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Hardwood Floors: Size, Shape, Finish, and Grade

Hardwood flooring has an undeniable charm, and its benefits are known far and wide. The natural grains and colors bring life and a sense of connection to interior spaces in ways that no other material can. While these traits are universally shared by all hardwood types, there are several important differences that can influence your decision in choosing the right flooring for your needs.

The first trait we’ll discuss is cut. Hardwood flooring comes in a variety of cuts, which is a way of describing the technique used to create the plank itself. The method by which a log was cut into planks directly influences the quality and strength of the product. The most common cut is Plain Saw, which can be produced cheaply and efficiently, but is also the least durable. The next step up in quality is the Quarter Saw, which creates a good compromise with cost and a finished product that is resistant to bowing and breaking. Final among these choices is the venerable Rift Saw, which produces highly durable and consistent planks that share a common grain pattern. Although they are the highest quality choice, Rift Saw cuts are also inefficient to produce and ultimately more expensive.

Hardwood Flooring Information

Once a choice has been made regarding cut, you must decide what plank size is ideal for the project at hand. Strips use small, thin pieces of wood to create a consistent precise appearance that is suitable for modern spaces. If you prefer a more natural appearance, wider planks can break up the repetition and shift the focus on to the natural grains in the wood itself. Alternatively, if you want to dispose of planks altogether, Parquet or Plywood are suitable options. Parquet utilizes small strips set in various patterns, which brings a sense of order and sophistication to a room that cannot be captured through the other choices. Finally, if you are looking to head in the opposite direction, Plywood is an irregular and uneven platform that can create a rustic feel when used appropriately.

Last of the features, but certainly not the least, is grade. This trait refers to the features found in the surface of the wood and allows you to further enhance the aesthetic you are creating for your space. Clear grade woods are those that are free from blemishes like splits or knots, while also maintaining fairly consistent color and tone. Similarly, Select grade wood is blemish-free but allows for color variation. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Natural and Rustic grades. Natural grade contains the features of natural wood while avoiding the more dramatic defects, while Rustic grade keeps the wood as close to its natural state as possible.

Using these combinations of traits, it is possible to convey specific ideas or support existing aesthetic choices. Clear parquet can create an orderly sophisticated air, ideal for a proper dining area, whereas natural wide-sized planks can create a spacious warm feeling for a common area. These various combinations create a world of possibilities for you to explore.

We have a wide variety of materials available for you to view on, and we are happy to assist you in any way we can. If you have questions, we invite you to email us at or contact us toll-free at 1-800-689-9006. We want to hear from you!

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