All about that hardwood

All about that hardwood

Selecting a hardwood floor should be an experience that you enjoy, right? Well, it can be overwhelming if you get too far in to the weeds with it. Just like with any flooring you select, you have to like the way it looks. Each wood species offers a different visual, there are variations within the qualities, cuts, and veneers that make them appear different ways, so let’s start there.

Do you like a lot of grain in your wood or not? If you like grain in the wood oak may be a very good choice. It is the most common hardwood available in the US market today. Oak can be styled many different ways; stains, layers, and sheen are just a few of the many different variables that can effect the way your floor appears. We will dive deeper into finishes in later articles. If you don’t like a lot of grain, Maple maybe more of your type of hardwood. Maple is a very smooth looking hardwood that has very little grain variation for a domestic hardwood. You may see some grain within the wood if finished naturally, but if it is stained the grain is hidden and the floor looks very uniform and solid in color compared to other species. Hardwoods like Acacia and Hickory have a lot of variation in their grain and appearance of the wood. Knots, streaks, and voids are all common characteristics of these hardwoods. They make beautiful hardwood floors, and these variations can be effected by other quality characteristics of the wood flooring.

The cut of the wood will determine the visual of the grain as well. Plain sawn is the most common sawing technique for oak floors. This will show what most people consider as a traditional oak look. You will notice the variation of wide versus narrow grain within each board width. These are very irregular grains within each piece of wood.The second most common sawing technique is called Quarter sawing.

Quarter sawn oak has a narrow grain appearance with what are called ray flecks running across the narrow grain. This is a very classic look. This type of grain can be associated with design trends in the ‘mission’ style of craftsmanship. It is a neat look that brings about a lot of life in the wood and creates some tonal variation in what is otherwise a smooth finish to the wood.

Rift sawn oak looks like quarter sawn oak, but does not carry the same amount of ray flecks in graining. This is the smoothest looking oak that you can buy. It features the narrowest grain and is very dense in it’s construction making it harder than other sawn variations of oak.

Live sawn wood features combination of the appearance that you get with each of the other techniques. Live sawn cuts the lenght of the wood in fullest width of the log. This gives the wood a very rustic look. It will show a great deal of knots, grain variation, shade and tone variation, and with that will take stain with some variation. Live sawn wood is very popular for a lot of today’s design trends.

To recap: the start with the look you like. Then explore the quality attributes to see if there will be any hindrance on the hardwood flooring’s performance. There are so many hardwood floor products to choose from, we will discover more about hardwood floors in future articles. Check out our hardwood flooring selection to start.
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