8 Things Homeowners Need To Know About Heart Pine Flooring + Cost

Kenneth Wilson

Thanks to its aesthetic, durability, and strength, heart pine flooring has been a crowd-favorite choice among many homeowners for many years now.

These floors can last you as long as 100 years– so it’s not hard to see the appeal behind this flooring material.

So, if you’re looking for unique floors to use in your next home improvement project, heart pine flooring is a great option to consider. (Related: 30 DIY Pathways For Your Backyard)

Before you make any purchase or a trip to the local hardware store, let’s talk about all the things you need to know about this wood flooring type: the good, the bad, and its average costs.

8 Things about Heart Pine Flooring

1. It is Derived from a Pine Tree’s Dead Center

This dead center of the pine tree’s trunk is commonly referred to as the heartwood. It is often favored over sapwood (living, outer section of trunks) as it has natural rot resistance and mechanical strength.

Throughout the country, many wood flooring contractors generally refer to many pine varieties as heart pine flooring, including the shortleaf pine heartwood, loblolly, and Southern yellow pine.

But for some wood flooring experts, only the heartwood flooring made from longleaf pine is its purest form.

Here’s a quick rundown of heart pine wood characteristics for your reference:

  • The wood has a rich shade and a tight grain structure
  • Longleaf pine has more resin content than other pine species. In return, the heartwood is more durable and more rigid.
  • It has a 1225 Janka Hardness rating (out of 4000)
  • In a sense, it is considered a softwood that has some remarkable hardwood features.

Nonetheless, it’s a great hardwood flooring option you can choose for your next project.

2. Using Heart Pine Flooring has Several Advantages

Simply put, this unique flooring option fits both commercial and residential purposes. If you’re looking to improve the aesthetic of your living space– these floorboards feature a rich, rustic patina thanks to many years of exposure.

It makes any room appear to be cozier and warmer. Let’s get into the many benefits of using heart pine flooring at home:

  • Rustic appearance - Both textured and reclaimed heart pine offers an antique, rustic appeal to any home. Heart pine planks from old trees aging over 200 years have an exquisite charm that gives a strong sense of heritage. It usually has around six growth rings per inch, giving a beautiful detail on the wood’s surface.
  • Strong and durable - If you compare heart pine flooring to other wooden floor types (cherry, yellow pine, or walnut), you’ll find this flooring material is highly durable. The hardness scale can attest to this. Heart pine is only a bit softer than red oak wood. However, this flooring material can handle years of heavy traffic and furniture weight without compromising its structural integrity.
  • Improves the value of your property - Suppose you choose heart pine flooring for your next home project. In that case, you just improved the resale value of your property. Many homeowners consider old-growth heart pine flooring to be a great selling point. It offers strong allure and proven durability that can last you an entire lifetime. If you’re planning to place your home in the property market at some point, consider installing this type of wood flooring.

3. Heart Pine Wood Flooring Also has a Share of Disadvantages

Like all flooring material options, there are a few downsides in choosing heart pine wood floors. Here are some disadvantages to keep in mind as you decide.

  • In short supply - Longleaf pines are known to be slow growers. It is relatively difficult to find new heart pine nowadays, given its long logging history. Commonly, standard heart pine planks available in the market today are reclaimed planks. Since the material is relatively scarce and takes a lot of effort to produce– this option can be pricier than other hardwood flooring types. It’s best to prepare your budget accordingly.
  • It is difficult to stain and sand - This wood floor’s naturally rich red-brown shade shines through standard stains. Since it has an uneven grain density, some wooden floor parts may soak better colors than others. It results in unevenly stained floors. Sanding, or the pre-staining process, may also be laborious because of heart pine wood flooring’s high resin content. It may gum up the sandpaper (fine-grit paper).

4. There are 4 Major Types of Heart Pine Flooring

In general, there are four different types of heart pine wood flooring.

  1. 1
    Engineered wood - It refers to precision-engineered heart pine floor planks that mimic authentic old-growth heart pine.
  2. 2
    Textured Heart Pine Flooring - This engineered wood flooring type incorporates different wear layers. The floorboards are also hand scraped to achieve a textured surface appearance.
  3. 3
    Prefinished Heart Pine Flooring - These floorboards are sanded, stained, and sealed at the manufacturing plant before being sold. Homeowners can benefit from its more accessible and faster installation process.
  4. 4
    Reclaimed Antique Heart Pine Flooring - It refers to heart pine flooring planks that were reclaimed from old homes. Some reclaimed heart pine is sourced from logs recovered from the nearby rivers.

5. Heart Pine Flooring is Known for its Durability

As previously mentioned, heart pine flooring is renowned for its durability. If you can properly maintain it over the years, it can last you as long as 100 years.

Of course, your wooden floors may show visible signs of wear and tear after decades of heavy use, but their structural integrity remains the same.

Old-growth heart pine has 98 to 100% heart content– making it as durable as hickory or oak hardwoods.

6. Heart Pine Flooring is Cost-effective

The total project cost of heart pine flooring installation will mostly depend on its type. Engineered heart pine planks start at $6 to $12 per sq ft, while reclaimed heart pine sells an average of $27 per sq ft.

Installation costs are also cheaper than what you’d usually pay for other hardwood flooring types, mainly because it doesn’t require any staining.

To get the best price deals on heart pine flooring options, get at least four price quotations from local retail or installation companies so you can compare and select the best choice.

7. Heart Pine Flooring does Not Need Refinishing.

Another advantage to heart pine floorboards is it doesn’t require refinishing. These floors already have a stunning reddish-brown tone, reflecting its natural beauty.

Any attempt to refinish the floors may only disappoint you– considering it may soak up stains unevenly.

You may be better off buying prefinished heart pine flooring if you want floors with a finish that blends well with your room’s design.

8. Heart Pine Flooring Can be Challenging to Install

Since heart pine flooring is an unusual flooring option, it can be rather challenging to install. You may need to work with several nail holes and deal with lots of mess in the end.

If you plan to install something other than engineered heart pine planks, it’s best to hire a professional to handle the installation for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the cheapest Heart Pine flooring variety?

The cheapest variety of Heart Pine flooring will depend on its brand and quality. Engineered hardwood can be a more affordable alternative in most cases, but it can be challenging to find with Heart Pine.

Will Heart Pine flooring eventually change in color, like other woods?

Like most wood species, Heart Pine will change its color when exposed to harsh sunlight. Natural oxidation will start to turn your heart pine into a different color. You can expect a more prosperous and deeper color for your flooring.

Kenneth Wilson
December 12, 2021
Contractor Tips, Flooring

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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