiful wood for your very own.

Making Pine Flooring is Fun

Who would have thought 35 years ago that lovingly making beautiful antique heart pine flooring from River Recovered® logs would be so much fun. Years ago when This Old House’ Producer, Russ Morash, visited Goodwin with Norm Abrams, Goodwin’s fame began to grow. Now we are famous for Ax Men Joe Collins who worked with Goodwin Heart Pine for over 20 years. Here he is with his new river recovered logging boat.

Goodwin Heart Pine is employee owned. George will personally put his heart into making antique heart pine flooring for another 15 to 20 years at least. Craftsmen that he is training now will then be training their replacements so that you can continue to have the richest, most beautiful pine flooring in the world.

And… since George has developed with expert help from Andrew St. James, our COO, well-made engineered pine flooring the supply is going to last even longer.