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Antique Cypress Floor Inlay

Antique Cypress

Floor of the Year Matt Marwick

Once again creative work by Matt Marwick of Precision Floorcrafters in Florida has garnered him national recognition.  The National Wood Flooring Association gave a Floor of the Year award for Matt’s innovative design at the national convention this year. The eye catching design features large end cuts from an antique cypress log as the centerpiece.

Now featured on the cover of the Hardwood Floors magazine for June /July 2011

Restoring Antique Wood Floors

Cushion edge end grain

Reclaimed Heart Pine

We recently had an inquiry asking if more finish can be added to an old site finished floor to improve its appearance. This is what we used to call a buff and coat.  Recoating will not remove deep scratches or discoloration in the antique wood, but is a good choice in many cases where the finish is sound and not overly worn. The surface of the existing finish is abraded lightly to get it ready for additional finish.  If there are contaminates on the wood floor such as wax, dusting products, polish, etc. the new coat may not adhere in some spots and total resanding may be a better choice. The major water based finish manufacturers make pretreatment products which aid adhesion. The water based finishes are easy to use if you know what you are doing and are used by many professionals.  If you are doing the work yourself many first time attempts do not come out as well with these products. You might consider using a more traditional urethane floor finish with a slower drying time. Once you get everything cleaned up and ready two coats often looks better than one on an old floor. A finish with a low gloss level tends to help surface imperfections blend in. If you are not going to use water borne finish the old way to abrade it was to rub the surface with fine steel wool.  Go with the grain of the wood floor. It is a good idea to test the compatibility of the finish you are using with the existing finish in a small out of the way area before doing the whole floor.  Also the National Wood Flooring Association http://www.woodfloors.org/ has information on finishes and maintenance. Especially with antique wood, you can find small ways to improve any damage or discoloration that has happened over time, because much antique wood already carries natural imperfections!

Antique Wood Floor, Concrete, and Water

In the antique wood floor industry…

We often hear the comment that reclaimed wood flooring never needs acclimation. Unfortunately this is not the case. The high resin content of antique Longleaf pine diminishes the width changes driven by moisture fluctuations but does not eliminate them. Moisture concerns need to be addressed when using antique heart pine flooring just as with other wooden floors especially if the subfloor is concrete.Antique Wood Floor

Let’s start by listing a few observations
-Antique Wood floors, or any wood floors, are often installed over concrete subfloors.
-The majority of wood floor complaints are moisture related.
-Untreated concrete readily absorbs, conducts, and emits water.
The combination of concrete and wood flooring calls for planning before the installation begins to avoid problems during the lifetime of the floor.

One of the first questions might be ’is the concrete dry enough now?’ Moisture meters or testing water vapor emission from the surface of the concrete can indicate if the concrete is wet. In some cases these tests are not reliable indicators of conditions that will lead to a successful antique wood floor installation. Devices that measure the interior relative humidity within the concrete have been used in Europe for some time and are now often used here. If the moisture level is too high consider installing a vapor barrier or a penetrating sealer designed for use under antique wood flooring.

Concrete that is dry now may be exposed to water later. On-grade concrete can absorb water if exterior surface water accumulates or if the soil moisture levels increase. Once the water is introduced into concrete it travels to affect adjacent areas. If a vapor barrier was not installed the moisture can cause problems with an existing antique wood floor installation.

Non absorbing cushion such as closed cell foam is usually used under floating floors. Using porous padding material under floating floors introduces the possibility of retaining moisture if excess water is temporarily present.

Leaks from plumbing, appliances, roofs, or other building sources can result in wet wood floors. The National Wood Flooring Association suggests removing the water and drying a flooded floor promptly. For more details refer to the NWFA publication C200, ‘Problems Causes and Cures’. Some floors cannot be saved. If the concrete under the antique wood floor has been wet it is important to verify that it has dried out before replacing a floor.  Best wishes for a great longterm antique wood floor. Call if we can help with further questions.

Best Reclaimed Wood Floor of the Year

Goodwin’s wood won again! DM Hardwoods created the winning entry for the National Wood Flooring Association 2010 Contest using River Recovered Antique Heart Pine from Goodwin. Here’s a photo of last year’s winner in the same category. More photos to follow as soon as they become available.