Solid wood flooring is a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness varies from ¾” to 5/16”. Solid wood flooring can be installed above or on grade, and can be sanded and refinished several times during its service life.
Solid Wood Manufacturing
Solid wood flooring is milled from a single piece of timber that is kiln or air dried before sawing.
Depending on the desired look of the floor, the timber can be cut in three ways: Plain-sawn, Quarter-sawn, and Rift-sawn. The timber is cut to the desired dimensions and either packed unfinished for a site-finished installation or finished at the factory. The moisture content at time of manufacturing is carefully controlled to ensure the product doesn't warp during transport and storage.
There are a number of proprietary features for solid wood floors that are available. Many solid woods come with grooves cut into the back of the wood that run the length of each plank, often called 'absorption strips,' that are intended to reduce cupping. Solid wood floors are mostly manufactured .75 inches (19 mm) thick with a tongue-and-groove for installation.
The most common cut is plain sawn. The log is squared and sawed lengthwise in a series of parallel cuts. The annual growth rings appear as approximately straight lines on the board, joining at the end to form a “cathedral arch.” Because of this arch, plain sawn boards are often considered the most beautiful of the cuts.
These boards are ideal for large visual areas like whole floors, tabletops, drawer fronts, sides of dressers or other similar projects.
Plain sawn boards are the least expensive of the three cuts as they are the least labor-intensive to produce and leave the least waste.
Quarter sawn boards are created by first cutting a log into quarters and then making a series of parallel cuts perpendicular to the tree's rings, cutting on the radius. The grain in quarter sawn wood is relatively consistent and the growth rings (grain) will be at a 60-90-degree angle in the profile of the flooring plank. This also makes quarter sawn boards less likely to bow, warp or twist than plain sawn.
This makes it a good choice for floors being placed in high traffic areas.
The unique trait of quarter sawn boards is the ray flecks. Ray flecks appear in flooring that cuts across the wood’s ray cells, which creates a shimmering flake figure spread over the wood.
The third cut is rift sawn. In this cutting method, the log is still quartered, and then cut as you see on the right and in the video below.
As the cuts get closer to the outside of the log the angle of the grain changes to 30-60 degrees and reducing the amount of ray fleks appearing in the wood. This makes it easy to match boards for a uniform appearance.
With factory-finished wood flooring, the finish is applied at the manufacturer facility. These floors require less time to install because the sanding and finishing process has already happened. The floors are ready to walk on immediately following the installation.
Prefinished wood floors will have 3 to 8 coats of UV-cured urethane finished applied at the factory. To do the same thing on a job-site means 3 to 9 days just to apply and dry the finish coats. That doesn’t count the time to install and sand the unfinished floor.
Also, the factory applied UV-cured urethane finish is very hard and durable. Prefinished wood floors should costs less per square foot to install because you don’t have all the labor to sand, stain and apply the coats of finish which takes several extra days to finish the job. But unfinished boards should cost less per square foot than prefinished planks because unfinished planks do not have the added expense of applying the stain and finish at the factory.
Engineered Unfinished has revolutionized the way hardwood flooring is installed and finished. Unlike thin laminates, the sawn, (not peeled) 3/16” (4.5mm) wear layer can be sanded and refinished just like solid floors. As a result, the life expectancy, and installed appearance, is indistinguishable from traditional ¾” flooring.
Engineered Unfinished is incredibly versatile and will provide a variety of designer looks. It is offered in widths as narrow as 2 ¼” and as wide as 8”. Lengths are random, 1’ to 8’ or custom 2’ to 10’. It can be installed on any level of the home, even directly over concrete.
Engineered Prefinished has the same properties of the unfinished engineered with the advantage of they come already finished, some brands has warranty of 25 years and also a big variety of colors.