Wide Plank Flooring FAQ

Why does length matter in wide plank flooring?

Longer plank lengths mean fewer seams and transitions (and a less busy look) on your floor, compared to the patchwork effect created by an abundance of short boards. Much of the wood flooring market today is dominated by short boards, typically 1 to 7 feet in length, that are milled by cutting around defects in low quality lumber. Now compare that to our standard floorboard lengths of 4 to 15 feet at Hull Forest Products.  How do we do it?  We start with boards that are of such high quality we don't have to constantly cut around unwanted imperfections.  Even our rustic flooring planks have such beautiful appearance grade knots and natural markings they rarely need to be "defected" (hacked into shorter lengths to make them useable).

Because we are a sawmill, we can custom cut lumber specifically for flooring and make products that are impossible for other flooring manufacturers to duplicate.   Our solid wood flooring comes to you straight off the log in a range of widths and in much longer minimum average lengths than you'll find from other wide plank flooring manufacturers. 

What does minimum average length refer to ?

The minimum average length is the shortest average length you will receive in your order. Most manufacturers have minimum average lengths that are quite short (often as short as 2 feet). We offer two length classes on our floors: long, and extra long. Either way, our minimum average length is much longer than that of other manufacturers. 

When comparing prices, be sure to ask the manufacturer about their minimum average plank length and what percent of your floor planks will be longer than the minimum average length. The bottom line: for our price you get longer and larger planks, which are a premium product that adds aesthetic value to your floor.

What are random widths / installing random widths:

In the old days, people used the entire log or resource that was available to them, so floors in old homes have planks of several different widths, known as random widths. (As an aside, traditional floors were not only random width but also a mix of grades, and we frequently mix grades on request for customers who want this historically accurate look. Our Eastern White Pine Traditional flooring is a good reproduction/historical fit because it is a mix of several pine grades with a wide range of widths as well).

Single width floors, because they are a more recent invention, lend themselves to a more contemporary atmosphere. There is frequently a surcharge for single width orders or repeating pattern orders such as 4,5,6, / 4, 5, 6 etc. because it involves more sorting of the product.

Installing a random width (RW) floor is no more difficult than installing all one width or a repeating pattern. The floor will consist of 3 or more widths in varying amounts. You will receive a tally sheet with your order telling how much lineal and square footage you have in each width of your order. The widths that have the most lineal footage will repeat more often than those with less lineal footage. For example, an order with mostly 4" but some 5" and 6" may go like this: 4, 5, 4, 6, 5, 4, 6, 4, 5, 6, 5, 4 with the 4" repeating most often, but randomly. The tally sheet tells you how many times each width should repeat across a given length of a room.

Are your floors really mill direct ?

Yes!  We ARE a sawmill, not just a shop where lumber purchased from sawmills is further milled into flooring. We grow the trees, harvest them, and saw the logs into flooring for you. It doesn't get any more direct than that.

About 90 percent of our total flooring production is crafted out of timber sawn here.  In the event we don't have the wood needed to fill a large custom order with a short turn-around time, we do utilize wood from other high-quality sawmills, but since some of our custom grades are impossible to duplicate, a lead time of 3-4 months may apply if we don't have enough in stock to fill your order right away. Most of our species and grades are available within a 5-6 week lead time as we store over 1 million board feet of kiln dried lumber in our warehouse. 

Where are you located?

Our sawmill is located in northeastern Connecticut. We mill wide plank flooring, timbers, lumber, and other forest products for customers throughout the Northeast (New England, New York) as well as the West Coast, Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and Southeast. Our wood flooring and timbers have supplied homes from Alaska to Ireland, Japan to the Netherlands, among many other countries. We ship worldwide.

I’m not sure what type of flooring I want. Can I request a sample?

Yes. Let us know what species and grade(s) you are considering and we will send you a complimentary sample.

Do your floors come with a guarantee?

Yes. We place a lifetime structural guarantee on every floor we sell. If there is every any damage attributable to a manufacturing defect, we will replace the material.

Is your flooring unfinished or prefinished?

Both. Our standard product is unfinished wood flooring. For customers who need a prefinished floor, we are able to provide this for you at an additional cost. 

Can your floors work with a radiant heating system?

Yes, and many of our customers have them. Wide plank flooring is a fine choice for use with radiant heating systems provided it is installed properly. We can provide some helpful information.

