Flooring 101: Pine, Hardwood or Reclaimed

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Flooring 101: Pine, Hardwood or Reclaimed

So you are getting ready to pick out a flooring style for your home.

The first step in the process is choosing what wood style you want to use – Pine flooring, domestic Hardwood flooring or Reclaimed flooring.  The best way to do this is to consider the pro's, con's, and aesthetics of each wood style and how they relate to your personal preferences and lifestyle.

Pine Flooring

Wide pine flooring is available in two styles Eastern White Pine flooring and Heart Pine Flooring.  Eastern White Pine flooring is the best choice if you want an authentic look, in the widest planks available.  This floor can be graded for more or less knots which will help you create a more casual look like the Artisan's Boutique Showroom in Nantucket…

Pine flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors









….or a modern look like this New Hampshire log home.

Pine flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors









This style floor will be soft, so it will acquire dings, dents, scratchs and scuff marks much easier than other harder flooring options.  But just because the wood is soft doesn't mean it doesn't work for flooring.  In fact, Eastern White Pine flooring has been installed in homes for over 300 years, and many of them are still in place today!

If you are considering an Eastern White Pine floor you should be comfortable with that fact that it will acquire dings and dents, and understand that this adds character to the floor.  Over time, the floor will harden.  Why?  As you walk on the wood, the fibers compress upon themselves getting harder and harder.  This is why so many pine floors have lasted in the original New England homes.

Heart Pine flooring is another authentic choice, originating from the Southeast, where over 200 species of “heart pine” grows today.  The best species for flooring is Long Leaf Heart Pine flooring, due to the fact that it is more stable and more durable compared to other heart pine flooring species. 

You will find this style flooring in New England buildings and factories, where Heart Pine was the premier building product during the Industrial Revolution, but also in grand plantation style homes from Alabama to Maryland.

Heart Pine flooring is prized for its beautiful color ranging from rich amber to warm gold and brown.  Heart Pine flooring will almost always have knots and it's strong grain pattern is a defining characteristic.

Both Eastern White Pine flooring and Heart Pine flooring are not available in an engineered construction.  This is due to the fact that the cost to create an engineered pine floor would be nearly three times as much as our solid wood flooring, with no benefit to you the client.  Our authentic, wide pine flooring is crafted from the most mature timbers resulting in the most stable floor even in a solid construction.  This has been proven again and again with our 20″ wide Eastern White Pine flooring being installed from Nantucket to Carmel.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring offers you a versatile mix of wood flooring styles including:

Dark wood flooring like Walnut….

Dark wood flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
















…and popular oak hardwood flooring like White Oak and Red Oak …

Oak hardwood flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors











Or you may like these beautiful, but less known wood flooring styles like Cherry Wood floors or Birch floors…

Birch hardwood flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors












One of the benefits of hardwood flooring is that there are so many options to choose from, whether you want a dark wood floor, or if you want a more rustic floor or modern looking floor – you can have it all!

Some flooring like Hickory and Birch will have more color variation from board to board.  You can minimize this with custom grading, or in the case of Hickory you can easily stain it to create any look!  That is why Hickory flooring is one of the most popular flooring options today.

If you are looking for durability, all hardwood flooring styles are relatively the same in terms of long term durability.  If you look at it purely from a JANKA scale perspective (which we don't recommend) Hickory and White Oak are at the top.

When selecting a hardwood floor it is important to understand “grade”.  Flooring grades are relative to the manufacturer you are working with.  Learn more about our grading practices and see examples.

One of the benefits of Hardwood flooring is that most species can be crafted in solid or engineered construction.  So those clients needing either option hardwood flooring is a great choice.

Reclaimed Flooring

Reclaimed flooring, like hardwood flooring is available in a variety of species.  Reclaimed flooring, unlike pine and hardwood flooring, and  is normally not available in different grades.  The one exception to this is Reclaimed Long Leaf Heart Pine flooring.   So one of the biggest things to understand about your new reclaimed floor is that it will have “character”. 

So what does this mean? 

When we craft a reclaimed floor we are salvaging from material that is hundreds of years old!  It has been weathering storms on the outside of a barn in Ontario; it has been worked on for 150 years in an industrial factory in Boston; it was ressawn from 2″ thick floor boards in an Ohio cattle barn.  This means that your floor will have nail holes, knots, cracks, splits in the boards, original saw marks, and color variation – just to name a few remnants from its past life. 

Take for example this Reclaimed Milled Barnwood floor installed in Hawaii…

Reclaimed flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors








…or this Reclaimed Chestnut floor installed at a home in Soquel, California…

Reclaimed flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors












This style floor is abound with color and character.  So if you are looking for a more  “pristine” floor, or want to control the amount of character in your floor, wide plank hardwood flooring might be a better choice for you. 

If you love the idea of character, and the unpredictability that comes with it, then reclaimed flooring is a gorgeous option, and the Carlisle SlowCraft™ process will make sure the boards you receive will be suitable for flooring.

Reclaimed flooring, unlike hardwood flooring, is not available as an engineered wood.  This is due to the fact that in order to make an engineered floor you need to cut the floor boards to about 3/16″ thick.  And with 200 year old antique wood the material can literally fall apart when it is milled that thin.  In order to create an authentic wide plank floor with long lengths and antique character, only use reclaimed solid wood flooring. 

Wrapping Up

No matter what flooring you choose it is important to work with the experts.  After all you want to invest in a lifetime floor not a temporary floor covering. 

Why not call and speak to a Carlisle Wide Plank Specialist, listening is what we do best, and we can provide you with a free Design Consultation, sample or an estimate.  We can even help you with installation planning!

Request our FREE color catalog for even more design ideas!

Free Carlisle Wood Flooring Brochure

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