Finding a wood floor professional

Part 1, Choosing an installer for heart pine wood floors.
Historic reclaimed wood flooring represents a substantial investment that will look good for a long time if installed and maintained properly. A good installation is greatly aided by the choice of a good installer. Installers range from those with little concern for quality, to the reliable and experienced, and finally an elite few have a reputation that commands a premium.

Here are a few hints toward finding an installer for your reclaimed wood floor; however, there are no hard and fast rules.
• Talk to people you know who have had good experience with their wood floors.
• Find out if questions asked after the installation received the same attention once the bill had been paid. Was service work done promptly?
• References from repeat customers are especially helpful. Most accomplished craftspeople are proud of their work and feel good about providing references.
• Websites usually show pictures of past work, and general company information.
• Schedule ahead of time. Many of the best firms are booked in advance.

Moisture issues are the cause of the majority of wood flooring complaints. Discuss the steps that will be taken to achieve the proper moisture content in the wood flooring with the installer. Highly resinous antique heart pine wood should be checked with a pin type moisture meter. Experience with local conditions helps determine the proper moisture level. Vapor retarders or barriers are a necessary part of most reclaimed wood flooring installations. Which product or system do they plan to use?

It is best to agree on your expectations of the final product prior to your purchase. This can include reviewing grades, species characteristics, installation standards (NWFA), and the time required to complete the work. A few detailed topics such as the proper nail schedule and checking the flatness of the sub floor are appropriate for discussion at this time.

Knowledgeable professionals are happy to spend the time to communicate with you in advance to assure your satisfaction. Written agreements can also help avoid misunderstandings. And don’t forget, workers should be insured to protect you from the potential liability of a medical claim.

Most good installers check the room lay out prior to starting the installation and periodically check that the floor is running true during the installation. Wood floor installation is a profession that offers easy entry for new workers in most localities. Experienced workers have had the chance to gain the knowledge needed for a proper installation.

You will not have all of the technical expertise to make the decisions needed for a good installation. Care in choosing the correct installer can help achieve the goal of long-term satisfaction. Contact Goodwin Heart Pine if we can answer questions about antique wood flooring.

Part 2, Wood Floor Finishers will follow

Reclaimed Wood Floors, Concrete, and Water

In the antique wood floor industry we often hear the comment that reclaimed wood flooring never needs acclimation. Unfortunately this is not the case. The high resin content of antique Longleaf pine diminishes the width changes driven by moisture fluctuations but does not eliminate them. Moisture concerns need to be addressed when using heart pine wooden flooring just as with other wooden floors especially if the subfloor is concrete.

Let’s start by listing a few observations

-Wood floors are often installed over concrete subfloors.
-The majority of wood floor complaints are moisture related.
-Untreated concrete readily absorbs, conducts, and emits water.

The combination of concrete and wood flooring calls for planning before the installation begins to avoid problems during the lifetime of the floor.

One of the first questions might be ’is the concrete dry enough now?’ Moisture meters or testing water vapor emission from the surface of the concrete can indicate if the concrete is wet. In some cases these tests are not reliable indicators of conditions that will lead to a successful wood flooring installation. Devices that measure the interior relative humidity within the concrete have been used in Europe for some time and are now often used here. If the moisture level is too high consider installing a vapor barrier or a penetrating sealer designed for use under wood flooring.
Concrete that is dry now may be exposed to water later. On-grade concrete can absorb water if exterior surface water accumulates or if the soil moisture levels increase. Once the water is introduced into concrete it travels to affect adjacent areas. If a vapor barrier was not installed the moisture can cause problems with an existing wood floor installation.

Non absorbing cushion such as closed cell foam is usually used under floating floors. Using porous padding material under floating floors introduces the possibility of retaining moisture if excess water is temporarily present.

Leaks from plumbing, appliances, roofs, or other building sources can result in wet wood floors. The National Wood Flooring Association suggests removing the water and drying a flooded floor promptly. For more details refer to the NWFA publication C200, ‘Problems Causes and Cures’. Some floors can not be saved. If the concrete under the floor has been wet it is important to verify that it has dried out before replacing a floor.


