Difference Between Rift and Quartered Flooring and Plain Sawn Flooring

Difference Between Rift and Quartered Flooring and Plain Sawn Flooring

For discerning distributors and wholesale customers, Waterville Supply understands the importance of offering an extensive selection of premium building materials. When it comes to hardwood flooring, the choice of cut plays a significant role not just in aesthetics but also in performance. 


What is the difference between rift and quartered sawn flooring and plain sawn flooring?

The fundamental difference lies in how the log is sliced. Plain sawn, the most common and economical method, involves sawing the log radially from the center outwards. This results in a beautiful, swirling cathedral grain pattern that showcases the growth rings in their full glory.


However, for those seeking a more uniform and stable option, rift and quartered sawing techniques offer distinct advantages.


Rift sawn flooring

Rift sawn planks are created by cutting the log at a specific angle (between 30 and 60 degrees) in relation to the growth rings. This approach yields a straighter, linear grain pattern with a subtle, understated elegance. Rift sawn wood boasts exceptional dimensional stability, minimizing cupping and gapping caused by fluctuating humidity levels.


Here's a breakdown of the key benefits of rift sawn flooring:

  • Dimensional Stability: Due to the cut angle minimizing movement within the wood fibers, rift sawn planks are less prone to warping and shrinkage, making them ideal for areas with significant climate variations.
  • Subtle Elegance: The straighter grain pattern exudes a refined, sophisticated look that complements both contemporary and traditional design styles.
  • Durability: Rift sawn wood's inherent stability translates to longer-lasting floors that require less maintenance.


Quartered sawn flooring

The quartered sawing process involves first splitting the log into quarters, then sawing each quarter perpendicular to the growth rings. This meticulous method produces boards with a pronounced striped or "ray fleck" appearance, showcasing the wood's medullary rays – the light-colored flecks that radiate from the center.


Similar to rift sawn, quartered lumber offers exceptional dimensional stability and a timeless aesthetic. 


  • Unmatched Stability: Quartered sawn planks are the most stable form of lumber, making them the preferred choice for high-traffic areas and locations with extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations.
  • Striking Visual Appeal: The pronounced ray fleck pattern adds a unique visual texture and depth to the flooring, creating a truly captivating look.
  • Durability: Quartered wood's superior stability translates to exceptional resistance to wear and tear, ensuring a floor that endures for generations.


Selecting the perfect hardwood flooring

The choice between rift and quartered sawn flooring and plain sawn ultimately comes down to your specific needs and aesthetic preferences. Plain sawn offers affordability and undeniable beauty, perfect for projects where budget is a primary concern. For those prioritizing stability and a more understated look, rift sawn provides the ideal balance. Finally, quartered sawn stands out for its unparalleled stability and striking visuals, making it the ultimate choice for luxury projects and high-traffic areas.


Elevate your flooring inventory with Waterville Supply

At Waterville Supply, we understand that distributors and wholesalers require a reliable source for premium building materials. We offer a comprehensive selection of rift and quartered sawn flooring in various species and grades, allowing you to cater to even the most discerning clientele.


But that's not all! We go the extra mile to ensure your success. Our dedicated team provides expert advice on product selection, technical support, and competitive wholesale pricing. Additionally, we offer efficient nationwide distribution, ensuring your orders arrive on time and within budget.


Elevate your flooring inventory and take your business to the next level. Partner with Waterville Supply today and unlock a world of premium hardwood options for your flooring stores. Contact us now to discuss your specific requirements and discover how we can help you build a thriving business!