Frequently Asked Questions
How wide can I go in heart pine and heart cypress?
Flooring is available in widths up to 10″, with a 9″ face after the tongue and groove is applied. Heart pine logs may be two to five hundred years old but are often no more than 24 inches in diameter. It can take up to 30 years for a heart pine tree to put on just one inch of girth. Heart pine lumber is available up to 12 inches with occasional slabs up to 18 inches. Heart Cypress is much larger and Goodwin has recovered logs up to 1,700 years old. Heart cypress slabs are available up to 42″.
Is heart pine hard enough for wood flooring? What about heart cypress?
Heart pine is almost as hard as red oak (1225 vs. 1290 on the floor hardness scale) and is 29 percent more stable than Oak according to the NWFA. George Washington’s floor in Mt. Vernon is over 250 years old and is still walked on every day. Heart cypress is a softer wood, comparable in hardness to Douglas fir, however many clients rave about it as flooring.
Do you need to end match heart pine?
The average length of a heart pine floorboard is 7-8 feet and we cut them 2-4″ longer than marked. Floorboards in oak generally average 2-4 feet in length and require endmatching for added support when spanning floor joists. Remember that end-matching equipment may require the manufacturer to cut all of your longest boards to fit into the machine.
I need to match an old heart pine floor for repairs or for an addition. What do I need to tell you?
There are many questions to answer including lengths, color matching, knots, grain pattern, growth rings and face width and thickness. To assure the best possible match to an old heart pine floor we ask you to mail us a small piece so we can check the milling. You also need to measure whether the flooring is all the same width. The number and size of knots and the grain pattern of the original floor are the most critical factors to ensure that the wood we sell you is an appropriate match.
What do I call the match if it’s not flooring match?
Tongue & groove can be “flooring match” where the standard is 8/32 on top, 9/32 in the tongue and 7/32 wood below the tongue for a ¾” thick product. “Center match” is an older milling technique where the tongue and groove is in the center of the board. If you have an old floor that you are trying to match, you may find that you have neither center match nor flooring match and may need custom milling. None of this is to be confused with “end matching” which calls for a tongue & groove on the ends of the boards and is generally done only for floors such as oak that are short, 2’ – 4’ on average.
What would be the maximum lengths for a 5/8″ floor?
There is no reason to make 5/8″ floor. Boards that thin tend to “sweep” and can’t be securely glued down. We have, however, done a floor using 3/8″ boards with lengths of 3 feet.
How old are your Cherry logs? What is the average # of knots per 100SF? How would you compare Northern Cherry versus Southern Cherry versus your Wild Black Cherry?
The Wild Black Cherry we offer comes from 50-75 year old trees. Many are 2-3 feet in diameter. These trees had few lower branches meaning it has fewer knots than some cherry wood. There tends to be more figure and the wood maintains more of the red & pink tones as opposed to the northern cherry that turns a darker brown with age. At most, cherry will have 15-20 sound and tight small knots per 100 SF.
What else comes as wide as heart pine and what is the cost difference?
Barry Strup of The Woods Company sells antique oak 7-10″ random width at $9.40/SF and chestnut 7-10″ random width for $11.20/SF. All defects and character marks are left in at these prices – no grading is done.
You allow knots in all ‘non-clear’ products, 1-1/4″ or smaller and the knot ‘excludes casing’. What is casing?
The casing is the wood that immediately surrounds the knot. Because we only allow for sound, tight knots, of 1 ¼” or less, the casing adds very little to the overall diameter of the knot.
I really don’t want a red patina. What else do you have?
Antique Heart Cypress has warm brown tones or you could keep the Heart Pine from turning red with an ultra violet inhibitor in the finish.
My bathroom has linoleum over a plywood floor. How can I get a wood floor and what kind of wood is suitable?
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. Vertical heart cypress would be a good choice due to the high resistance to decay due to moisture.
How can wood from under water get dry?
