Salvaged Wood: New Life for Your Floors

Salvaged wood flooring offers gorgeous patina and unmatched durability.

| July/August 2001

  • This curly heart pine and cherry inset decorates a vertical heart pine floor.
    Goodwin Heart Pine
  • River-recovered flooring and railings add character and warmth to a room.
    Goodwin Heart Pine
  • River-recovered flooring and railings add character and warmth to a room.

Twenty-six years ago George Goodwin didn’t know much about salvaging old-growth lumber. But he’d seen logs pulled up from the rivers of the South, and he knew they were unlike anything found in lumberyards or hardware stores.

George’s plan—to sell heart pine pulled from the rivers where it was lost more than 100 years ago in transport to mills—hit a nerve. “People would call us,” his wife, Carol, recalls, “and they were just ecstatic that they had found a source for material of this quality that was last available to their grandparents.”

The Goodwin Heart Pine Company started back in 1976. Today, demand for old-growth wood has never been greater.

Other firms such as Mountain Lum­ber in Virginia, Conklins in Pennsylvania, and The Joinery in North Carolina salvage wood from old barns and abandoned warehouses. Their customers use the reclaimed lumber for everything from window casings to front doors. A few have been known to construct entire houses from vintage wood, but most people use it for floors that some say will last another lifetime at least, while lending a measure of beauty nearly impossible to recreate.

Old growth

“It’s the wood that built America,” George likes to say.

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