Uncovering the Myths of Quarter Sawn and Plain Sawn Wood Floors

Wood floors provide classic appeal and dependability for any area of your home, but the quality of wood flooring available today covers a broad range. Your flooring supplier carries many different products in various styles and finishes, but they’ll also offer you a choice between quarter sawn and plain sawn wood floors. What’s the difference? And how does rotary peel wood flooring measure up in comparison?

Understanding how hardwood and engineered wood flooring is manufactured, and uncovering the benefits of each mill type, will help you make the best selection.

What Is Plain Sawn Wood Flooring?

Sometimes referred to as flat sawn or sliced, plain sawn wood floors display a looping grain, with swirls and curving lines throughout the face of the wood. Plain sawn lumber is milled from a full log, with growth rings displayed at angles between 30 and 60 degrees.

Plain sawn is the most common type of lumber on the market, and used for standard and economical wood floors of every brand, species and finish. Benefits of this type of flooring include immediate availability, a natural appearance and an affordable price.

What Is Quarter Sawn Lumber?

Quarter sawn wood floors are often referred to as premium products. Industry experts state that the milling method used to manufacture quarter sawn floors creates a stronger, more uniform product with less tendency to shrink or swell. Some claim that quarter sawn wood accepts stain and paint better, providing a more durable finish for your flooring.

Sawmills use quartered logs to create quarter sawn lumber, resulting in straighter grains displayed at angles between 60 and 90 degrees. Quarter sawn wood flooring tends to come in longer lengths as well.

Manufacturing this product requires a skilled tradesman and results in greater amounts of waste. You can expect to pay a premium price for quarter sawn wood flooring, and may encounter longer lead times from flooring suppliers.

What About Rotary Peel Flooring?

Rotary peeled engineered wood floors are generally the most affordable type of wood flooring available. Manufacturers process the log first, then use a wood lathe to peel off layers in long strips, much like a roll of paper towels.

This method significantly reduces the amount of wood waste, but provides the weakest grain structure of these three mill types. Finish and appearance tend to be the same as plain sawn, although you may find greater variances in rotary peel brands.

Comparing the Different Types

Choose the hardwood or engineered wood floor that best suits your home decor, budget and lifestyle. Quarter sawn wood floors are the most expensive, but tend to last the longest and display the most uniform grain.

Plain sawn wood floors are high quality with mid-level pricing. Longevity depends on the thickness of the flooring, but plain sawn tends to have an average lifespan. Rotary peel flooring is affordable, attractive and a favorite for environmentally conscious consumers, although it will not last as long as the other types.

Talk to your flooring suppliers today to discuss the differences in mill type and compare prices and availability. Quarter sawn, rotary peel and plain sawn wood floors provide a beautiful finish to any room.

thanks to John Cox Lumber for the pic