Connecting with Clients Who Love Reclaimed Wood

Green building is about reclaimed wood flooring and using reclaimed materials. See this beautiful River Recovered Antique Heart Pine reclaimed wood floor in this restored Key West home.

The owner noted that he chose Goodwin because he felt that we cared more about what he wanted than ‘just selling a floor.’

Call us and tell us about your project.

Save Money & Enjoy Your Home More

Here’s the US Green Building Council Heart of Florida Board of Directors meeting at Goodwin Heart Pine to plan how to better serve our homeowners. Some of us are also energy auditors for the local Community Weatherization Coalition. We decided to go to the Women’s Club and Rotary to share tips for saving money on your energy bill. Here are a few places to start. Every home is different, so you may want to browse to get many more ideas.
· Sealing a home’s exterior can save 10-25% of heating costs. You’ll want to focus on the common places for leaks and various types of caulks, weather-stripping and foam gaskets for exterior wall electrical outlets and light switch plates.
· A shaded outdoor Central AC condenser unit can save up to 10% on cooling, but make sure airflow is not restricted. Clean out leaf debris taking care of the coils and keep the large line well insulated.
· Each degree adjustment on your thermostat can save up to 4% on your energy bill. Preferred settings are 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the Summer time and 68 in Winter. Ceiling fans on when you are in a room will make the temperature feel more comfortable.
· Refrigerators use more energy than any other appliance. Clean the coils at least two times a year under the unit to save energy and keep the unit working well longterm. A long brush from the home supply store makes this easy.
· Adjust the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or Medium and drain the unit once a year to avoid sediment buildup.
We are planning newsletters quarterly so we can share more of the details on these and other home operation tips. Best regards for saving and enjoying your home even more.

Be Aware of Water in Concrete

When a client’s water heater flooded their Goodwin Heart Pine engineered wood floor the insurance company called in a restoration contractor. The contractor pulled up half the floor to the point where they said the water had gone in the concrete. After three days of dehumidification they declared the concrete dry.

Following the National Wood Floor Association’s procedure we used a concrete meter that requires drilling a small hole 40% of the depth of the slab. The meter readings were much higher than recommended to install a wood floor over concrete.

We pulled up the remainder of the floor so that the entire slab could be dried. And we provided the restoration contractor with the meter readings and a study on water movement through concrete. Fortunately, they agreed to bring back the dehumidification system and get the slab to the proper moisture content.

Wood floors are not rocket science; however, they do demand a scientific approach to water and subfloors of all types. Call if you would like us to send you the research paper on how to properly test concrete for moisture content.

Best wishes for great wood floors all the time for the longterm.

Heart Cypress on a Solar Bath House

When I pulled up to Camp Crystal Lake the other day it took me back 30 years to when my daughter and her friends went there to summer camp. The place hadn’t changed much. The longleaf pine trees along the camp trails were even more beautiful.

I made my way to the where UF College of Design, Construction and Planning students were building a solar bath house using Goodwin’s river recovered antique heart cypress as screens and building reclaimed antique heart pine beam trim as roofing boards. My work in green building puts me in touch with so many talented and wonderful people. It’s especially heart warming to see the student’s passion for understanding a place and building a beautiful and functional design that lasts.

Thank you Ashley, Erica and Dr. Hailey and all the great staff at the College for all you do.

Love Reclaimed Wood

I was looking across the breakfast table at George Goodwin this morning in his faded pink New Yankee Workshop sweat shirt that must be 25 years old by now and couldn’t help but smile. It’s great to have so many wonderful memories; sawing up that big ‘ol river recovered heart cypress log with Norm watching, cleaning reclaimed wood floors for the filming and then visiting the same client’s years later and hearing them say ‘I love, love, love my antique flooring from Goodwin. We are so very lucky.

Goodwin Organizes Green Halloween in Gainesville Fl

Goodwin’s heart isn’t just in our pine. As a Board Member on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Heart of Florida Chapter, Goodwin arranged for Green Halloween to join with Boo at the Zoo at Santa Fe College. Sustainable minded groups showcased their products (which included Goodwin’s antique reclaimed wood flooring) and services in one location for 4,500 kids of all ages. See the video or look at the photos on Flickr.

