Rift & Quartered Flooring
The typical plank, regardless of species, is plain sawn. Parallel cuts split up the log, and when solid hardwood is installed, expansion occurs across the grain. For some species, however, the wood is rift, quarter sawn, or rift and quartered, and the result is flooring that is not only more stable, in regards to warping, but may also be more visually pleasing.
If plain sawn is parallel, rift and quartered flooring tends to feature more radial cuts. However, both options differ. Quarter sawn hardwood is cut in such a way that the growth rings form a 45 to 90 degree angle with the board's surface. Rift sawn, on the other hand, has the annual rings cut at a 30 to 60 degree angle with the board's surface.
In terms of appearance, plain sawn has a plumed look. Tighter grain defines a rift cut, while quarter sawn has the look of flakes or tiger stripes. As plain sawn is considerably more affordable than these two, it is more common in modern homes. Older properties have a greater likelihood to feature rift, quarter sawn, or rift and quartered hardwood.
Aside from the look, a different cut provides a further benefit for homes: less expansion. Although homeowners are advised against installing any solid hardwood in a below-grade area, near radiant heat, or on top of a concrete subfloor, quarter sawn flooring expands less than all other options. Specifically, hardwood with this cut expands vertically but has no horizontal movement. Rift sawn, on the other hand, has both vertical and horizontal expansion. Plain sawn expands the most out of all cuts and, as a result, has the greatest tendency to warp.
When ordering flooring through Hurst Hardwoods, what options do you have? White oak, particularly, is available not only plain sawn but also rift, quarter sawn, and rift and quartered.