From the Ground Up: How Wood Characteristics Influence Plank Width

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Congratulations! You are about to create a work of art by selecting every design feature of your new floor — from the ground up — and right down to the exact width of each board. Paying careful attention to these details will ultimately determine the look of your floor and will help your space reflect your unique personal style.
Every Carlisle floor relies on three key characteristics, each of which impacts the width of your planks:

1. What is Your Wood Type?

At Carlisle, we offer many different species of wood, each with a distinct grain which creates the foundation for the overall appearance of your floor. For example, a dense hardwood typically creates a refined aesthetic with less grain movement and a beautiful understated elegance. A reclaimed Heart Pine floor, like the one featured above, will have more character, including beautiful knots, undulating grain and one-of-a-kind textural markings from the wear and tear of a legacy spanning decades. Choosing your wood type carefully will help you establish the specific visual qualities that you want in your space.

2. Grades Matter

The grade and cut of your wood will also influence your plank width. Our Heirloom Grade, the most popular, is cut closer to the heart of a mature tree and produces a floor with a minimalist aesthetic (fewer knots, color changes and undulations) for an overall cleaner look. If you crave more character and a bolder effect, our Original Grade will do the trick, with lots of knots and grain variations. And if you like the idea of something in-between, our Signature Grade is the perfect blend of the two. Wood grade is also determined by the cut of each board and how the grain appears. For example, a board may or may not include arcs of grain (cathedrals). In the stunning kitchen below, you can see how the cathedrals provides visual interest and movement. The wide planks allow the cathedrals to become a prominent organic feature in the room’s design.

Ash Heirloom Kitchen, Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

3. Finessing the Finish

The texture you select will establish the feel of your board underfoot and is one of the other distinguishing characteristics of a Carlisle floor. Our craftsmen create these finishes by hand, raising the grain, softening the board edges, and adding saw marks as desired.  The texture adds a subtle component to the look of your new floor. The one you choose, can enhance the appearance of the grain, or it can create additional character in your floor conveying the much loved patina of age. The result is a floor with a unique surface character all its own.

Time to Go Wide

Once you’ve identified a type of wood, the grade, and a finishing texture for your boards, you can decide on color and play with the width. Envision your plank, custom designed with all the qualities that have drawn you to the natural beauty of that wood. Do you like the visual design of a single board? If you love your plank but want to see it with less seam interruptions or more substantial cathedrals, wider boards are the answer. This is the time to consider your plank width and experiment until you are satisfied with the result.

Sample the Goods

The wonderful thing about Carlisle craftsmen is that they genuinely care about making your floor perfect; for you and your home. Once you’ve decided on the look of your board, it’s time to order a custom sample. Our wide plank specialists are available to assist you with this. Because all of our samples and custom floors are made to order, they can guide you through the process, and discuss any other questions you may have to help you fulfill your sample order.

Contact a Wide Plank Specialist to order a custom sample.

Join us next week for the second part of this blog and a discussion about how the installation of your planks will impact the overall design of your home and where your new floor should be installed.

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Looking for more information about wide plank flooring? Download our Catalog.
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