5 Common Misconceptions about Wide Plank Floors – Part 1

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5 Common Misconceptions about Wide Plank Floors – Part 1

In part 1 of our 2 Part Series we are diffusing the top 5 common misconceptions about wide plank floors.  Today we will get started with helping you understand why its possible to use truly wide plank boards, and why you don’t need to feel limited to using Quartersawn wood.

1.Anything over 5″ wide is going to cup

The potential for cupping and other movement in a wood floor is not determined by the width of the board.  It is determined by many factors including the quality of and overall installation process, job site conditions, proper acclimation and other similiar variables.  But the most important ~ the quality of the wood floor being installed.

When selecting a wood floor for your project you should inquire about the following information:

In what part of the country did the trees grow? Every species of wood grows best in a certain environment.  Oak grown in the Northeast is of far better quality than Oak grown down South.

What part of the log is the board sawn from?  To build the most stable wide plank floor boards they must be cut from the cant, or center of the log, this is the oldest and most stable part of the tree.  Some manufacturers will saw their boards from the outer portion of the log, and even from the limbs but this results in inferior quality and impacts the stability of the floor.

How much heartwood and vertical grain can I expect in my floor? Heartwood is found at the very center of the board, in some species like Heart Pine floors it is more obvious, with others like Oak wood floors it is harder to see.  When boards are sawn from the center of the tree, you will get more heartwood and vertical grain resulting in a superior floor board that is more stable in more situations.

How is the wood dried? A wide plank floor board should go through two drying processes.  The first is a 4-12 month air drying process – depending on species – to slowly reduce the moisture in the boards, and help keep the fibers more pliable and healthy.  Once this is complete the wood should go through a small batch kiln drying process to ensure an even moisture conent throughout the flooring.

At Carlisle we adhere to these guidelines, and that is why we are able to craft floors featuring 19″ wide boards that will stay flat for the life of your floor.

2.If you want to use a wide plank board you have to use Quartersawn

Most wood floors that you see are “plainsawn” which means that you can see the grain weave throughout the board.  “Quartersawn” is a cutting method that will reveal boards with straight, vertical grain lines.  It is meant for very formal settings.   The theory is that because the grain is vertical in quartersawn wood the board will expand and contract less – i.e. you will see less movement.  However, at Carlisle we have found that our plainsawn boards – crafted from 6- 20″ wide – can be just as stable as a Quartersawn board.  The Carlisle Difference in quality and craftsmanship means better design options for you.

So don’t feel limited to using Quartersawn wood – unless you desire a formal look.  You will save money, and have access to more design options!  


Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of our series where we address Common Misconceptions about installation of wide plank wood floors on Radiant Heat, Waterfront homes, and Concrete Slabs.

Have more questions about wide plank wood floors? Contact Us for a free design consultation.  Our Wide Plank Specialists will answer all your questions, and help you save time while you find your perfect floor.

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