Some flooring companies use the term "old growth." I've noticed you don't use that term. Why?

Because we are foresters as well as flooring manufacturers, and the forestry definiton of old growth as it applies to the eastern United States, where our trees are grown, is: a forest greater than 200 years of age that has not been altered or harvested by humans. Old growth forests are rare and usually exist in small patches where they were either too difficult to access or purposely left alone. We identified an old growth area in one of our forests and, recognizing it as a special and significant, we conserved it in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Division of Fisheries and Wildttlife so it would never be cut down.

We often encounter large old trees, particularly pines, that grew up on areas once cleared for pasture in New England that have long since grown back to forest. These trees may be up to 150 years of age and we do make flooring out of them. Companies using the term "old growth" to describe their flooring are probably referring to these types of second- or third-growth trees and just using the term "old growth" for advertising purposes.

What information do I need to place an order?

First, determine what species, grade, and size of flooring you want. If you are not sure, our flooring specialist can help you choose a floor that fits your application. There are many factors to consider, including where the floor will be installed, the preferred method of installation, the pattern, the preferred look of the reveal (board edge profile), and the desired color. Most orders are ready in 5 to 6 weeks or less.

How long will my order take? How will my flooring be bundled and shipped?

The average lead time for flooring orders is 4-8 weeks. Shipping time varies by location, generally taking from 1 to 5 days. Your flooring will come in bundles of planks that are packed 42” wide by up to 42” tall. Bundles are equipped with protective corners then strapped with 1/2” steel banding and wrapped in plastic. All shipped orders are further protected by being placed inside a custom-built wooden crate of oak and pine that we make here to insure your order arrives in exactly the same condition that it left our mill.

What are average shipping costs?

If you live in the New England/New York region, our own truck is available for deliveries at a rate of $80/hour. Common carrier shipping costs vary by your location and the size of your order. They range from .30/sf to $1.50/sf for the continental United States.  The average continental U.S. shipping cost on our orders is about .65/sf. Hawaii can run $1.50/sf and Alaska $3.00/sf, given the considerable distances. Global shipping is also available; call for rate quotes.

What methods of payment do you accept?

To get your order started, we need a 50 percent deposit. We accept the balance before shipment or delivery. You may pay by Mastercard or Visa over the phone or by personal check.

How much additional footage will I need for my installation?

For a typical three width random width order, you will need 10 percent additional footage. For a single width order, you will need an additional 7 percent. We can help you determine just how much product you need without selling you a lot of extra footage that will not be used.

What type of finish do you recommend for your floors?

This depends on personal preference. The two main choices are a poly finish or a tung oil finish. A polyurethane finish will give a clear hard surface coat that protects the surface more and provides a glossy coat. This finish is more labor intensive, requiring several coats with sanding in between. A tung oil finish is a lower maintenance option that soaks into the wood itself to protect it. It can be simply rubbed in with a cloth and does not require sanding between applications, but it does not provide a hard surface finish.

We don’t recommend any one brand of finish—there are so many good ones out there. We recommend you consult with your installer and patronize your local supply store.

Why is your wood a socially conscious, renewable choice?

All wood is an environmentally responsible choice because it is a 100 percent renewable resource. However, our wood is grown and harvested sustainably in the United States, under some of the most stringent environmental laws in the world. In addition, we offer FSC-certified flooring for those who desire it.

When you choose a forest product grown in the United States, you support wood as a commodity and ensure that it will continue to be grown and harvested sustainably. You provide the incentive for local landowners to keep their land in forest, helping to absorb greenhouse gases and clean and filter our air.

There are other renewable floor choices out there, such as bamboo. But unlike bamboo, which is grown in monoculture, trees grow in forests—complex ecosystems with greater contributions to biodiversity, soil, water, and air quality. Read more about wood flooring vs. bamboo.

What steps have you taken for forest conservation?

Our sawmill is certified to FSC standards by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a leading certifier of wood products manufacturers.  We have received an Environmental Merit award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for our role in creating bio-reserves of forestland, and our company forestland is certified to FSC standards by the Rainforest Alliance. Learn more about our green certification. 

We have also placed conservation restrictions on our land that permanently protect it from development, so our forests will remain productive, working landscapes that provides jobs and timber as well as plant and wildlife habitat, scenic viewsheds, carbon sequestration, open space, and recreational opportunity. Read more about our forest conservation.


For more information, visit
www.rainforest-alliance.org