Hardwood flooring may seem to be a ‘seen one, seen them all’ kind, but in reality, the myriad of choices goes beyond width and stain options. Sure, you can choose to go with wide plank, or narrow; any shade between black and white, and of course there’s different types of wood from oak to bamboo, but there are different cuts that are also important aspects of the end quality of your hardwood. The various sawing methods available can create many different flooring options all from one species of tree. How it’s cut and how it’s dried are just as important as the width of the board or stained, if not more so. The cut affects how the flooring will be installed, which makes a huge difference in the long run on the life and maintenance of your floors.

 

Plain Sawn:

This cut is also known as flat sawn. Most old homes built in the early and mid-1900s and is what most people think of when they think of common oak floors.  Plain sawn is the most popular type of cut, and involves the least amount of waste. Due to the large yield of lumber with faster milling times, this cut provides the most affordable lumber.

 

Quarter Sawn:

When a log is cut into quarters, the annual growth rings are at 90 degrees to the surface. White Oak is a popular type of wood to be cut in this way because of the vibrant flecks and tight wavy grain pattern it creates.  More physical labor and time are required for this piece of lumber, creating a more unique grain pattern. Of course the labor drives the price of these boards; however, the cut is more stable than plain sawn.

Rift Sawn:

This cut has annual growth rings angled around 45 degrees.  This cut is best for tables, chairs, and furniture legs that require a straight lined cut. Certainly flooring can be cut in this fashion as well, but it products a great deal of waste and requires a decent amount of labor, making it a pricy flooring option.

 

Make your appointment today to learn more about cuts of wood, and what yearly rings can do to the look of your boards. Find out what flecks and rays are in a plank of wood, and discuss what grain patterns you will find with the different type of wood species. The more you know about the wood you put down in your space, the easier it will be to choose the one that’s right for you; and, the more you’ll appreciate the hard work that goes into those hard floors!