Where do I start to create beautiful wood floors?
Pine flooring IS softer than oak, elm, or maple, but yellow pine is significantly stronger than white pine, and I really REALLY love the look of pine (not necessarily knotty pine, just regular pine). It’s my all-time favorite wood, and the perfect wood species for our old farmhouse.
I deliver all the flooring and help bring it inside (it needs to acclimate to your home’s condition for at least 2-3 weeks before it can be installed).
Is it Planed?
This will make it less work and easier to sand, especially with soft recycled hardwood flooring like pine flooring where the boards may bow or have uneven thicknesses.
What widths and lengths can I expect when the floor arrives?
Reclaimed wood floors have a lot of character and color, if you have short boards and narrow widths your floor will look unnatural and busy. Through careful procurement practices you can get only the best timbers that will yield the widest and longest boards and maintain that when you are crafting the wood floor. An average width of 6-7" and an average length of 5-6' long is the best. The thickness before planning is ¾ inch.
Wide- plank yellow pine flooring in various widths (4″ 6″ and 7″). The lengths are totally variable — from 3 feet all the way up to 15 or more feet long. The mill just makes them as long as they can base it on the wood I have available.
Types of Siding-
Are the boards straight-line ripped? It is important that your reclaimed wood floor boards are straight when they arrive; this is done through a straight-line ripping process prior to milling. Although long boards can sometime have a slight bow to them because of the length the straighter the board the better your floor will look and the better the installation will be.
Understand the character.
Reclaimed wood will present nail holes, knots, knot holes, bug holes, checks, and cracks. Many times the checks or cracks can go the length of a board and in small sections go through the thickness of the board. Occasionally the tongue and groove may be missing from the boards in small sections. But if you purchase the material from the right company this character has been tested and is meant to be in your floor. Remember that each board part of an overall floor and you do not want to scrutinize each board too much on its own.
- Think about board placement.
Because there is so much character in a reclaimed wood floor you have to balance out the board placement so that the colors blend, the character is spaced throughout the floor and not all in one spot.
Maximize your lengths.
If you ordered from the right company you should have nice long lengths in your reclaimed floors, hopefully up to 10' - 12' long. These boards are very rare and hard to come by so don't cut them up. Some simple trimming to end-square the boards should be all you need to do.
- Sanding is optional.
Depending on the quality of the floor sanding the floor may not be required. This also depends on the space the floor is installed in and the customer preference. Reclaimed floors will have rough spots, mill marks and other character, some customers love this and want as much as possible. Others with small children may want to lightly sand this to smooth it out. Before you sand, install the floor and have a discussion, you may be able to eliminate or minimize the need for sanding altogether.
After it was all sanded, I clean up all the saw dust and dirt REALLY REALLY REALLY well. We used a broom and a shop vac to get most of it. Then I go over the floor with microfiber cloths until we weren’t getting anymore dust.
-Stain- Optional – I suggest Minwax as it dries quickly and has little odor.
Finishing your floors
- I used Varathane brand Floor Finish in “satin” because I didn’t want super shinny floors, just a nice sheen. I also used water based because the smell of of the oil based Varathane was out of control — and it took way longer to dry between coats.
I actually did 4 coats of polyurethane and did another VERY LIGHT sanding after the 2nd and 3rd coats (and then cleaning up any dust before applying the next coat).
I applied the polyurethane with a large foam pad on the end of a long pole (so I could do it standing up). I poured the polyurethane in a paint tray, then dipped his foam sponge in the poly, then quickly “brushed” the poly onto the floor in the direction of the grain. It’s best to make one single long pass across the entire length of the room before picking up the sponge — otherwise you’ll be able to see where you started and stopped.
If you are staining let the stain dry for 24 hours before starting the Satin and same withpoly — and then I only had to let that dry for a few hours in between coats. Once everything was finished, I let it dry another 24 hours before walking on it — and 72 hours before moving any furniture over it (and even then, I was really careful).
How do you care for / clean the floors?
Since there are so many flaws, imperfections, and color variations in the flooring, it’s really hard to tell when the floors are dirty (another bonus!) I actually spend WAY WAY WAY less time cleaning these floors than I did with our super shiny laminate wood floors in our other house.
I usually just run a Swiffer or vacuum over the floors twice a week and then spot clean any sticky spots with a damp cloth as needed. I mop them on my hands and knees (with vinegar water) every now and then — but seriously, I hardly EVER do this.
In my opinion, these floors are extremely low maintenance — at least for our family and life-style.
Reclaimed Lumber: Barn Siding– Unfinished $4.00 sq ft
Barn Siding and Kiln Dried- $6.00 sq ft
Kiln Dried, Planed, Ripped- $9.00 sq ft
Kiln Dried, Planed, Ripped, T&G, Back Relief- $11.00 sq ft
Install Flooring- TBD
Sand Flooring- TBD
Stain Flooring- TBD
Finish Applied- TBD