Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Is there a specific species of wood that you want or need? Some jobs require a particular species of wood to match an existing floor. When matching to an antique floor, it is particularly important that you order flooring that will be milled from material that was harvested at the same time as your existing floor. This means making sure that your flooring is coming from original growth and not new growth trees. We want to ensure we match the species that you currently have. Feel free to send or bring in a sample of your existing floor.
Some customers request a particular species because they have a specific visual image in mind for their new floor. During your search, keep in mind other species that might also provide the look you desire.
- Will the hardness of the wood be a factor in your decision? Woods range in hardness and density. Various tests can be and have been done to test for these characteristics. Traditionally, harder woods were used in common spaces such as living and eating rooms, while softer woods were used in private spaces such as upstairs bedrooms. Antique woods will be harder and denser than their modern counterparts, due to the slow growth nature of the old growth forests these trees were harvested in. Floor hardness is also an aesthetic choice. Some people like a harder floor for their kitchen, wanting something that will withstand the traffic of pets, children, and daily activity. We’ve also milled beautiful softer pine floors in kitchens that have a soft, warm feel indicating years of wear. A few species are shown here with the hardness label given by the Architectural Woodwork Institute:
“Soft”: Eastern White Pine
“Medium”: Spruce, chestnut, and fir.
“Hard”: Cherry, reclaimed Heart Pine, red oak, beech, and white oak.
“Very Hard”: Hard Maple and hickory.
- Do you need a floor with a particular kind of stability? Wood is a natural product. One of its inherent characteristics is the ability to expand and contract when exposed to varying degrees of temperature and humidity. All wood floors will move over the course of a year, and the way that a particular house handles seasonal changes will play a major role in determining how much the floor will move. The width of the floorboards and the species of wood also play a role. Wide boards will show more visible gapping as the wood shrinks, but narrower boards will also move, showing thinner gaps. Species vary in their stability. For example, oak and maple are less stable than Heart Pine. Stability may or may not be a consideration for your floor. Those laying a floor over radiant heat may want to choose either a wood that is more stable or milled for narrower widths. In many homes, the gaps that can occur between boards add to the natural charm of the floor.
- Are you looking for a particular color in your floor? Woods range in color and in tone. White pine and spruce, for example, are both light in color. Either species can be milled lightly for a deeper tone and more rustic character or milled to a bright and smooth finish. The range due to milling can be dramatic. Some species, such as American chestnut, vary tremendously in color, from light to dark – sometimes even within the same board. Other species, such as Heart Pine, are very consistent in color and tone. Finally, staining has been an option for customers who like the characteristics of a particular species but desire a slightly different color.
- What kind of character do you want your floor to have? Flooring varies with respect to character. Some of the different aspects to consider include grain and clarity/rusticity.
Wood can be sawn either perpendicular to the growth rings (quartersawn or vertical grain) or parallel to them (flatsawn or plainsawn). Quartersawn material is a more formal and linear look, while flatsawn material reveals more movement from the growth rings.
Wood ranges in its clarity with respect to knots. In our Heart Pine grading system, we divide material into three grades: #1 Clear, #2 Select, and #3 Rustic. Each grade has a specified range for knot size. With reclaimed wood, nail holes may also be present to differing degrees, according to grade. Flooring may also have checks (cracks) that run within the floorboards. The extent to which these are present varies by grade.
Most modern flooring is available in widths of 2″ to 3-1/4″, but wider floorboards are available. Flooring reclaimed from beams and timbers can be available in widths up to 12″. Your decision concerning the width of your boards will impact the look of your finished floor. We can source special material to mill boards with widths wider than 12″.
Finally, the milling process will affect the character of the floorboards. Flooring that is lightly or skip-planed will have been allowed to keep texture and tone that existed in the boards before they were milled. Saw marks and oxidized wood can both be present. Normally, however, flooring is milled in the traditional manner, yielding a cleaner, brighter tone and character.
Every flooring order will specify the species of wood, the character or grade, widths, thickness and lengths of floorboards (flooring is milled random length unless otherwise specified), and quantity. Specifications are available for our Heart Pine flooring options, which are available in different grades. Clarified descriptions can be provided for other material, to ensure all parties are clear about the character of the floor (nail holes, checking, knots, and mineral stains).
Call and let us know that you’d like to proceed with your order. We’ll get things rolling from there.
- Deposits: We require a 50% deposit to initiate an order. Because it is important to us that your invoice is accurate, we ask you to review your invoice carefully to make sure sizes, quantities, species, and grades are what you want. Deposits are non-refundable. A required signed Order Confirmation constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of sale and acceptance of the order as written.
- Lead Times: Estimated lead times begin with receipt of your deposit and signed Order Confirmation. Due to factors beyond our control, we cannot guarantee lead times, but Longleaf is extremely sensitive to the importance of scheduling, and we always make every possible effort to meet deadlines.
- Final Payment: Final payment, including shipping charges and sales tax (if applicable), is due upon order completion and before your material leaves our facility. At the time we initiate your order, we will provide a good-faith shipping estimate. If the actual cost of shipping should differ from the estimate, we will adjust the price accordingly on a final invoice.
- Forms of Payment: We accept checks, cash, and credit cards (Visa and MasterCard).
Longleaf ships lumber in a variety of ways, depending on the specific requirements of the job.
- Local Deliveries: are made either by Longleaf Lumber’s own trucks or by a reputable sub-contractor. We provide “curbside” or “tailgate” delivery only, meaning that our drivers will not carry bundles into your jobsite. Customers must provide labor to handle the delivery.
- Long Distance Deliveries: are typically sent common carrier. Common carriers require notification if the delivery is to a residential site. Often times, residential sites have restricted truck access and only smaller trucks can be used. Longleaf will work with you to sort out logistics. As mentioned above, these deliveries will also be “curbside” or “tailgate”.
- Overseas Deliveries: Longleaf will coordinate the loading of your order into shipping containers and onto a ship. Once the wood arrives in the port of destination it is the customer’s responsibility to get it to the jobsite.