Monday, April 10, 2017

Which is better for my home: engineered flooring or solid wood flooring?

Our informative series continues with a focus this week on the differences between engineered flooring and solid wood flooring. Both Engineered and Solid wood flooring are excellent with tons of versatility, beauty, and will add great value when used in either residential or commercial applications. However, there are some applications where one may be better than the other!

Engineered Flooring Benefits

Engineered flooring offers a very high level of stability. The way it is created is taking a veneer of real wood and applying it to a plywood backing. In the case of Albany Woodworks, we take our reclaimed flooring lines and turn them into a sustainable, low VOC engineered product. We back it on sustainable Baltic birch plywood. This stability also allows for wide width flooring that is very trendy these days. However, not all engineered flooring is created equal so it is important to do the research on the brand you are considering purchasing. Ideally for a long life with an engineered floor, a 4 mm or more wear surface ensures the ability to refinish the floors. This amount of wear surface is almost the same a solid wood floor that is tongue and groove as well. Engineered flooring can be installed easily either by gluing it down or nailing it down. The tongue and groove design with end matching makes installations very simple!

Optimal Uses for Engineered Flooring

Engineered flooring is incredibly versatile and pretty much can be used for most applications. However, there are a few that it may be considered a better choice than solid wood flooring. 

1. Wood accent wall - the tongue and groove with end matching makes it optimal for this application. It installs easily and looks great! 

2. Ceiling paneling- It is very popular these days to have a wood ceiling as an accent point in a home, particularly with a neutral color scheme. Engineered wood makes an excellent material for ceiling paneling for the same reasons it works so well for wall applications. 

3. Extreme climates- beach home, mountain home or anywhere you might experience extreme heat, cold or humidity, engineered flooring's stability is a great choice to minimize any swelling or shrinking that wood naturally experiences. The 4 mm wear surface also means that you can refinish it just like a solid wood floor after years of wear and tear.  

Stay tuned for the rest of this blog on the benefits of solid wood flooring. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How do I pick the right size pine beams for my home remodel?

How to size beams for your new home is a common question we get from customers! So, we have decided to do an informative series to help all those homeowners out there wondering the same thing! Each week will cover a new common question that our customers ask us.

Why Choose Pine Beams

You may be wondering why people choose to incorporate exposed beams in their home design. They can serve many purposes from decorative to structural. They provide a beautiful and interesting focal point in a room while creating a sturdy home. Not a fan of the rustic look? Not to worry, any company that provides you with beams should be able to ship them to you fresh sawn for a more refined appearance.

Sizing Pine Beams

This really is a great question to ask your general contractor, architect, or a company like Albany Woodworks. Their expertise will ensure that what you are envisioning is correct! However, we believe it is just as important for the homeowner to understand the sizing process so it is a great experience for everyone involved! Whether the exposed beams are decorative or structural, the dimensions chosen should fit the room, i.e. what may have been placed in the building when it was built as a structural component. In other words, the beams should look like they can "do the job". 

In order to figure this out, there are several keys elements to consider in this decision: the height of the ceiling, a combination of the direction the beams will be placed and the length of the beams and finally, the frequency (how many will be placed in the space). It is also important to understand the terms associated with a beam. These are length, width and depth (pictured above). 

So now what? Here is where expertise does come in handy but having an understanding of where your expert is coming up with his or her information is also helpful. Here are some general rules that are pretty standard when it comes to sizing beams. 
  1. The greater the frequency (number of beams being placed), the smaller the beams can be. 
  2. The taller the ceiling, the deeper and wider the beam should be.
  3. Long beams should be larger overall to maintain proper proportions. 
  4. Since beams typically rest in the framework of the wall, the beams needs to be approximately 8 inches longer than the inner dimension of the room (span).
The goal is nice proportion and a good aesthetic perspective. The rules and sizing apply for hollow beams that are for appearances only also. Here are some sizing examples! If you had a 13 ft tall ceiling with a 20 foot span (the direction the beams will go), this room would require a minimum of an 8in W X 12in D X 20ft 8in L beams. 

Now what about a smaller area like a breakfast nook or a hallway like the one pictured here? Lets say this area has a ceiling height of 8 ft and span of 12 ft. You would need a maximum of 4" X 8" to  6" X 8" beams with the length of 12ft 8in.  

With a few details, you can achieve the home design of your dreams! Albany Woodworks has been working in the beams, flooring and building materials industry since 1976. We value working closely with customers to ensure they have a great home building experience. To find out more, click here

Monday, April 3, 2017

"American Pickers" Nashville Store History and Other Historic Finds

Ever wondered what you find in the infamous "American Pickers" store? This blogger got the opportunity to visit the Nashville store and discover some of the historic pieces on display. My adventure also included learning the intersting history of the automobile factory that houses the store. Along the way, I spotted lots of, yep you guessed it, historic, original pine beams and flooring!

Wood Wheels American Pickers Store
Photos from Model T Ford Club of America. 

The first thing that caught my eye was this wood spoke car wheel! After some research, I discovered that wood spokes were used on the first Model T cars. They were used until 1926 when steel wheels became the latest invention. They bare or painted for the luxury option. The wood often chosen for this application was hickory. 

