Guide to Custom Hardwood Floors

Purchasing a custom Boardbrokers floor is similar to buying a hand tailored custom dress or suit in that every element from materials to style, design, and color can be customized to achieve the exact look and feel one desires. A custom hardwood floor is the ultimate in home and interior luxury giving the designer a blank slate to create the look that is perfect for the space in question.

However, before beginning the creation of a Boardbrokers custom floor there are several elements to consider to ensure a custom floor becomes exactly the floor envisioned. Feel free to contact a Boardbrokers wood flooring expert at 888.270.8797 to discuss more about custom hardwood floors.

Custom Hardwood Floor Guide Content

Types of Custom Floors
Selecting a Wood Species
Wood Character
Wood Grading
Solid vs. Engineered
Length and Width
Custom Milling
Surface Treatments
Wood Flooring Finishes

Types of Custom Floors

Custom hardwood floors come in a wide variety to suit any design style from traditional to modern. Custom floors can incorporate intricate patterns, alternate between wood species for contrast, and/or use grain and finishing techniques to create a true work of art.

Boardbrokers Makes Custom Floors in the Following Styles:

Plank: Standard hardwood floor in widths of 3” or wider arranged in a linear straight or diagonal fashion

Mixed Plank: A plank floor that uses two or more species in an alternating fashion to show variation and contrast throughout the floor

Strip: Linear wood floors that that range from 1 ½” to 3 ¼” wide to create a linear effect that creates the illusion of a larger more open space

Parquet: A geometric patterned floor that is often non-linear using pieces of wood to form a pattern in alternating squares or panels. Traditional parquet patterns include herringbone, double herringbone, chevron, and basket weaves.

Inlay: A floor that uses two or more species of wood or colors to create a design that is inlaid into the floor. Common inlays are borders, accents, medallions, or a combination to create a custom design

Boarders: A room perimeter design often using a different species of wood that is inlaid. Boarders are used to accent room and interior elements such as kitchen islands, sections of furniture, steps, and landings.

Accents: Smaller boarder sections that wrap around room elements such as doorways, columns, fireplace hearths, a rooms corner or central focal point.

Medallions: A pattern inlay consisting of two or more species that creates a specific design at the focal points of a room such as entry, center, or stair landings. Medallions can incorporate geometric, floral, or nautical motif as part of its design

Selecting a Wood Species

Boardbrokers can source virtually any species of wood to be made into a custom floor. Appearance is the single most important factor when selecting a species, with each species having its own unique color and character including grain pattern and knots. Other factors to consider are hardness, durability, and resistance to moisture as well as the amount of floor traffic expected for a specific room.

Wood Character

Character , referring to the face of a board, describes the natural physical characteristics of a piece of hardwood. Character is closely related to species as each species has its own characteristics. When it comes to a custom floor character is a matter of taste and preference.

Character includes features such as:

  • How much grain the wood has
  • Is the grain straight or varied
  • How much of the wood is sapwood
  • Does the wood have worm holes or knots, if so how frequent
  • Should the wood be stained or remain natural.

Wood Grading

Boardbrokers uses only premium FAS grade lumber per the standards established by the National Hardwood Lumber Association. Boardbrokers can source and manufacturer floors with lower grade lumber at a customers request to accommodate budget restrictions. For more information on wood grading please download the American Hardwood Export Councils Grading Guide.

Reclaimed floors are graded differently then new wood floors with three grades character grade, select grade, and premium grade ranging from a rustic to cleaner look.


Character Walnut Brittany w/ Double Boarder
(Character Walnut Brittany w/ Double Boarder)

Provence Versailles Parquet
(Provence Versailles Parquet)

Custom Flamed French White Oak Plank
(Custom Flamed French White Oak Plank)

Example of the Character of Wood
(Example of the Character of Wood)

 

Solid vs. Engineered

Boardbrokers manufactures both custom solid and engineered hardwoods floors. There are some key distinct differences, however, with today's advanced technologies and glues engineered floors are best suited for most residential and commercial applications.

Solid Hardwood Floors
Solid wood floors are milled from a single piece of 1” thick lumber resulting in a standard ¾” thick finished floor. Solid floors offer the ability to be sanded and refinished over the course of several generations. A solid custom wood floor can also be viewed as a more luxurious and premium option.

The disadvantage to solid flooring is that it is not suited for all climate conditions and is more prone to expansion and contraction in changing seasons which can leave gaps in the floor as well as “cupping” due to moisture and shrinkage over time. The widths and lengths of solid floors can be limited as it is based on the size of available logs and lumber.

Engineered Hardwood Floors
Today’s engineered hardwood floors are impossible to distinguish from its solid counterparts. Boardbrokers custom engineered floors consist of a solid veneer top layer of the hardwood of your choice in either a 4mm, 6mm, or 8mm thickness bonded to an industry leading 11 ply Baltic birch base. All engineered floors are manufactured tongue and groove and are available in lengths up to 20’. With a veneer thicknesses of 6mm and larger an engineered floor can be sanded up to 4 times to further increase the life of the floor, however, Hardwax oiled floors should never need to be re-sanded if properly maintained.

