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Hardwood availability includes various methods of fabricating wood flooring. Options include Quartered Only, Rift Only, Rift and Quartered, Live Sawn, and Plain Sawn hardwood flooring. Each cut will give your floor a more unique look. Choosing one of these cuts will also give your floor increased stability from expansion and contraction while maintaining a harder surface than plain sawn floors. Rift and Quartered is the preferred choice for use over radiant heat flooring when approved. While Rift and Quartered is generally used in white oak flooring, it can be available in many different species, lengths and widths of solid and engineered flooring.
Below are the National Wood Flooring Associations (NWFA) descriptions of rift and quartered cuts. Also see the graphic which will show how the lumber is cut and the look it will produce.
Quartered Only/Quarter Sawn - at least 50% of the piece must contain quartered characteristics: In cross section the angle of the annual ring tangent to the face of the piece to be between 45 and 90. Grain lines to be mostly parallel to the length of strips and more than 1/16" wide.
Rift Only/Rift Sawn - at least 75% of the piece must contain rift characteristics: in cross section the angle of the annual ring tangent to the face of the piece to be between 30 and 60. Grain lines to be mostly parallel to the length of strips and medullary ray Decks less than 1/16" wide.
Rift and Quartered - a combination of quarter sawn and rift sawn developing from the production run. This is the most common of the three options and most affordable.
Live Sawn - also referred to as French cut, live sawn will produce boards that can have all of the characteristics of each cut in the same piece of flooring. This provides a unique look and used in the manufacturing process of European French Oak Flooring.
Plain Sawn - this is the most common cut of all hardwood flooring. This will provide a grain pattern that is more spread out and not as tight compared to other cuts. Grain pattern will not be as straight with a more wavy appearance.graph here.