Welcome to South Texas Mesquite Supply, home of quality mesquite products

About Mesquite

Mesquite is native to many parts of Texas and the southern United States.  It has for many years been considered to be a nuisance to farmers and ranchers and only in the past few decades has the mesquite flooring industry begun to evolve.  Texas A&M at Kingsville has studied mesquite in the past and has published information about the mesquite tree and its wood and working properties.

The most attractive feature of mesquite wood is its dimensional stability and hardness.  From wet to dry mesquite loses less than 5% total of its volume while other woods can lose in excess of 15%.  This means a mesquite floor is much less likely to move during extreme weather changes.  Mesquite is harder than red oak and is much more stable.

Mesquite trees do not grow like pines or oak trees.  They are often a twisted and gnarled tree with many bends.  Straight lengths of 2 to 3 feet are common with longer pieces available but with less quantity.

Mesquite milling from log to lumber or flooring is a labor intensive process.  Because of its short lengths much machinery that is used in the logging and milling industry in the northern states, will not work with short mesquite logs.  In addition some of the cracks can be so wide that it renders some of the lumber useless and can only be used for BBQ wood.

“How to shop for mesquite flooring”

Once the decision has been made to install mesquite in your home or office, it is important to shop around for a competent supplier and installer. Even if you don’t purchase your next mesquite floor from us, there are a few questions that need to be asked before purchasing your mesquite floor.

Has the flooring/lumber been dried in a kiln?  When a mesquite tree is cut down the moisture content in the wood exceeds 50%.  While mesquite is very stable and movement of the wood from wet to dry is less than 5%, it is most important that the wood be dried to between 6% and 12% moisture content.  This ensures there is no shrinkage in your floor after it is installed. Also, the heat of the kiln kills any insects that may be in the wood.  If you start seeing powder on your floor, it is because your wood wasn’t properly heated during the kiln drying process or it wasn’t kiln dried at all.

Has the sapwood been removed from the wood?  Sapwood is yellow in color and is very noticeable in a mesquite floor. It attracts insects and should always be discarded.  A reputable mesquite supplier will remove all the sapwood in any flooring they sell.

What thickness is the flooring?  ½ inch thick is the industry standard.  Some companies will mill ¾ inch on a special order basis.  Be sure to include lead time in your order if you want ¾ inch flooring bearing in mind just drying ¾ inch flooring usually takes 30 days.  Do not accept anything thinner than ½ inch.  All flooring is tongue and groove with relief cuts on the bottom of the board.

What lengths will the individual pieces come in?  This is important because some companies will only sell short pieces of flooring to reserve the longer lengths for lumber.  Yes, some pieces will be short, starting around twelve inches.  But you should also be receiving 4 foot lengths with the average length being about 2 feet and a good mixture between 18 inches and 48 inches. If you are able to visit your supplier, ask to open a box of the flooring so you can really see what kind of lengths you would be purchasing.

Where was the mesquite harvested?  There are companies that will represent a mesquite floor as being from Texas when in fact the mesquite is from Mexico. Mesquite harvested in Mexico has a different appearance than Texas mesquite.  It is mahogany in appearance and the color will not match Texas mesquite.

Grading.  The mesquite industry does not have a consistent grading system.   Select should be “clear” material” meaning there should be less than about 5% knots or defects in the wood.  #1 and better is a mixture of flooring containing very small cracks that do not require filling and tight knots along with clear material.  #2 is flooring with every piece containing a defect.  It will have cracks that need to filled and loose knots that will need to be filled.  (Filling is done with a black dyed epoxy.)  If not clearly stated ask what kind of wood (crack, knots) is contained in your supplier’s different grades.  Don’t be afraid to ask this question.  There can be many variations.  Many companies including ours prefer to sell “mill run” mesquite flooring.  By it’s nature, mesquite contains knots and cracks.  It is part of the beauty of mesquite.  In the near future we will be only offering mesquite in a “mill run” grade.

Lead time.  Mesquite is a specialty item.  You can’t just go to Home Depot or Lowes to make your purchase.  Mesquite has come a long way the past 20 years but it will never match the mass production of other flooring like red oak.  Make the decision to have mesquite in your home early to avoid problems with construction delays and to ensure the wood is processed properly.  Six weeks is usually a good time schedule to follow.

Installation.  Who is installing the floor?  Does he have experience with installing mesquite? If you live in an area where you will be the pioneer in having a mesquite floor; does your installer have experience in installing other hardwood floors?  This is a very important decision because this installer will either turn the floor into a masterpiece or he will ruin it.

These are some topics of discussion that should be addressed by the homeowner before committing to any contract or leaving a deposit with a supplier.  The single most important thing to do is to visit the supplier, open boxes to look for quality, length, absence of sapwood, and ask for referrals.

 

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