Around the corner, I stumbled across this vintage dress from Country Music sweetheart, Loretta Lynn. The award winning singer has had a 60 year long career. She paved the way for women in the country music industry. She was the first woman to receive the CMA's "Entertainer of the Year" and the first to receive a certified gold album. She still remains the most awarded woman in country music. She also holds another title in Albany Woodwork's history. She was one of the first customers to purchase adirondack chairs from a young Richard Woods in the early days of Albany Woodworks. These chairs sat on her ranch home porch outside of Nashville for years. 

And then nestled among the historic treasures was the antique woodworking. It was breathtaking in its own way. Each beam and piece of wood has resided in the building since 1881, when it was constructed to house a boiler company and then in 1904, the famous Marathon Automobile Factory. The Marathon Auto Company grew rapidly for the next few years, gaining investment and prosperity. Unfortunately, it fell as fast as it grew. By 1914, it was crumbling and closed soon after. There are only nine Marathon cars remaining today and are incredibly collectible. Marathon was the only automobile company to build cars within Nashville's city limits.  

The 130,000 sq ft building sat in disrepair and empty until the 1980's when it was purchased. The new owner renovated it and turned it into the Marathon village, a series of shop spaces, event spaces, and artist lofts. The renovations kept as many original features as possible. When the owner first went into the buildings, he pried open doors that had been nailed shut for nearly fifty years. Behind the doors, he found a time capsule of the early 1900's with highly sought after car parts, machinery and other historic artifacts sitting there waiting to be found. This just proves that you never know what you will find behind the doors of the historic buildings of Nashville, Tennessee. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

What's inside the historic buildings of Nashville, Tennessee?

A recent trip to Nashville uncovered several historic buildings full of beautiful, virgin growth pine beams, pine and oak flooring and intriguing backstories. Here is a sneak peak at some of these amazing storefronts and warehouses all from the late 1800's, the backbone of historic Nashville! First stop was the Acme Feed & Seed, now a restaurant. This historic building on the infamous Broadway street is filled with original windows, beams and flooring!

Photo from National Trust for Historic Preservation

The building was built in 1890 and opened its doors as a grocery store that same year. It housed several companies in the next 120 years from a grocery store to a baking soda company to a flour company. It was a state of the art building for its time. It even included an elevator to get buggies to the 3rd floor to drop off shipments. It wasn't until 1943 that it became Acme Feed & Seed, the name it still holds. The Turner family, the original founders of the feed and seed store, still own the building.

In 2013, a local businessman leased the building and turned the 4 story, 22,000 sq ft building into a restaurant, bar and music venue. Keeping the authenticity of the historic building materials, the venue is filled with exposed pine beams and original oak flooring. It took a whopping $6.5 million to historically restore the building to its current condition. 

Photo from Preservation Magazine copyright Joe Buglewicz.

Next stop on the tour was the old Marathon Automobile factory building. Stay tuned for our next blog where we take a look at the old equipment of the automobile factory and a peek inside the storefront from the hit show American Pickers. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Reclaimed Wood History: A journey back to Louisiana

Every piece of reclaimed wood has a story to tell. We recently discovered the intriguing history of reclaimed beams pulled from the heart of the blues. Unbeknownst to our purchasing team the history of the reclaimed beams continues! When the shipment of heart pine beams came to the Albany Woodworks facility, a fun discovery was made! Marked on one of the beams was the inscription "Natalbany LLYP Denkmann". After some research, it was discovered that this beam was manufactured by the Natalbany Lumber Company. Albany Woodworks resides in Albany, LA, a mere 7 miles from Natalbany, LA where the Natalbany Sawmill stood.

The Natalbany Lumber Company was founded  as a joint project of the Denkmann and the infamous Weyerhaeuser families in 1901. The Weyerhaeuser-Denkmann Lumber Company was started in the 1860s. Denkmann was renowned for his hardworking attitude. It is said that he nearly drowned in the Mississippi River trying to rescue logs and often was seen with slings on his arms still determined to work a full day. Before his death in 1905, Denkmann started the Natalbany Lumber Company. The head offices for the sawmill were located in Hammond, Louisiana (pictured below).

Photo from the book Hammond byEric W. Johnson and Catherine H. Tijerino
The beams were most likely purchased during a boom in Greenwood, Mississippi. Greenwood experienced a resurgence in prosperity when the railroad was built in the 1880's. There, they served as support beams for a building for the next 100 years until the building was demolished in 2016.

It may seem almost fateful that the beams found its way home back to Louisiana. From here, it will be milled into reclaimed heart pine flooring. From the forests of Louisiana to the famous hometown of Blues Legends and Morgan Freeman and back to its origin, it will continue on sharing its beauty, story and life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reclaimed pine beams with a history of Blues

Albany Woodworks' CEO, Richard Woods, recently set off on a journey to Greenwood, MS to acquire beam stock for his reclaimed flooring business. What he ended up finding was a far more interesting story than the typical wood purchase. The building Woods inspected was located in a historic neighborhood in Greenwood, Mississippi called Baptist Town. This neighborhood is rich in history dating back to the early 1800's. Baptist Town was established primarily by African American workers when life in the South revolved around cotton plantations, gins, compresses, and oil mills. The area quickly became popular for late night revelers after the bars of Greenwood closed. The after hours popularity gave birth to a strong blues base and a safe haven for musicians that wanted to escape the cotton fields.

