We have taken every effort to accurately answer some frequently asked questions based on our years of experience. If you have a question that isn't answered here please e-mail it to: greg@authenticantiquewoods Your question will be answered and added to the list.
***Special warning about humidity***
Changes in humidity are what will cause your boards to move. The job site must be maintained at the humidity level you are going to maintain when you live there. This way the boards will acclimatise to the environmental conditions that you are comfortable with. If the humidity level changes after you move in, the environment will change and the boards will move.
To keep the floors from moving: Keep the humidity level stable prior to receiving your shipment of flooring. This is true of new or antique woods.
Click here for acceptable humidity levels: cmhc
Hear are the questions answered on this page:
What is antique wood?
What is Patina?
What can antique wood be used for?
What are the differences between antique wood and new wood?
Where does most of your salvaged wood come from?
Are you running out of old buildings to salvage?
Can antique wood be used over in floor heating?
Can this flooring be used in a boat house or near a lake?
Is it safe to use this flooring in an unheated cottage?
How does humidity affect the flooring?
Why does wood have to acclimatise before its installed?
Once the wood is varnished, doesn't this seal the wood and lock the moisture content?
What does moisture content mean?
What does relative humidity mean?
What humidity content should I keep my house at?
I've heard antique wood is environmentally friendly, is that true?
What about bugs in the wood, are there any and will they infect my house?
What about holes and cracks in the wood?
How do you install this flooring?
How long does it take for the varnish to dry?
How do I look after antique wood floors?
We have antique wood but our job is delayed,how do we store it?
We hired our own installer and have left over flooring, can we return it?
We're ready to order, how long does it take to make the order?
Why does it take so long to make?
We've decided to use antique flooring but at what time during construction should it be installed?
What is engineered flooring?
Is engineered flooring better?
Q: What is antique wood?
A: Antique wood is old salvaged building materials that are reclaimed out of old structures such as barns, houses and warehouses, etc. The wood needs to be a minimum of 80 years old before it has enough patina to be considered antique.
Q: What is patina?
A: Patina is the deep rich naturally present colouring found in well aged wood. By contrast, new lumber such as pine is very white whereas antique pine wood can range in colour from reddish brown to a deep golden brown when finished with oil based varnish. The colour is the result of the naturally occurring patinas.
Q: What can antique woods be used for?
A: In our experience the most popular use is for flooring but it can be used for wall panel, stairs, furniture, cabinetry, etc. In fact it can be safely used in most things that new wood is used for. If you want to use antique building materials for structural purposes such as a post and beam house, consult your local building authorities as there may be regulations that apply to using old lumber in new load bearing construction.
Q: What are the differences between antique boards and new?
A: There are a number of differences that come into play. First, antique woods are essentially used materials. So they will have defects in them like knot holes and cracks. In antique boards this is a good thing as it adds to the rustic nature of the floor boards. In new boards these markings would be cut out and disposed of. In addition, the patinas between the two are completely different. The deep rich naturally occurring colours in antique planks almost gives the impression that the boards have been stained or treated in some way. Whereas new wood has very little colour in comparison. Also to be considered is that antique timbers and other lumbers are primarily for decorative purposes and shouldn't be used in load bearing applications without proper inspection by the authorities.
Q: Where does most of you salvaged wood come from?
A: The vast majority of material comes out of old barns from all over southern Ontario. Most of our product starts as old barn wood. There are other structures that get used as well such as houses and kilns. The most unique structure we have gotten lumber out of was the central fire dept building in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. During its renovation to bring it up to fire code a number of old heart pine planks were salvaged from it which were converted into flooring.
Q: Are you running out of old buildings to salvage ?
A: Not yet but we probably will. Every 100-200 acres in the country generally had a barn on it as well as other out buildings and houses, etc. Many of them are still there though no one is using or maintaining them. So these buildings are disappearing as time and development claim them. We have made some advancement in how much material can be salvaged from each building. As a result we harvest more old lumber per structure than we did years ago, which helps to stretch the supply. We keep in mind though that there is a limited number of these structures left.