A Tree Named George

When George Goodwin traveled to the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge to help educate landowners at the 2010 Longleaf Alliance Conference last week, he had no idea the foresters would name a longleaf pine after him. What follows is a brief synopsis of an article by Jack Culpepper, Refuge Forester, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Call for the full article.

“George, the tree, was 322 years old! He was tapped for turpentine in the early 1900’s, but given a reprieve from logging when the Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 during the Roosevelt Administration to conserve rare places for future generations of Americans. George served the forest inhabitants in a variety of ways. People, plants and animals had a lasting relationship with George and the forest for centuries.

“George finally succumbed to a fire, one of the critical elements to longleaf ecosystem diversity, in March of 2010. He thought it was all over when he was being sawn for timber as a demonstration for the Longleaf Alliance Conference.

“Then George overheard the foresters talking about how his timber would be used to teach skilled woodcraft at a college in Charleston, SC. What bliss George felt as he realized that life and service doesn’t end, it only changes forms.”

Thanks Jack. We love you too. George Goodwin

Heartwood vs. Sapwood

Words can have a variety of meanings when used by different people.  Wood science textbooks tend to agree on the definition of the words heartwood and sapwood.  Trees transform sapwood into heartwood by depositing additional chemicals in the wood.  The color and durability of heartwood make it preferred for many products.

In informal speech ‘heart pine’ (or sometimes ‘heart of pine’) is often used to describe wood products containing the heartwood of southern yellow pine trees. Traditional heart pine floors were all heartwood. Now many products labeled heart pine actually contain a mixture of heartwood and sapwood.   As the color of the wood matures the heartwood develops a much deeper color whereas the sapwood remains yellow.  The contrast increases between the heartwood and sapwood as the wood ages.  According to the Southern Forest Products Association  website ” there is no set ratio of heartwood vs. sapwood in the grading rules that defines heart pine lumber.”   The site goes on    “Of the 10 Southern Pine species, longleaf pine is most commonly referred to in the trade as “heart pine”. It is generally characterized by tighter growth rings, higher density and greater proportion of heartwood. Longleaf lumber is so prized it merits a special quality classification within the grading rules.”

The superior qualities of longleaf pine heartwood enhance both the appearance and durability of products made from this wood.

Quick action can minimize the damage due to a water leak

We occasionally receive calls about water leaks on wood floors. Many times the floor can be saved if the water is removed quickly, and the floor is dried right away.  If the floor buckles or if some of the boards split you will face a more extensive repair.  Heat, air circulation, and dehumidification can all help the drying process. Commercial drying services can also be an option.  Do not sand a cupped floor flat if it is still wet.  Without aggressive measures some floors can take months to dry out.  Use a moisture meter to check the final drying.

Once the floor is dry, check to see if the fastening is still tight by looking for board movement. If the floor was very wet often permanent cracks between the boards will persist once the floor is dry.  Using fill or small slivers of wood glued into the gaps and refinishing may be an option.  Cupping may also be permanent, and can be sanded at this point if it is not too severe.

If you install a new floor it is very important that the subfloor and building components below the floor are well dried out before you start.  Installing new wood flooring over a source of moisture can damage the new flooring.

Love Reclaimed Wood Floors and Friends

Last night I was visiting my girlfriend, Deborah, to measure for some more reclaimed wood floor that she wants for an addition.

She looked down at her Goodwin engineered heart pine floors in her office and said, “I just love looking at this wood. I never get tired of it seeing it. It’s so beautiful.”

Thanks, Deborah. That’s why we put our heart in everything we do. We love reclaimed wood floors and happy clients… they can become friends!

Seasonal changes in wood floors

Reports have been coming in of cupped wood floors in the summer in Florida.  The periodic nature of this occurrence is similar to the seasonal appearance of cracks between boards in late winter and early spring in New England.  The explanation of both problems lies in the way wood reacts to changes in relative humidity and the way relative humidity reacts to changes in air temperature.  Air that is cooled 20 degrees Fahrenheit approximately doubles in relative humidity.  When warm moist air comes into contact with cool building materials the result can be either extremely high relative humidity or even water condensation on the building materials.  If these materials are the subfloor of a house with a wood floor installed on it the result can be a cupped floor.  To avoid this problem use a moisture barrier on the warm side of the floor assembly.  Insulation alone is not enough to keep the floor from high moisture unless it effectively limits the intrusion of water vapor.

