Starting with an Act of Nature

It is hard to imagine an act of nature inspiring the birth of a business in a city like New York. But a powerful act of nature is exactly what it took for Virtu to see the light of day.

All wood is hygroscopic—it picks up moisture from or releases moisture into the surrounding air, depending on relative temperature and humidity. This principle is the foundation of every issue related to flooring movement. Wood shrinks and swells depending on its initial moisture content and the ambient temperature and relative humidity to which it is exposed. Virtu was inspired by this problem. Solve it and Virtu succeeds.

Common industry knowledge says that during winter, when heating dries the air in homes and offices, wood flooring releases moisture to the air, and it shrinks. How much it shrinks depends on the species, the cut (quarter sawn or flat sawn), and the change in temperature and relative humidity. If the species and cut are constant, then the amount of shrinkage is directly proportional to the width of the floor boards. (For example, a 6" board will shrink twice as much as a 3" board and a 9" board will shrink 3 times the amount of a 3" board.)

The experienced woodsmiths of Virtu knew that despite what other flooring companies claimed about how they cut their lumber or how they dried their lumber, solid sawn lumber is inherently less stable when it is manufactured into wide planks. Inspired that True Balanced Construction held the answer, they set to work. Virtu is the result.