River-recovered® logs are actually drier than freshly cut trees. The wood fibers are more relaxed from their 150+ year rest (see Fine Woodworking, August 1997). The wood is filled with oleoresin and does not take on any water. Even so, we carefully saw, air dry, then slowly kiln dry your wood to ensure that it will easily acclimate into your project’s interior.
Can anyone pull logs off the river bottom?
George Goodwin worked with the Florida Fish & Game Commission, EPA and Water Management groups for over 20 years to create a safe process for divers and the environment. The State of Florida requires divers to buy a permit that is for a particular section of the river. There are many logs on the river bottom, but only a few are original-growth, with no bark or limbs. The second growth logs that blew down from storms and have tops and root balls are left to provide habitat.
What is heartwood and what is sapwood?
The heartwood is the interior portion of the log while the sapwood is the outer layer that was still living when the tree was cut. Original-growth longleaf pine is mostly heartwood, the sapwood band being rarely wider than 2 or 3 inches. Sapwood has from 1 to 3 percent resin content compared with 10 to 25 percent resin in heartwood. It is the resin that gives heart pine its rich, red color and its hardness, thus the sap is softer and does not turn red. “All heart” material was once in great demand for its greater durability and strength. The last time 100 percent heart was specified was in the 1904 Lumbermen’s Yellow Pine Grading Reference. 95 percent heart means you will see approximately five inches of yellow streaks in every 8 feet of your floor. 70 percent or even 50 percent products are also called heart pine. Some prefer the yellow and red color variation. Others require all heart’s red color and hardness. You can contact the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) at www.woodfloors.org for a list of members who follow the NWFA’s Standards for Professional Conduct to be sure you get what you specify.
What’s the difference between River-Recovered® & Legacy™?
River-Recovered ™® wood is from river-recovered logs. It has no nail holes, typically has more life and richness, and you can get wider boards in 8″ and 10″ plank flooring.
Isn’t cypress too soft to use as flooring?
It is softer than many hardwood floors. It is not as soft as southern yellow pine that is often used for flooring. Heart cypress was the favorite flooring of Frank Lloyd Wright.
What species are harder than oak?
Our River Recovered® heart pine is. With respect to hardness once you get to the region of oak it is usually not of too much of a concern. Other species that are harder include ash, beech, brazilian cherry, mesquite, santos mahogany (not a true mahogany, by the way… the same as angelique teak is not teak), merbau, jarrah, purpleheart, hickory/pecan (most mills mix the two since they look similar), ipe, lapacho, masanduba, padauk, wenge and hard maple. Many of the tropical woods are considerably harder than oak. In most instances you should think of actually walking on the finish because the wood supports the finish.
Stair Treads and Mouldings
I need stair treads. Should I order solid or laminated treads?
The type of treads you purchase depends upon your preferences. Goodwin can offer solid treads as we have the original log and heart pine’s stability make it a good choice for wide planks. Our laminated treads are solid planks laminated using a glue joint for added strength. We can often help with custom stair needs or work directly with your stair maker to provide materials.
If I need 4-foot stair treads, do you up charge for specified length?
Can you reproduce moulding patterns to match my older home?
We offer several profiles to meet your needs. If we do not have a profile to match your older home we have the ability to make one to suit your needs. This involves a knife making fee of $50 per inch and a one-time template fee of $75.
I want the balusters and treads to be 3-1/2’ long.Do I have to buy 4’ or can I get just what I need?”
Balusters, newels and treads are available in 3’, 3-1/2’ and 4’ at no extra cost. These are the most common sizes used in construction and we try to make it easy on our customers. If you need a couple of inches extra on each one let us know and we may be able to accommodate that.
How far in advance of when I’m ready do I need to order?
