How Wood Flooring Appearance is Affected by Cut

How wood flooring is cut and processed makes a difference in how it looks and how much it cost.

If you ever why wood flooring can have so many different price levels, there are various reasons. Hopefully we can help you with one of those reasons in this article. Wood is a natural product that grows and then is harvested to make multiple products including wood flooring. In the process of how it is cut into usable wood for flooring makes a difference in how it looks, how much you can get from a tree, and how it will be priced.

Most of the information you will see comes from the NWFA Wood Flooring Installation Guide. is a link to purchase your own copy. If you are serious about installing wood flooring it is a great guide and worth having. It is also a great tool to understanding wood flooring better. On pages 20 and 21 it talks about Saw cuts. How the wood is cut up for plank flooring impacts how it will look and how it will perform. They list 8 different types of saw cuts.

Three of the four main ways to cut the tree are used to make solid wood flooring. Those methods are the Plainsaw/Flatsaw, Riftsaw/Bastard-Sawn, and the Quartersawn/Vertical-Grain cut. This allows the mill to get the most out of a tree for flooring. There is a diagram below that will show how it affects the image on the plank and how the tree is cut. Livesawn cuts straight through and uses the full wideth of the tree. It allows it to be used for more than just flooring as well.

Wood Cutting

Two of the other methods of cutting veneers for engineered wood flooring is slicing and rotary-peeled. Both allow for a manufacturer to get a much thinner cut from the tree and to get more use of the higher quality veneer. They can change the thickness of the slices as well so that they are thick enough to be sanded. The two methods create two different images on the wood plank because of how the grain is cut. The sliced veneer has more characteristics to saw cuts. The rotary cut is when a log is placed onto a lathe and spun against a sharp blade. It creates a distinct and tangential grain pattern that is different than a saw cut look.

Wood Floors Wood Cutting

Solid wood flooring has a general range in the cost to make across the country. What kind of species and where it comes from will impact the price as well. When you get to the engineered products, it will begin to vary a lot more. Because you start to deal with more variables, there is a much more broad range of prices. The thinner and greater amount of wood veneer you get from a tree, the lower the cost of product many times. The thicker and wider the cut, the more expensive it may be. The veneers are also subject to many more ways of coloring and finishing since they are not in a home. They can be treated with different methods to make them harder and more scratch resistant and more dense. There are more ways to create coloring with more depth and character. That will also factor into the pricing as well. Understanding this can help you know the level of quality of flooring that you are getting. It will also help you understand why Red Oak in one home doesn't look the same in another. It could be just how the tree was processed.