Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

An introduction to unfinished hardwood flooring.

Unfinished hardwood flooring is much in demand as an elegant flooring surface for homes and businesses alike. Adding beauty, warmth and value to any space, unfinished hardwood flooring is available in a wide range of hardwood species and with a large number of options for customization. Deciding on the right floor for your space requires a little knowledge about the many ways that

Unfinished hardwood flooring can transform your space.

Here’s a brief overview of unfinished hardwood flooring and the options available from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors.

What is unfinished hardwood flooring?

Unfinished hardwood flooring is a flooring surface made from strips of hardwood and that is designed to be finished on site after installation. Finishing a hardwood floor involves sanding the floorboards to create an even surface, staining the boards (if desired) to a specific color, and sealing the floor with several coats of varnish or polyurethane to protect the wood from water damage and from daily wear.

Unfinished hardwood flooring can be made from any species of hardwood tree, but is most often fashioned from Oak, Maple, Ash, Cherry, Birch, Hickory or Walnut.

What is wide plank unfinished hardwood flooring?

Wide plank floors are simply hardwood floors made with floorboards that may be as much as 20″ wide, depending on the type of hardwood used. The extra width of each floorboard means that the grain patterns in the wood and the variations in hues can be seen and appreciated more fully. Wide plank unfinished hardwood flooring also uses far fewer seams between boards than standard commercial flooring (where floorboards are no more than 3″ wide), creating a less busy and more elegant feel in the room.

How to customize your unfinished hardwood flooring

At Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, we offer lots of ways to make your unfinished hardwood flooring uniquely yours. Options for customization include:

Choice of wood
Our wide plank floors are available in 10 hardwood species, 3 pine species and 6 species of reclaimed floors. Each type of wood has its own personality, with varying coloration and grain patterns. Unfinished cherry flooring, for example, has rich red tones with subtle flowing grain patterns. Unfinished walnut flooring features chocolate hues with surprising auburn undertones and complex grain patterns. And White Maple wood flooring has grain patterns that resemble flowing water, with cleaner and lighter hues for a more neutral color.

Structure of the floor
Unfinished hardwood flooring is typically made with solid hardwood floorboards. But Carlisle customers also have the option of ordering engineered hardwood floors where floorboards are made from multiple layers of material with a hardwood veneer. This type of construction prevents the floor from expanding or contracting as much as a solid wood floor. Engineered floors are ideal for locations that experience large fluctuations in temperature or humidity, such as installations in basements, over radiant heating systems and on concrete slabs. Engineered floors are also appropriate for homes where summer humidity is much higher than humidity in winter.

Grade of the floorboards
Carlisle’s proprietary wood grades make it easy to achieve a specific look. Our Heirloom Grade indicates a more luxurious and refined look, with less color variation and fewer and smaller knots. Our Original Grade features floorboards with more variation and knots for more character. And our Signature Grade features the perfect balance of both Heirloom and Original Grade floorboards.

Texturing techniques
Unfinished hardwood flooring can be textured to give new floorboards an aged and weathered appearance. By adding sawn marks or hand scraped edges, Carlisle craftsmen help recreate the appearance of boards that were cut and milled at sawmills more than a century ago. We also offer several proprietary techniques to introduce the undulating patterns of wear produced by weather, age and foot traffic. Textured floors provide an immediate sense of warmth and history and make a stunning visual statement in any room.

Most unfinished hardwood flooring can be stained in almost any color. Carlisle offers a virtually unlimited assortment of stain colors, allowing you to easily match the hue of your unfinished hardwood flooring to the needs of your interior design.

Installing your unfinished hardwood flooring in a Versailles, Herringbone, Chevron or custom parquet pattern adds elegance and visual interest.


Carlisle: the leading source for unfinished hardwood flooring.

Since 1966, Carlisle has been a leader in flooring fashion, producing unfinished hardwood flooring and other flooring options of exceptional durability and remarkable beauty. Every Carlisle floor is a handcrafted masterpiece designed to truly reflect the owner’s taste and sense of style. In restaurants, museums, boutiques and beautiful homes around the world, our floors become a defining feature of any space and a surface that will truly amaze visitors every time they cross the threshold.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is rift sawn or quarter sawn unfinished hardwood flooring?

Rift sawn and quartersawn hardwood is cut at a 90-degree angle from the timber’s growth rings to produce boards with a uniform vertical pattern of tight, straight parallel lines running the length of the plank. Rift sawn and quartered oak produces more waste during cutting, so the cost of the boards is slightly higher.

Can unfinished hardwood flooring be treated to look antique?

Yes. Unfinished hardwood flooring can be distressed or textured to re-create the look of wood that is decades or centuries old. Carlisle craftsmen can add saw marks and hand scraped edges. We also offer proprietary techniques that gently wear down the surface of the boards to resemble wood that has been lived on by several generations.

What is reclaimed hardwood flooring

Reclaimed hardwood floors are made from timbers salvaged from centuries-old buildings like barns, factories, warehouses and homes. The floorboards retaining their imperfections – the age-worn beauty created by weather and foot traffic, complete with nail holes, wormholes, discoloration, stains and saw marks that are the result of early milling techniques. At Carlisle, we offer reclaimed Oak, Heart Pine and Chestnut hardwood flooring, along with several more rustic options.

What is prefinished hardwood flooring?

Where unfinished hardwood flooring must be sanded, stained and sealed on site, prefinished hardware flooring is finished at the manufacturer’s facility before it is delivered to a home or business for installation. Benefits of prefinished hardware flooring include faster and less costly installation and the ability to avoid the mess and inconvenience of finishing a floor on site.

Can unfinished hardwood flooring be stained to any color?

In theory, yes. When choosing a stain however, it’s wise to enhance the personality and grain patterns in the wood rather than obscuring them. For example, it’s unlikely you would want to stain dark cherry wood flooring to an extremely light color.