Because our products are 100 percent custom manufactured, the entire process from start to finish can be 6-8 weeks. We often stock more frequently ordered sizes and can often fill your order more quickly. Flooring is usually made from 1″ thick lumber. Thicker lumber for doors or cabinetry takes longer to manufacture properly. Call us to check our dry lumber inventory and to ensure an on-time delivery for your project.
What is the lead time?
That depends heavily on what you order and usually varies from one week to six weeks. The timeframe is mostly affected by what we have dry and ready to mill. We make every effort to schedule your delivery to meet your needs by understanding your needs up front and by keeping in touch with you throughout the process.
How do I order? What about shipping?
Shipping is arranged through nationwide carriers. We price shipments with several carriers and pass our discounts along to you. We package carefully, steel band every 2’, cover with cardboard, attach the packs to skids and further attach pallets under the packs so it arrives to you in good condition.
Do I need to order more than I need to cover? How much extra should I order for waste?
Goodwin ships 100% useable material making it unnecessary to add for waste beyond what your flooring contractor recommends. Measuring for a wood floor depends on many factors including: the shape and layout of your rooms, the width of the planks, and the size of the total job, whether or not there are protrusions to fit around or cabinets may each require some extra. We trim each board 2-4″ longer than marked. Most flooring contractors allow 5% for cutting around protrusions.
How much extra wood do I need to order if we are laying the strips angled from the wall; i.e., not perpendicular to the wall?
The NWFA recommends 15% extra. That much is often overkill, but if you are using wide plank such that you will be cutting a larger proportion of SF when you angle cut a board, you may need that much. 10% is probably enough for 3-4″ and 12% for 6″ and 15% for 8″ and 10″.
Site Preparation and Layout
How do I check the moisture content of concrete? What is a typical moisture barrier material? Is an underlayment necessary?”
An easy way to test your concrete moisture content: take a square of polypropylene or Visqueen (2’x2’) and tape down. If condensation forms over 2-3 days, your concrete is not cured. A typical moisture barrier material is 6mm Visqueen or plastic over concrete slab, under plywood. Rosin paper or a material such as AquaBar-B (a bituminous layer between two layers of craft paper) is suggested by the NWFA
I’m constructing an old-fashioned house, three stories, with no subfloor on any of the floors. I want to use 5/4″ flooring on all three stories and have the floor exposed as the ceiling of the room below. Will Heart Pine hold up, or do I need to use some other wood?”
Heart pine is the perfect wood for this application. It takes 15″ of concrete to equal the insulating qualities of 1″ of wood and your heart pine floor finished at 1″ thick is much denser than many other woods. You will need to use at least 2’ joists, and you’ll have a floor that will be like new 100 or more years from now.
Any recommendations for floor specialists?
The National Wood Flooring Association has a list of members by state. 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.
Any recommendations for specialists who work with old wood such as antique paneling sections?
I usually ask the local historical society for recommendations. They have probably had to find such people for their projects. Another source may be the newspaper service directory. Ask them for references of satisfied customers.
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.
Do you kiln dry your wood?
Yes. We air dry and then kiln dry all of our wood products that are going into your home down to 6-8% moisture content. The river-recovered™ logs themselves are lower moisture content when sawn than a freshly cut tree. The water has actually cured the wood… a bit like the Japanese water curing techniques for wood used to make fine instruments. Kiln drying any wood that will be installed in a climate-controlled environment and finished with hard finishes such as polyurethane or lacquer is an absolute requirement. The only exception is thicker material such as mantles and slabs that are best finished with oils.
Won’t the wood cup if you mill it with the growth rings up?
We always give the customer the best face. This is extremely important to help conserve what little bit there is remaining of this rare and historic wood. If the wood is back relieved during milling, carefully sawn, air dried then kiln dried and shipped soon after milling to a properly prepared site, there will not be any problems with cupping. If the wood were milled with growth rings down, the wood could bow. Cupping or bowing only occurs if the wood is milled wet or not properly acclimated to a prepared site. On the other hand, a sample could bow if it is a small piece of wood that got wet or heated to extreme temperatures during mailing.
