Heart Pine Flooring

Heart pine was one of the most valuable building materials in the 19th century and continues to be.

By the 1920s, virtually every tree considered virgin-growth Longleaf Pine had been logged. Since true old-growth trees may have ring patterns that date 300- 500 years, younger generations of trees growing today will never possess the quality of these old trees. For many people looking to restore an old home or bring a classic look to a new home, there is no parallel to Heart Pine flooring


antique heart pine flooring.

Reclaimed Heart Pine Flooring available in 4 types.

Whole Log Reclaimed offers 4 types of heart pine flooring. Click on the images below to view pictures.

I’ve bought some really fantastic vertical grain Heart Pine flooring from the Folks at Whole Log. I later bought a nice heart pine mantel. They’ve got a great selection, fairly priced, and are nice people to deal with. Heartily recommended.

Rob L., Roanoke, VA

Heartwood is Universal, Antique Heart Pine is Unique

All wood species contain heartwood, not just Pine, and that’s where some misunderstandings start. Heartwood is the innermost of four layers in the cross section of a tree, and it’s found in all trees. But the heartwood in heart pine is dramatically different from that found in other trees, and why it’s so special.

  1. The first layer is Bark (inner and outer);
  2. The second layer is the Cambium (typically a thin green layer under the bark);
  3. The third layer is the sapwood, or the growing section within the tree which is most susceptible to decay;
  4. The fourth most inner layer is the “heartwood,” which is actually no longer a living tree component and is more resistant to decay, and usually much darker in color.

All heartwood is not equal, especially when we’re talking about antique reclaimed heart pine heartwood. With prices ranging from $4-$18 per square foot for antique reclaimed Heart Pine floors, depending on style, grade and width, you should confirm exactly what you are getting before you buy. You’ll not wish to be paying for reclaimed Pine, sometimes described to potential customers as reclaimed Heart Pine, at prices equivalent to the actual value of antique reclaimed Heart Pine.

Reclaimed heart pine flooring

Antique Reclaimed Heart Pine Has Many Cousins

So beware of imposters! Whole Log Reclaimed is your best source for true antique Heart Pine floors.

Reclaimed heart pine wood detail

Work With an Experienced Reclaimed Wood Supplier

bark graphic

Just because Pine comes from an old building or is dragged from a river doesn’t make it heart pine.

Heart Pine isn’t always reclaimed or centuries-old to be called that, either. Many pines have local names, and many wood dealers will use the pine name that they feel will sell their products.

You may hear it called Southern Yellow Pine, Antique Yellow Pine, or just Heart Pine.

In some cases, the heartwood of a number of Pines are called “new” Heart Pine, though even that could be highly inaccurate.

The most prized Pine wood was once called “The King’s Pine,” when this country was still owned by England and was what Whole Log Reclaimed calls antique reclaimed Heart Pine. It’s a Longleaf Pine, and yet not a softwood as is other Pine. Heart Pine is notoriously slow-growing in the Southeast and has the hardness of Oak.

Heart Pine was the skeleton for sailing ships of the day and ultimately the backbone for the industrial factories that forged America’s reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse. Most of the 300-500-year-old trees were, for the most part, eliminated by around 1910 due to over-harvesting.

Some second and third-generation growth stands are still being cut today, and are likely bought and sold as “new Heart Pine.”

In the wood of new Heart Pine, the heartwood that made old-growth Heart Pine famous is not well discerned, as the trees haven’t been allowed to grow large and develop old heartwood, which is a deep amber brown. Hence the name – “heart” wood. But you will see a lot of blonde or yellow in the wood as a marker to note here.

The virgin woodland stands of Heart Pine are now gone forever, although we are fortunate to have some preserves here in the Southeast. Today, truly authentic antique reclaimed Heart Pine can only be recovered from old buildings, factories and homes built over 100 years ago that are now being deconstructed.

Is Heart Pine a Hardwood?

Yes and No.

Antique Heart Pine is a legendary wood with the Janka hardness of the mighty Red Oak – so, therefore, a hardwood, but unique within its classification as a Pine, and unlike those others of its family identified as softwood rather than hardwood.

Trees are typically categorized into 2 major families:

oak leaf

Hardwoods – that have broad leaves that usually drop off the tree in winter like Oak, Poplar, Maple and Walnut.


Softwoods – that have needle-like leaves year-round are considered “evergreen” and include Pine, Spruce, Hemlock and Fir.

Generally, wood from hardwood trees has a higher density and hardness than softwoods, but actual wood hardness varies in both groups and Heart Pine is the prime example.

Of sailing ships, grand old homes, and “The Wood that Built America”

Heart pine hardwood flooring close up.

Antique Heart Pine flooring was installed throughout George Washington’s Mount Vernon home and the 260-year-old floor remains intact today. Seafaring ships needed the long and sturdy masts that heart pine provided, and early settlers chose to build their houses with this strong, slow-growing tree.

So yes – Heart Pine is a hardwood.

As heart pine lovers, we work with Longleaf antique Heart Pine flooring on a daily basis. In fact, our attraction to it got us started in this business in 1984, so it’s no wonder we enjoy sharing its rich history.

Longleaf Yellow Pines took 100+ years to mature, and they can live beyond 500 years! Or at least they did once-upon-a-time. The trees largely covered the Southeast along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Once they’d grown large enough, they developed what’s call heartwood, or heart content, which can be a radiant dark red, rust or amber color.

About 97% of the total population of the original Longleaf Pinus palustris was harvested for timber use long ago. What’s left of those trees today are what we reclaim & re-constitute for discriminating buyers today. Only a small amount of first-generation heart pine trees remain. But there’s still lots of that 97% of the 390+-year-old wood for our reclaiming and available for our use today, Yes?

To answer, I must ask and answer the original question in another way. Is Heart Pine a hardwood? Heart Pine suppliers will tell you yes.

Heart Pine Floors - Hardness & Durability

Indeed, wood from some softwood species can be considerably harder than that of some hardwoods. Ships wouldn’t have been built with it unless it was.

The broad genus “Pine” actually has 3 sub-genera : 2 subtypes are softwoods:

  • Strobus (White Pines or soft Pines)
  • Ducampopinus (Pinyon, Bristlecone and Lacebark Pines)

The 3rd subtype – Pinus - includes over 50 subspecies of yellow hard pines.

But only 1 of these Longleaf varieties, Pinus palustris, bears the claim-to-fame as “the King’s wood”, or antique Heart Pine.

It can be confusing, but according to the National Wood Floor Association, the softwood Pine from the aristocratic Longleaf Pine genera called Heart Pine possesses hardness comparable to the standard bearer of hardness-  the mighty Red Oak. Additionally, Heart Pine is very stable, meaning it doesn’t twist and bow, and wears like iron as a floor.

So, although Pine is not considered a Hardwood, antique Heart Pine floors are very durable and their beauty is beyond compare.

Why Choose Reclaimed Heart Pine Flooring

  • It greatly increases the value of your home
  • It’s stable, durable and easy to maintain
  • It’s resistant to moisture and rot and bugs don’t like it
  • Its rich color is like no other wood in existence
  • It’s a virgin heartwood which is now essentially extinct
  • It’s an environmentally green building material because no living trees have been cut down

Additional Information