Rift & Quartered

As you consider hardwood for your home, particularly the classic solid variety, understand that not all cuts are identical. The typical plank is plain sawn, but especially for oak species, cuts encompass rift, quartered, and rift and quartered varieties.

Especially for white oak, cuts change the appearance of the flooring and how the hardwood catches the light's rays. Plain sawn white oak tends to have a plumed appearance, while a tighter grain pattern characterized rift sawn. Quarter sawn, which encompasses rift and quartered, has the look of flakes or tiger stripes.

What's the difference between all three cuts? Plain sawn, first off, involves parallel only cuts to the log. As this is simpler to produce, the price, as well, is typically lower. Rift and quarter sawn hardwoods, on the other hand, are radial, with the log cut first into quarters. Considered more tangential, a quarter sawn cut features growth rings angled at 45 to 90 degrees with the surface of the board. Rift sawn has the annual rings angled 30 to 60 degrees with the board's surface. Price-wise, rift and quartered flooring tends to be more expensive.

Aside from the creation and visual aspect, rift and quartered cuts give the flooring an added benefit, particularly where solid hardwood is considered. Quarter sawn flooring typically extends vertically, while rift sawn does so horizontally and vertically. Out of these two, quarter sawn is considered the most stable, as it features no horizontal movement and warps less. Plain sawn, on the other hand, has the most amount of across-grain movement and the greatest susceptibility to warping. However, keep in mind that although quartered warps less, solid hardwood should never be installed below grade, on top of radiant heat, or on a concrete subfloor.

If you are considering one of these cuts for your floor, Hurst Hardwoods carries rift, quartered, and rift and quartered white oak flooring.


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