Q: Can antique wood be used over in floor heating?
A: Yes, but its not always a good idea to use solid hard or soft wood flooring over in floor heating.In many cases engineered flooring is needed to ensure that the boards don't shrink. It is possible to install solid plank flooring over in floor heating but a great deal of care has to be taken by everyone involved, from the manufacturer right down to the general contractor and home owner. Even with this care there will probably be some movement in the boards when the heat is turned on and off through the seasons.
Q: Can this flooring be used in a boat house or near a lake?
A: Yes, as long as the home is properly sealed and air tight to stop moisture from getting in under the wood. Make sure the general contractor is very diligent in this area. Expect some movement movement between the boards through the seasons, especially if you like to leave your windows open a lot.
Q: Is it safe to use this flooring in an unheated cottage?
A: This flooring can be used in a cottage that gets closed every year. Temperature is less important to the stability of the boards than humidity is. As long as the building is properly sealed the wood will be fine.
Q: How does humidity affect the flooring?
A: Wood takes on or gives up moisture depending on its surroundings. In a very high humidity setting, the wood will take on moisture and expand. In a dry environment it will give up moisture and shrink. To stop the boards from moving the humidity of the house would have to be maintained at a steady humidity year round. Humidifying or dehumidifying as needed.
Q: Why does wood have to acclimatize before its installed?
A: To give the wood a chance to expand or shrink according to the needs of your house. The moisture content in the boards will equalize to the humidity level in your house, this needs to happen before they are installed so that they don't move after.
Q: Once the wood is varnished, doesn't this seal the wood and lock its moisture content?
A: No. A well varnished piece of wood will still move, it just slows the process down. That's why cabinets and furniture are build with moving panels so as the wood moves it doesn't break the panel.
Q: What does "moisture content" mean?
A: This is a way of measuring how much water is present in lumber. A 6-8% moisture reading is needed for all interior wood. What this means is that there is approximately 6-8 gallons of water in 100 boards feet of lumber. That's why it is possible to get a moisture reading of 100-120% moisture content in some new woods.
Q: What does "relative humidity" mean?
A: Essentially this is the amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold at its present temperature. Ex: If the humidity reading is 80% this means that the air is presently holding 80% of the water vapor that it is capable of holding at that temperature. This is a simplified explanation.
Q: What humidity content should I keep my house at?
A: A good comfort zone is around 35-45%. Maintain this year round and you'll see little to no movement in your floor boards. See the cmhc web site.
Q: I've heard that antique wood is environmentally friendly, is that true?
A: Yes, for several reasons. The wood that is used is reclaimed from old unused buildings. By using wood from this source you are avoiding cutting down new trees for use as flooring thereby reducing our impact on the forests. These buildings are deteriorating and will soon be rotten and unusable, by harvesting their lumber we stop them from going to landfills. The nice thing about antique wood is that you get rewarded with a gorgeous floor for helping to recycle these buildings and re-using their antique timbers.
Q: What about bugs in the wood, are there any and will they infest my house?
A: That's why it is necessary to heat treat the lumber before working with it. Properly heat treating the lumber kills all pests.
Q: What about holes and cracks in the wood?
A: In most cases all holes and cracks are filled prior to the varnish being applied. Depending on the flooring you've ordered you may decide not to fill everything. Ex: With heritage grade rustic flooring the colour is on the surface of the wood. If we fill everything we then need to sand the filler smooth. Doing this will remove most of the rustic nature of the wood as well as its colour. In this example, you may choose not to fill every marking so as to have a deeper patina with more character when finished.
Q: How do you install this flooring?
A: All antique floors need to be stapled or nailed through the tongue as well as some surface nailing to help hold everything in place. The boards must be glued down with a good quality construction adhesive such as PL400 or a floor adhesive like Dri Tack. You want to make sure you use an adhesive that stays flexible after it has dried as these move with the boards through the seasons. A rigid glue could cause the boards to break. After installation the holes and markings are filled. After the filler curs the floors are sanded and the varnish is applied.
