Pine, Eastern White and Western Ponderosa – Total Wood Species Guide

PROS: Here in the North East I have encountered eastern white pine very commonly used as a subfloor in many of our 80 year and older houses. If it sound and hasn’t suffered too much damage from other floors being nailed to it, by all means try to restore it. The thicker 1″ planks have more life to them. When 4 coats of oil-based urethane is applied this wood turns an amber red color which becomes redder over time. And certainly if you can find some antique pine try this as a new installation. The even grain structure and its unique knots give pine a certain charm to an older home. The most striking characteristic of antique pine is its extra wide widths and longer planks.

CONS: The newer plantation pine is as soft as balsa wood. I would never recommend this species of pine for flooring, only the old growth material is somewhat useful. Traditionally even with the old growth, in older homes pine floors were installed more commonly upstairs in lighter traffic areas because it is relatively soft. Eastern white pine is an oily wood that has naturally occurring drying problems due to the resins in the wood itself.

TREE FACTS: Eastern white pine is the tallest tree in eastern North America. White pine floors were common in buildings constructed before the Civil War. Found in the forests of western North America, it is one of America’s most common trees.