Boardbrokers uses special expandable glue to manufacturer its floors to avoid warping, buckling, and cupping on top of surfacing all sides of the veneer to prevent delamination. Each floor comes with a lifetime delamination and structural warranty.

Additional benefits are engineered floors can be installed over a wider range of surfaces including concrete slabs, in floor heating, or wood sub-floors as well as on any grade level including basements. Engineered wood floors are also easier to install and require less on-site labor.

Length and Width

The selected length and width of a custom floor is very influential to the look of the floor once installed. As a design rule narrower wood floor boards are best suited for smaller rooms as they make the room feel larger and more spacious. Strip floors are almost exclusively used in smaller rooms.

Longer and wider boards are better suited for larger homes and spaces and are currently the trend in hardwood flooring. Boardbrokers custom floors come in widths ranging from 1 ¼” to 20” wide and lengths from 3’ to 20’ long. Boards can be milled to match in exact lengths or come in random length (3’ to 10’) or long length (6’ to 12’) boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Custom Milling

Custom milling offers a variety of options to influence the look and feel of a hardwood floor under foot. Boardbrokers owns its own mills and offers a wide range of custom milling options.

Boardbrokers Offers the Following Custom Milling Options

Rift Sawn: Cut at a 30-60° angle to the growth rings, this cut produces narrower boards with a clean, straight, vertical grain. This type of floor has a “combed” appearance with a majority of boards consisting of straight lines.

Quarter Sawn: Cut at a 90° angle to the growth rings, this cut produces wider boards with the straightest grain pattern and visible Medullary rays known as “figure” or “flake.” Quarter sawn gets it name as the log is quartered then cut perpendicular to the growth rings. The benefits of a quarter sawn floor is that they wear more evenly, twist and cup less, and shrink 50% less than a plain sawn board.

Plain Sawn: Cut with the growth rings parallel to a boards face this cut provides the most yield of any cut. Plain sawn boards accentuate the grain, loops, and growth swirls of a piece of wood. Disadvantages of plain sawn boards include the potential for substantially different grain patterns which can result in the boards expanding and contracting at different rates. However, plain sawn wood has interesting grain patterns or “cathedrals” not present in other cuts.

Rift & Quarter: A combination of both rift sawn and quarter sawn boards this type of floor features a clean straight grain pattern while also incorporating the visible “Flake” of “Fleck” of a quarter sawn board. The typical ratio of rift to quartered floor boards is 50-50.

Cathedral Cut: Cathedral cut describes a board that has heart grain centered in the middle and rift & quartered on the sides. Cathedral cut woods exhibit a pronounced V grain pattern or a cathedral appearance. This is also know as flat sawn or plain sliced.

Square Edge: A clean look and smooth feel under foot this milling option positions a floors boards directly next to another eliminating any gap between boards. Square edge floors offer a sleek and modern look and style with each board blending more uniformly into the floor.
One advantage is that square edge floors are easier to clean as no dirt will build up in the grooves. Disadvantages of a square edge floor is that no floor is perfectly flat and will have slight differences of height or “overwood.” It is recommended that a square edge floor be sanded and finished on-site to have a perfectly level floor.

Beveled Edge: A more informal or rustic look and feel under foot this type of edge style positions boards with a distinctive deep v-groove between them. The look of this floor is distinctive in that it accentuates each board and the individuality of each piece of wood instead of the more uniform look of a square edge floor. Advantages of a beveled floor are that it camouflages any board height variations or sub-floor irregularities.

Eased Edge: Also know as a micro-bevel, this edge style translates into a look that is somewhere between rustic and modern. Each board has a shallow v-groove separating boards and this look puts more value on the uniqueness of each board. The advantage of the micro-bevel is that it allows the finish to more fully protect the wood and hides any height disparities between boards.

Broken Edge: Is a board with a micro-bevel to which a rock is moved back and forth across the beveled edge to create a rustic or broken appearance. This is an edge treatment is used for floors that require a more rustic and worn appearance.

Scraped Edge:  An edge treatment that takes a scraper blade or router and creates a deep uneven bevel on the edge of a board. This treatment results in a more primitive look that is associated with antique or old world floors.

 

 

 

 

Rift Sawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Floor Surface Treatments

Surface treatments add elements of distinction to a piece of wood enhancing its natural beauty. Boardbrokers can apply a variety of handmade surface treatments including hand-scraping, flaming, fuming, hit or miss, and wire brushing. For a detailed list with descriptions learn more about Boardbrokers custom finishing techniques.

Wood Floor Finishes

Boardbrokers makes both custom pre-finished as well as premium on-site finished hardwood floors. For on-site finishing Boardbrokers provides a full line of Hardwax oils.

Boardbrokers is adept of applying every stand wood floor finish including French Hardwax oil, colored oils, Tung oil, oil based polyurethane, water based urethane, lacquer, varnish, paste wax, conversion-varnish sealers, and aluminum oxide.

Learn More About Custom Hardwood Floors

Contact an experienced Boardbrokers hardwood flooring consultant to discuss and learn more about custom hardwood floors and the ordering process. A consultant can be reached Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm (PST) at 888.270.8797 or via email at sales@boardbrokers.com.

Flamed, Heavy Wire Brushed White Oak w/ Custom Oil
(Flamed, Heavy Wire Brushed White Oak w/ Custom Oil)