Photo from
Some of these musicians became quite popular and eventually legends of the Blues music genre including Honeyboy Edwards, Tommy McClennan, Robert "Dr. Feelgood" Potts, and, probably the most famous, Robert Johnson, Baptist Town is said to be the final residence of Robert Johnson when he passed away in 1938 at the young age of 27. A more recent famous resident is Morgan Freeman. Before the age of 10, Morgan Freeman lived in various cities including Baptist Town. In 2009, Baptist Town was added as a key point on the Mississippi Blues Trail, a state wide series which highlights the important role that Mississippi played in the development of the famous Blues genre. 

Woods was amazed at the unexpected back story of the town. "Part of what I love about this job is the opportunity to learn the history of these places and buildings that I pull wood from. I feel by using the quality, antique building materials from these places , it allows the history to live on."

Stay tuned for another interesting backstory discovered when the beams were actually brought back to Louisiana to be cleaned and prepped for milling! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dirty Top Pine has met its match in this Kitchen Design!

Looking to add a rustic, authentic touch to your home? This can seem overwhelming with all the choices for home decor out there. However, one option that will last a lifetime and is always on trend is dirty top pine. Albany Woodworks supplied the flooring for a recent new home build in the green country side of the deep South. The homeowners wanted the bona fide Southern feel in their home while maintaining a modern ambiance. The solution was dirty top pine a.k.a. our Orleans Collection.

What is so special about dirty top pine? When you use this flooring, you are installing 200 of years of history, character and not to mention the beautiful color that can only be achieved with time! Paired with neutral tones gives the flooring the chance to shine and still allows for those modern touches to complete the look. 

These homeowners installed dirty top in the entire first floor including family room, hallways and entryway. The original saw marks and coloration is the perfect choice for areas of high foot traffic. The level of rusticity is completely up to the homeowner! Want the flooring to have lots of character and prevalent saw marks? Have an installer lightly sand it when placing the flooring. Want a smoother, more refined feel? A heavier sand will take out some of the roughness but still give you a rich tone. 

Dirty top pine is not only great for floors; it is also a wonderful counter top. This owner wanted to get creative and constructed the ultimate kitchen island.

The dirty top counter surfaces continue into the laundry area, creating a great sense of continuity through the downstairs. 

For other applications of dirty top pine, check out our blog "The Many Faces of Dirty Top Pine." 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

An Unforgettable Accent Wall for Every Room and Style!

Reclaimed wood accents are here to stay in 2017. If you are in market for a new look for your home without having to redo your entire style, a wood accent wall may be the perfect answer. Worried it won't fit in with your current decor? Toss those worries aside! Picking the right wood, texture and color can make a wood accent wall possible in any style or room. Here are some of our favorite looks!

1) Industrial meets Rustic in the Kitchen- These Tennessee homeowners opted for cypress paneling with a grey wash in the kitchen paired with exposed metals beams and a raw stone wall. The combination is highlighted by an abundance of natural light.

2) Naturally contemporary living space- To keep a light and airy feel in this contemporary living room, this Louisiana based homeowner chose a partial wood accent wall. The neutral colors, natural look of antique heart pine flooring and exposed brick create the optimal contemporary style. 

3) Modern with a Caribbean feel- Feel like going for a real wow factor? Try floor to ceiling wood! This Key West home has a true tropical feel with natural antique heart pine with clear finish on the floors, ceilings and walsl. The lighter color wood paired with a neutral headboard creates an open, airy ambiance.

4) Traditional southern sitting room- If your home is more southern traditional style, then adding a pecky cypress accent wall is the perfect choice! A custom heart pine fireplace mantle with antique heart pine floors and cypress paneling create the perfect cozy sitting room for the family. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Before and After: Sinker Cypress Transforms into Stunning Home Accents

At the bottom of rivers and lakes throughout the South lay a hidden treasure from a past era of industry. When logging ruled the Southern United States, rivers were the primary source of transportation for the giant logs that were cut from the abundant forests of states like Louisiana, Georgia and Tennessee. As these logs were transported, some would come loose and sink to the bottom of these brackish rivers. There they lay in wait, cypress trees from the 1800's being perfectly preserved due to their natural rot resistance and giving truth to its nickname "Wood Eternal".

In the 70's, there was a resurgence of interest in antique woods as old factories and buildings were being torn down. Albany Woodworks, one of the first reclaimed flooring businesses in the US, began reclaiming wood from old buildings and logs found on the bottom of the rivers and lakes. The outside of these logs may look crusty, gray and ugly (pictured above) but inside is a wonderland of color and charm (pictured below).

Cypress is the ideal material for exterior applications like shutters, wall paneling, ceiling paneling and doors! To find out more, click here.