“A floor is more than a surface to tread upon. It is the foundation of one’s home. And when built under the expert care of a passionate craftsman using timber only found in the finest of forests it transcends architecture and approaches art.”
That’s from Carlisle
…we wanted to learn more.
A little history, first. Wide plank flooring is a classic material in colonial homes. Early settlers used wide long boards cut from the center of the tree (heartwood) because it was easier for installations, but also provided maximum durability. Many homes in New England still have their original hardwood floors, demonstrating this durability and timelessness. Natural hardwood gets better with age and use as it develops its own natural patina, but can also be refinished as needed.
Originally founded as a small family-owned business, Carlisle has been creating wide plank floors for over 40 years. Their corporate office is located in Stoddard, NH. They place an important emphasis on aesthetics and durability by hand-selecting every board that goes into a project, and cutting these boards from fully matured heartwood (the densest vertical grain with least amount of moisture content) so that they will last the lifetime of your home. The wood is air dried for up to one year before it is kiln dried in smaller batches. The planks that go into your home have been carefully selected and handcrafted by skilled artisans in New England.
Carlisle reclaimed oak installed in Nantucket, MA (from Carlisle website)
Carlisle places a strong emphasis on their environmental practices. Their reclaimed
flooring line has received the FSC certification for 100% Post-Consumer Reclaimed Antique Wood, and their virgin wood comes exclusively from small, independent farmers. They never contract with sawmills that clear cut trees. Only 1 tree for every 5 acres is cleared, which allows trees to mature first as they should. Carlisle’s wide planks come from the oldest trees and the oldest part of those trees. When these mature trees are cut for timber, it allows the less mature timbers to grow.
Why is FSC important? Forests provide us with clean water, fresh air, food, medicine, timber, paper, and so forth. They also provide for other plants and animals, as part of a greater ecosystem. So we need to sustain them, and this is achieved by setting guidelines for responsible harvesting. In some countries 80% of their timber is harvested illegally, so when you select FSC timber you know you are supporting responsible practices.
From an interior health perspective, hardwood flooring is an ideal material. It is easy to maintain, and does not house allergens or bacteria. Ensure you don’t negate all those positives by applying a finish or topcoat full of VOCs, or one that is going to completely alter the texture of your natural material and challenge your ability to refinish down the road if you so decide.
blue materials vignette
Our Carlisle favorite is their white oak with veiled white finish. It has a very natural rustic feel, and comes in widths 6″, 8″ or 10″. The average length is 7′. A beautifully natural backdrop for vibrant pops of color throughout your space.
purple materials vignette
Carlisle offers a number of finishes and textures for its wide plank floors, as well as custom options. So you can have fun creating your own custom floor. Their stains and topcoats penetrate deep into the boards to create durability and resistance to scratches.
Regardless of who you source your hardwood flooring from, ask lots of questions about the types of finishes being applied to your wood, where it is coming from, and how it is being harvested.
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