Flooring questions - heart pine & random width?

kerrygwMarch 8, 2009


We are looking for wood flooring for certain areas of our 1906 Arts & Crafts (-ish) house - namely, the foyer, downstairs hallway, kitchen and family room (which is an addition). We are in the NYC area - would heart pine be a valid choice in this area? I seem to keep seeing it mentioned as a purely southern product, and wasn't sure if it would be out of place here. Also, I've seen some beautiful random width reclaimed floors - but again, would random width look out of place in a 1906 house? I usually think of them as being in the much older homes. We aren't looking for absolute authenticity (the addition of a family room would ruin that right away) but if something would look completely out of place I'd like to avoid it. The remaining floors (that we'll be keeping & refinishing) are standard width fir I believe (or so I've been told). Opinions appreciated - thanks!

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We have original southern yellow heartpine in our upstate, NY home. So no, it's not just in the south! And many people mistake it for fir--so I think it would be a good choice to blend in with your other floors.

Sounds like a great plan (only downfall is that reclaimed wood costs a pretty penny--we only bought 19 replacement boards and it was not cheap!!).

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 8:04PM
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Thanks! Yeah, the budget is getting tighter and tighter (no surprise there) so we'll have to see how it all fits in.. here's hoping! :-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 5:26PM
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I'm thinking the heart pine and random width might look out of place. We had an A&C house built in 1918 and it was all the same width, oak, maple or fir, depending on the part of the house. Might save some money to go with just oak or maple.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:44PM
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I have worked on Victorian houses with pine flooring in a mix of three widths, 2 7/8, 3 1/2 and 3 7/8 ( face width, not incl the tongues). It is very subtle. Not what you would really expect of the term random width, (more like anything from 4" to 10" in the same room) but that's what it was...

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 11:22AM
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Don't skimp on beautiful floors! In my opinion, reclaimed heart pine is one of THE most beautiful, high-character floors you can have.
You mention that the house is "Arts and Crafts (ish)"... while figured oak and maple are the most likely suspects for "front rooms" in many pure A&C (the back-of-house typically being at-that-time-cheaper pine or fir), I have seen some beautiful A&C-influenced homes with old-growth heart pine.
Look up Mountain Lumber Co. on the web. They have the most splendid selection of fabulous reclaimed woods. Although there are some cheaper sources, I have had mixed sucess with others; never dissapointed by Mountain Lumber Co.

Here is a link that might be useful: HomeMasons, Inc. Design, Built.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 6:12PM
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Mountain lumber has a beautiful product. I have never enjoyed laying flooring as much as I did theirs.
It's pricey, but if you realize it will last several lifetimes, it's an investment. Unlike engineered, laminate, most tile. It will never look dated, because it's an instant classic.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:35AM
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Wow, thanks for all the input everyone! Homemasons, this is the house...

It's been colonial-ized inside and it's a bit of a mix, thus my half-hearted attempt at a description. I've been looking at Carlisle & Pioneer Millworks and will add Mountain Lumber to the list to check out. Casey, I was looking at different types of random widths - some only varied by an inch or so (2.5-3.5 inches), others were more dramatic (4-8 inches). I'm afraid especially the more dramtic ones may just be too different from the existing floors (standard width douglas fir I think) - in particular where the new areas of the house will butt up exactly to the old areas.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 1:27PM
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Wow, great house!

We have a 1912 colonial revival with oak in the public rooms and heart pine upstairs. The pine is "random widths" but the range is pretty small at 3-4.5". I love the look, but it is less formal and symmetric than the fixed width.

Personally, I think the heart pine is more attractive than Oak. It has incredible color variation and a real warmth about it. If it is in your budget, I'm not sure you could find a prettier floor. I agree though, you would want to keep the board width relatively consistent with the rest of the home.

Just as a matter of geography, southern pines are definitely southern. That doesn't mean that it wasn't used in other regions, but it would have been much less common. The whole point was that they were using the "cheap" wood for the private rooms and splurging on the expensive wood in the most public areas. If you start transporting the "cheap" wood large distances, suddenly it isn't as cheap anymore. Of course, since reclaimed heart pine certainly doesn't count as "cheap" wood anymore, it would be in keeping with the spirit of the times to display it proudly in a prominent area.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 11:01AM
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Thanks Bill! Very helpful.. I guess it's time to start really narrowing it down!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 3:01PM
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