Little Known Facts about Pine Flooring

Pine is one of the most popular flooring materials due to its affordability and durability. A pine floor can stand up to decades of use before it has to be replaced, making it not only easy on the wallet, but also good for the environment. 

Since pine is typically sold unfinished, you can have it finished in whatever way you like. If you like its natural appearance, you can simply have it treated with varnish or whitewashed. 

You can also have pine painted or stained based on your preference. It can even be left untreated, and it will develop a distressed look as it ages that many homeowners find appealing. 

Unfortunately, it also needs to be handled with care since it is prone to wear such as scratches and dents. Hence, it needs to be regularly vacuumed and dusted to avoid debris that could cause damage. 

Of course, you also have to be careful when moving furniture or other heavy objects to avoid the floors being damaged by deep grooves. You can avoid damage by using felt pads underneath the furniture.

You can also protect pine flooring by finishing it if you did not buy it finished. Depending on how much foot traffic it gets, you will need to refinish it every five to ten years.

Here are some interesting and little known facts about pine:

  • Depending on the species, it takes from twenty to 100 years for a pine tree to grow large enough so that it can be harvested and used for woodworking. However, this is still a much faster rate of growth than walnut or oak, making it suitable for forestry practices that are environmentally friendly.  
  • Most types of pine trees, such as table mountain, short leaf and white, can live from 100 to 200 years. But some pine tree species, like the bristlecone, have a potential lifespan of thousands of years. In fact, a Bristlecone pine, which was given the name “Methuselah”, has been alive for 4,600 years and is considered the longest lived organism on the planet. It is located in California’s White Mountains.
  • There was actually a bristlecone, which had been cut down, that had lived for 4,900 years. It had been discovered underneath Wheeler Peak, in a grove, and had reportedly been nicknamed “Prometheus”.
  • Pine trees that are grown in plantations for sawing timber can be harvested after only thirty years. Some trees, however, may be allowed to grow for as long as fifty years since older wood is move valuable. 
  • Pine is one of the longest lasting types of flooring. There are homes that have pine floors that are a hundred years old, and in some cases even older.
  • Pine logging actually started in the late seventeenth century, and logs were initially transported using horse-drawn wagons. By the nineteenth century, logging had become a huge industry, and logs were transported via river, horse and train to the sawmills where they were processed.
  • There are actually two machines that are used to turn pine into wood planks. A band saw is used to turn the cut log into a square shape. Then a gang saw is used to cut the logs into boards of different sizes. These boards are sorted according to size.
  • Virtually the entire log is used. Scrap wood is used for scrap projects such as particleboard. Chunks of pine wood are set aside for use in furniture making, and smaller blocks are used to make pinewood cars.

One of the varieties of pine used to make pine lumber, Southern Yellow Pine, actually consists of several species. The major species of yellow pine used for lumber are the Loblolly (pinus taeda); Shortleaf (pinus echinata); Longleaf (pinus palustris) and Slash (pinus elliotti). These species are virtually indistinguishable from each other, even under microscopic examination.