The History of Heart Pine

Reclaimed heart pine is a rare and exciting find these days. Once in abundance along the Southeast, Longleaf Pine covered nearly 90 million acres from Virginia to central Florida and westward along the gulf to Texas. Today, less than 10 million acres of protected forests are left. These unique trees reached heights of 175 feet and took 150 to 400 years to mature.

The only true heart pine left today is found in old buildings or in a riverbed down the eastern coast. Because of its strength, hardness, and golden red color, heart pine quickly became the building material of choice. Qualities like rot and insect resistance also made it a popular choice. Cut from the center of the Longleaf Pine tree, where the heartwood resides, is what makes the wood incredibly stable and dense. True heart pine will have at least 6 growth rings per inch. The more rings, the stronger the wood.

By the turn of the century you could find it being used in everything from the construction of boats to homes and industrial buildings. Most early homes in the South used heart pine for flooring, furniture and cabinetry but it was also used in larger construction like textile mills from Chicago to Boston, playing a key role in the Industrial Revolution. Antique heart pine flooring was actually installed throughout George Washington’s Mount Vernon home and the 260-year-old floor remains intact today. 

Heart pine is still the best choice for flooring and other woodwork in houses and buildings. This salvaged wood has increasingly grown in demand due to its aged strength, but it is also a very limited resource. 

Here at Atlantic Reclaimed Lumber, we are happy to offer a gorgeous inventory of reclaimed heart pine. Through a careful and painstaking process, we take great pride in bringing the past back to life in the beauty of heart pine.

Seeing the finished product in this spectacular antique heart pine wall board is a true treasure in the reclaimed lumber world!

Contact our ARL team to discuss your next design project at 423-474-4000 or email barnlumber


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