How are Hardwood Floors Made?

American Showcase hardwood, Goodwin, Bravo
Hardwood floors or solid wood flooring, are constructed of planks from a single piece of wood with a tongue and grooved edges. Planks can be delivered to a factory pre-finished or unfinished. Manufacturing of this flooring starts with the tree itself. After trees are cut into logs, what they will be used for is determined by the quality of the tree. Trees that are marked to flooring are ones chosen for its beauty. It needs to have a tight grain and few knots to be considered for flooring. These chosen logs are then cut into rough planks. There are a variety of cutting methods used which affect the stability and price of the board.
  • Flat or Plain Saw: by far the most commonly used cut.
  • Quarter Saw: cuts a log into quarters before it cuts the strips of wood to make hardwood flooring boards.
  • Rift Saw: cuts a log at a different angle than quarter saw before it cuts the wood into hardwood flooring boards. Though it is more expensive than the other methods, it is also more stable, providing higher quality flooring.
After they have been cut they are graded for their look. The next step is to plane the boards on all four sides to smooth saw marks and level the plank. After they have been planed, a machine cuts the tongue and grooves and fits them tightly together. Tongue and groove construction allows the boards to expand and contract, without creating gaps between planks in the installed floor.

At this stage, the planks may go through a distressing process to give them an older, antique look. This may be accomplished by hand or by machine. And then the final product is either sealed/stained with several coats of protective finish or shipped unfinished to the marketplace.

How hardwood floors are made