J.L. Powell & Co., Inc.- Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I install a random width floor?

A: Most all of our orders are filled in random widths. The reason for this type of installation results in a more traditional 18th century look to the floor. During this period of time in the United States, floors were randomly installed in homes. There is no pattern to such an installation and the uniformity of a single width installation is not present. Again, this is in keeping with a more 18th or 19th century floor. When laying a random width floor, the installer simply pulls a particular dimension from the order running the same width board from wall to wall. When trying to determine what to use on his next course, he randomly selects another width plank and repeats the process. There is no thinking or calculating in this process. The result is a truly random installation. The only mental manipulation involved would be possibly to save the larger planks to be utilized in the most visible areas of the rooms. In other words, do this in the areas that have the best linear vistas.

Q: What type of finish do I want to use on my plank floors?

A: We recommend using a clear oil based finish of some type. We have a written procedure on how to finish your floor that goes to the customer along with their order. This is a suggested procedure only. We want to make it clear that we are not in the installation, sanding and finishing business, and therefore we yield to the expertise of the professional floor installer. However, we strongly urge our customers not to use a water based finish or any type of stain that will alter the natural color of the various woods our plank floors are made from.

Q: Are the ends of our plank floors end matched or square cut?

A: Most of our plank floors are manufactured with square cut ends. This allows for a much faster and easier installation because the installer does not have to re-cut any of our planks.

Q: Do you have to face nail our plank floors?

A: No. Because of the quality of the milling and the kiln drying process, our plank floors are dimensionally stable and fit together precisely, allowing the installer to "blind nail" even the widest planks we offer.

Q: What is the average length of our planks in an order?

A: The average length of the plank floors that we manufacture varies from one type to another. As a general rule, the reclaimed pine plank floors we offer have a shorter length. The average length we offer varies from order to order. Generally, you will find the lengths will run from 1' to 12' with the average running between 3' and 7' long. Other floors that we manufacture such as The Wormy Mahogany plank floors have a much longer average length which can exceed 7' in length in some instances.

Q: Are our plank floors kiln dried?

A: Yes. All of our plank floors are kiln dried to an average moisture content which ranges between 6 and 8 percent.

Q: Are our plank floors made from solid wood?

A: Yes. You may find it harder and harder to locate furniture quality solid wood planks due to the scarcity and expense of natural wood raw materials. This is not the case at J.L. Powell & Co., Inc. We do not make any type of "artificial" or "engineered" floors. We are engaged in the manufacture of old fashioned solid wood planks. We are believers in real wood.

Q: How expensive is it to install?

A: Because of the quality of our plank floors, we can guarantee the customer that our plank floors are one of the least expensive types of real wood floors to install, sand, and finish.

Q: What preparations need to be made to the subfloor?

A: Generally, our floors are installed over a 3/4" plywood subfloor with 15 lb. roofing felt paper or red rosin paper between the plank floor and the plywood. This paper separates the plywood, which can have a moisture of 18 percent, from our plank floors which will average between 6 and 8 percent in moisture content. As far as the installation of our plank floors over concrete, a 5/8" thick treated plywood subfloor can be nailed directly to the concrete slab using a ram-set gun. Then the paper would be nailed on top of the plywood subfloor and our plank floors "blind nailed" on top of that.

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