A hardwood floor that is gaining in popularity is called Live Sawn. Maybe you haven’t heard of it before because its more popular on the East Coast but it is gaining traction here so let me explain what it means and why I really like it and suggest it to my clients as a great looking option for a floor.
“Live Sawn” refers to how the log in the mill is cut. A lot of people do not realize that before a hardwood floor is milled up when it is still in log form how the sawyer saws the log will determine how the grain structure will show in the end product. Logs are sawn in one of four ways: Plain sawn, Rift sawn, Quarter sawn, and Live sawn. Plain sawn is the most common way to saw a log and it is the most popular hardwood floor type that you will encounter. Rift sawn is the least common and the most expensive to produce. So let me briefly explain the differences in how the cuts are made and what qualifies for each cut.
Plain Sawn is where the wood is cut with the growth rings being 0-45 degrees with the surface of the piece. This produces the cathedral grain pattern you commonly see in Oak flooring. Rift Sawn is where the wood is cut so the annual rings make angles of 30 to 60 degrees to the surface of the finished piece, this produces a very tight grain pattern in the flooring. Since only a small portion of the log is used to make this cut there is a lot of waste involved thus calling for a higher price to produce. In quarter sawn the growth rings form an angle of 45 to 90 degrees with the surface. And in Live sawn the log is not turned in milling and it is just sawn straight across so you pick up the look of the other three cuts in one cut. This produces the least amount of waste and gives you the greatest variety of grain pattern. Here is a diagram that helps to show the different cuts:
The beauty of Live sawn is that it shows all cuts of the wood revealing a more natural look of the wood. Here is a few pictures to give you an idea of what a Live sawn floor could look like.