How do insects affect wood floors? Our clients always talk about insects in Florida when we mention wood.
Heart Pine and Heart Cypress that is mostly heartwood is virtually immune to insects. The original growth Heart Pine has a lot of oleoresin and Heart Cypress contains a lot of cypressein oil, making them both very insect resistant. Insects will eat sapwood, however. Check the percentage of heartwood in antique wood. Make sure the wood has been properly kiln dried and stored since drying. Most kiln drying takes wood up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit; however, wood brought in from the tropics is required to be heated up to 160 degrees to kill any insects.
Once I decide to purchase, what do I need to know to maintain my wood?
Maintenance is easier than ever with today’s modern finishes. Polyurethane finishes simply require sweeping or vacuuming and an occasional touch-up with a spray cleaner made for polyurethane. The most important part is to put felt feet under all of your furniture legs to prevent scratches. Please refer to the ‘Shop Talk’ section of our website and CD to help with the little extras.
How does Cherry hold up against bugs?
Cherry contains neither oils such as cypressine, found in cypress, nor resin, like heart pine, but the heartwood does have a natural rot resistance. The resistance is not as dramatic as heart pine or heart cypress.
If I stain my cherry with a mahogany stain, will the color of my floor change once the cherry starts to darken naturally?
Our cherry darkens to a brownish-red as it ages. By using a mahogany stain, you will be speeding up this process.
My wood floor has large cracks between the boards and where the ends meet. What can I do to repair it?
First check the moisture level of the air in that room. If the floor was not properly acclimated prior to installation, or if you run a dehumidifier, this will cause your floor to shrink due to loss of moisture. You may try a humidifier to add moister to the room causing the floor to swell, which will lessen the space between boards. If this is not feasible, two options would be using a wood filler of compatible color to fill the cracks or tear it up & relay it. Of course you will likely need additional flooring.
I have white spots around my sink. What do I do?I remember using tung oil and wax.
If the water droplets sit on a waxed surface for any length of time will get white spots. You can clean the surface using water and vinegar solution or a waxed wood cleaner and then rub the spots with more wax (essentially melting the wax by rubbing it with more wax), then buff the floor. Procoat from Professional Coatings is one cleaner that evaporates quickly enough to use over a waxed floor.
What are some treatments for surface scratches? How long should we expect various finishes to last? What types of products are there and how do we recommend maintenance and repairs?
The number one thing we tell clients about finishes is that the best one to use is the one your flooring professional knows how to use and likes. 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 five 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 BonaTraffic, Loba Supra, and Basic Coatings Street Shoe. 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.
Why is your wood so 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.
I can’t afford Heart Pine, cypress or cherry. How does Antique Longleaf compare with common flooring; i.e., southern yellow pine, oak, etc.; in regards to price, availability, stability, and hardness?
Our antique longleaf still offers you the unique quality of being river-recovered™ original-growth heart pine. Because its original-growth, you get few knots. It has the same grain pattern as our standard heart pine products & can be stained to closely resemble an all heart floor. It’s comparable to a standard yellow pine floor in regards to hardness & durability. Because it is ALL a by-product, it is generally offered in a pattern floor due to the limited availability of large amounts of any one size.
Can I visit Goodwin or call or e-mail questions?
Yes! We are located one mile away from Interstate 75 in northern central Florida and are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other times are available by appointment. Please call in advance to make an appointment. We answer our e-mail daily and we welcome phone calls.
If I don’t like my floor do you have 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, Goodwin will pay both incoming and out going shipping.
Can wood floors be used in commercial applications?
Goodwin Heart Pine has been used in a number of commercial applications, including our own office and showroom as well as offices and business throughout the country. We recommend Darcor casters (www.darcor.com) for office chairs and furniture that will roll on your wood floor. Also, make sure that you use a high-performance floor finish that will suit your particular application.