Cracks between the boards in cold climates during the heating season can result from low relative humidity.  For every 20 degrees the cold outside air is warmed when it comes into the house the relative humidity halves.  This is the same process described above but in the other direction.  Over the course of several weeks of exposure to low relative humidity the wood flooring material dries out and shrinks.

Hello Wood Floors… Goodbye respirators and meds!

Hopefully…   When our grandson was born his bedroom had new carpet and fresh paint. I gave my wonderful daughter the Lung Association’s Healthy House book and thought we were doing better.

Two weeks before our granddaughter was born her room suddenly had to be painted pink. And the paint store didn’t offer my daughter the low VOC paint!

This spring the family replaced the carpet with Precision Engineered River Recovered Antique Heart Pine wood floors in both grandkids rooms.

We are all breathing easier… literally. So far, so good. I’ll keep you posted.

Love wood floors and grandkids!

Antique Wood Flooring Myths

1) Some people think that antique wood does not shrink and swell anymore so it does not need to be brought to the proper moisture content on the job site.  On the contrary wood science and field experience both indicate antique wood shrinks or swells when the moisture content changes.  You need to install the wood at a moisture content that is close to the value that will be maintained while the building is in use.

2) We often hear the remark that old wood does not need to be kiln dried.  There are two issues here.  First, most air dried wood has a moisture content too high for interior use.  The second is the possible presence of living organisms such as powder post beetles, termites, or mold.  Kiln drying to 140 F for several hours eliminates live insect pests in the wood.  Proper kiln drying also eliminates living mold and brings the moisture content down to a level that wood will not support mold growth.  Click on the link to read more information about kiln drying in our article in WoodSource KilnDrying101 .

Introducing Premium Mesquite

Goodwin offers Premium Mesquite… like reclaimed wood flooring it avoids cutting down the rain forest. Known for its warmth and natural beauty, Mesquite is a drought tolerant wood from regions not generally suitable for other trees.  It has very good dimensional stability and is very hard wood. The wood flooring is sawn and manufactured entirely in the USA using green backers and glues with ‘no added formaldehyde’ for healthy indoor air quality. Mesquite has considerable character markings that add natural beauty. It comes in 3-1/2” or 5-1/2” widths in engineered and some wider in solid wood.

WoodSource Magazine Explores the Durability of Cypress

The most recent issue of WoodSource magazine includes “The Long Term Benefits of Building with Cypress”  featuring cabins on the shores of Lake Michigan built for the 1933 World’s Fair.  In the article on page 14 Todd Zeiger, director of the Northern Region Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, describes the good performance of cypress compared to other woods which “had rotted away”.

Antique Cypress Enhances Beach Property

Utilizing the deeper and varied shades of River Recovered® Midnight Cypress wood, Dave Miller created this table for his clients’ coastal location.  The legs are made from reclaimed heart pine.  We appreciate pictures of fine finished products

Best Reclaimed Wood Floor of the Year

Goodwin’s wood won again! DM Hardwoods created the winning entry for the National Wood Flooring Association 2010 Contest using River Recovered Antique Heart Pine from Goodwin. Here’s a photo of last year’s winner in the same category. More photos to follow as soon as they become available.

Master Installation Class

Goodwin Heart Pine cosponsored a Master Installation Class held at the Bona training facility in Monroe, NC on February 10 to 13, 2010. The advanced school, which was organized by Howard Brickman, included hands on experience for the students in radiated field installation, wood bending, medallion fabrication, vacuum press gluing, scroll saw, and border techniques. Each student could construct their own medallion to take home. Chuck Garvey demonstrated Bona’s new flooring adhesive , and Daniel Boone presented Powernail’s recent products .
See a video of Layton Endres instructing on medallion construction.