Antique Wood Flooring - Add Timeless Beauty to your Home
Features, Types, Kiln Drying and Milling
Antique wood flooring has been deemed better than it's newly manufactured equivalent in two both appearance and workability. Old lumber has a timeless beauty to it, with its many hues that are deep and alive. Try all we like none of our modern day processes have come any were near to replicating such properties.
Antique flooring comes primarily from two main sources: sunken logs that never found their way down river to the sawmill decades before, and from salvaged late nineteenth century buildings. Therefore we can see this is a non-renewing resource and we can also hopefully understand why it is sold at such a premium.
In some states there are a number of small dealers who sell "dodgy barn board" which have received no professional drying or milling. Such retailers are best avoided by consumers. Scanning the market you will find many dealers who specialize in specific types of antique hardwood. Whatever the situation though, you would be best to only do business with a dealer that has been established for a while and which oversees its own production and drying.
Unlike with new timber, we cannot rely on grading systems when dealing with antique wood because in those times no such system had been put in place. This is not an all together bad thing, with people focusing to closely on its grade and no paying enough attention to its appearance. The other major difference between antique wood flooring and its newer counterparts is that it has defects in it. It is the knots, the wormholes and the stains which give antique wood its unique character and much sought after appearance.
It is possible to have a choice between "antique" and "antique distressed" flooring. What are the differences between the two? Well the first type is usually cut from beams and therefore has had less exposure, while the distressed type originates from boards that still contain features such as nail holes and stains. Read about wide plank flooring.
Antique Flooring - Kiln Drying and Milling
Why does old hardwood still need to be dried? After so much time having passed the lumber used in to make floors is bound to have been exposed to rain and therefore it is sure to have a high moisture content. What is even more cause to concern is that it might have an uneven moisture content, which would cause warping and splitting later on. Drying also has the advantage of chasing out any insects that could impact on the floor's sturdiness.
Milling the wood conforms it today's better know specifications - such as including tongue and groove joints to make floor installation easier. Surprisingly it has been found that generally older wood is more stable than the newly manufactured wood. New wood is called "reaction wood" i.e. it has abnormal tissue which is the cause of warping and cracking. Old wood is therefore better suited for flooring.