Q: How long does it take for the varnish to dry?
A: That depends on the kind of varnish and the environment its used in. The drier the environment the faster the varnish cures. Usually a varnish can be walked on with sock feet and very light traffic in 24 hours. Always read the label of your particular brand of varnish and remember, if the varnish is taking longer to dry than expected, give it the time it needs. Too much traffic on an uncured varnish will cause problems and expensive repairs.
Q: How do I look after antique wood floors?
A: Clean them often using a vacuum or dry duster. Keep them free of dirt and grit. Give special attention to areas around entrances and under mats as dirt can accumulate there and wear the finish. Keep pets nails trimmed. In the event that you have a spot to clean that the duster or vacuum can't handle. Use a well wrung out soft cloth that is damp only. If that wont do it then use a cleaning solution provided by a urethane manufacturer such as minwax or bona kemi. You can find these cleaners in hardware stores around the wood finish section. Be cautious about using other cleaners as they could possibly damage the varnish or leave a wax or soap scum build up that makes repairs to the varnish virtually impossible.
Q: We have antique wood but our job has been delayed, how do we store it?
A: It must be kept in a moisture controlled environment. Ideally you should keep it in your home in the area it will be installed in.
Q: We hired our own installer and have left over flooring, can we return it?
A: All uncut lumber that is still in its original condition and moisture content can be returned for a refund. If you need us to pick it up you will be charged for it. The boards will be checked for moisture content and structural integrity before it will be received.
Q: We're ready to order, how long does it take to make the flooring?
A: That depends to a large extent on what you've ordered. For the most part the standard flooring lines such as antique pine take 6-8 weeks for us to find the rough lumber and process it. This time is an estimate only. We recommend that you place your order as well in advance as possible.
Q: Why does it take so long to make?
A: Barns and century buildings were built out of whatever trees the settler had on his plot. As a result we may have to search through many barns before we find one that has your species. In addition, a great deal of work is involved in harvesting the antique boards and milling them to fit you needs.
Q: We've decided to use antique flooring but at what time during the construction of a house should it be installed?
A: The house must be sealed with all windows and doors in place. All heating and/or cooling systems must be operational. It is best for the drywall to be done and at least primed before our installation. Be careful that the process of the drywall plaster drying doesn't throw the humidity level of the house out of balance. Its best if the trim work and the cabinetry are not installed yet as the flooring needs to be sanded and finished in place. Also, the installation price is based on open rooms without anything in the way, installing cabinets and trim too early will slow the pace of the installation and may cause a change in price. This includes door casings and jambs.
Q: What is engineered flooring?
A: Engineered flooring is made by gluing a layer of solid wood to a base of high quality multiply plywood, often Baltic birch or something similar. The idea is that the plywood will hold the veneer of wood in place so it wont shrink or expand. If the product is made right it will last and do as expected. In our experience not all engineered products are equal quality. Some delaminate when the glue gets old or if a poor quality glue is used. This means that your floor won't move through the seasons but the solid wood top of the product could, at some point, seperate from the plywood. This is not repairable and the floors will have to be replaced. If you choose engineered buy a product that is specifically guaranteed not to delaminate.
Q: Is engineered flooring better?
A: I don't think its "better", I think it does a different job. Engineered flooring is more stable and can be used over in floor heating with relatively no movement between the boards. However, if it gets wet it is likely to delaminate and fail where solid wood can often be repaired. If engineered delaminates for any reason, it can't be fixed, whereas solid wood can be. It can also be re-finished more times than engineered. My advise is to put some honest thought into what you are trying to accomplish in your house and weigh the pro's and con's of each product carefully. Maybe one type of flooring works best in your application or the other. Or maybe a combination of each depending on the rooms your installing in.
Q: What are our payment options?
A: Payment can be made by cheque or cash
Authentic Antiquewoods Ltd. 706140 County Rd #21, Mulmur, On