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The Hull Forest Guide to Styles of Wide Plank Flooring

By Mary Hull

white oak plank flooring quarter and rift sawn from hull forest productsd
White oak quarter and rift sawn solid wood flooring from Hull Forest Products in a Catskills timber frame home.
Photo credit: @grossanddaley

We custom mill all kinds of hardwood and pine wide plank floors to fit your look and unique style -whether the place you call home is a vintage farmhouse, a brand new home, or an urban apartment, we can make you the perfect floor. Use this style guide to inspire ideas for your next project.

Rustic

Wood with rustic character works well for a variety of spaces – it is a natural fit for log and timber homes, and it’s also great in modern interiors where it serves as the perfect foil for white spaces and sleek surfaces like glass, metal, and tile.

  • Wood floors are an essential design element, comprising the largest visible surface area in your home. Think of them as functional art.
  • Wide and long plank floors create a clean visual line because there are fewer visible seams on the floor. In contrast, shorter and narrower planks create a patchwork effect.
  • Wood with natural character adds a warm, organic element to any interior.
  • Our best selling rustic wood floors are in the natural character grades of live sawn white oak, ash, hickory, maple, and birch. Some people may think of character marks as imperfections, but we think they make the most interesting and beautiful wood floors.

Modern to Contemporary

From mid-century modern to the present day and future, if your interior is informed by modernism, we have some ideas for wood floors that will complement your style.

  • Planks of equal width lend a modern air compared to random width planks, which are associated with early homes and traditional milling techniques.
  • Long planks enhance flow in open floor plans, particularly when the same species and color is used throughout.
  • The angular lines of rift sawn white oak make it a popular choice for modern interiors. We also see our wide plain sawn white oak, red oak, ash, and maple going into modern and contemporary spaces.

Traditional

Have a vintage home? We can make floors to mimic historic milling techniques, and our random width /random length wide plank floors evoke an earlier time.

  • It doesn’t get any more traditional than old fashioned solid wood plank flooring.
  • Long and wide planks & random widths are associated with historic homes. In the old days, when all logs were sawn locally, people used the entire resource as it came off the log, and they would not have had floors that were all one width, or even all one grade. Rather, they had boards in a mix of grades.
  • We see a lot of our random width flooring, especially live sawn white oak, select red oak, and eastern white pine, going into antique, reproduction, and farmhouse style homes. Because these floors are each a mix of several grades and available in a wide range of widths, they are a good fit for a vintage look.

Classic to Transitional

Classic tried and true hardwood flooring enhances your home’s resale value, works with a wide variety of decorating styles, and will look just as timeless in the future as it does today. The transitional style is a classic look that appeals to those seeking middle ground – it is less formal than traditional style and less austere than contemporary style. Transitional style takes elements from the past and the present and mixes them together for a clean aesthetic that prioritizes comfort.

  • Red oak is a classic choice, available in select, premium, and natural grades with plank widths from 3-14 inches and very long plank lengths of 4-10 feet with an average plank length of 7+ feet. Red oak takes stain easily, allowing for a wide range of finish tones, and is less expensive than white oak. Red Oak is also rapidly renewable, making it one of the most environmentally conscious woods you can choose.
  • White oak is another classic choice, available plain sawn, live sawn, or quarter/rift sawn.
  • We see a lot of our select and premium grades of red oak, white oak , ash, and maple going into transitional style homes. When the design leans toward a farmhouse vibe, live sawn white oak is also a popular choice.

Browse more of our flooring photos to get inspired. Ready for your customized quote? Click below or call us at 1-800-928-9602 .

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Red Oak Flooring – Durable, Classic, and Rapidly Renewable

Hull Forest Products Oak flooring Yale University
Red Oak makes a durable, beautiful , and classic kitchen wood floor. Shown here in the quarter and rift sawn cut, select grade. Floor #317. Photo credit: Otto/Pete Aaron for RAMSA Architects.

Red Oak flooring is beautiful and durable, and Red Oak trees are the dominant hardwood species in the United States. Red Oak is also the the most rapidly renewable of all the American hardwoods: it takes U.S. forests just .57 seconds to grow one cubic meter of red oak! (That’s less time than it just took you to read these first two sentences.) Red Oaks do not grow in plantations – they grow naturally in forests throughout the eastern United States. If you are looking for a highly sustainable wood, there is no better choice than Red Oak.

Flatsawn (also known as plainsawn) Red Oak select grade wide plank flooring with Minwax Early American stain applied, floor #357, Norwich, CT.

Red Oaks are named for the color their leaves turn in fall. The wood itself has a distinctive grain and is exceptionally strong and durable. The sapwood is light brown and the heartwood is often, but not always, pinkish to reddish brown. American Red Oak takes stain and finish very well, making it a popular choice for flooring and furniture making.

Side by side, you can see the difference in appearance between these two unfinished flatsawn boards of Red Oak (left) and White Oak (right). The rays (the little dark brown streaks running with the grain) are shorter and less noticeable on Red Oak, whereas the rays in White Oak tend to be longer and more prominent.

There are significant regional differences to Red Oak. At Hull Forest Products we use northern Red Oak grown in New England within 100 miles of our sawmill. Because of the colder temperatures, Northern Red Oak grows slowly, giving it closer, tighter growth rings, finer grain, and a lighter and more consistent color.

A Northern Red Oak log sawn on our double cut bandmill reveals tight clear grain and consistent color.

Red Oak flooring is just as durable and beautiful as White Oak, but because it is so much more abundant, Red Oak is less expensive, making it a great option for those seeking solid wood flooring at a wallet-friendly price.

Learn more about grades and cuts of red oak flooring

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Bill Hull & Hull Forest Products Receive Aldo Leopold Conservation Award

Bill Hull of Hull Forest Products received the 2019 Aldo Leopold Award for conserving working forests in the Northeast.

Hull Forest Products and Hull Forest Products founder Bill Hull are the first New England recipients of the Aldo Leopold Conservation Award. Presented by the Sand County Foundation, New England Forestry Foundation, and American Farmland Trust, the award recognized outstanding achievement in the voluntary conservation of natural resources by American foresters, farmers, and ranchers.

Bill Hull showed an affinity for trees in his childhood Rhode Island backyard. By the age of 15 he convinced a local farmer to lend him the money to purchase a forest. He paid off the loan (with interest) two years later, and was on his way to becoming one of New England’s leading foresters.

While earning a forestry degree at the University of New Hampshire, Hull got his start in the lumber business sawing white oaks into barrel staves on an old-fashioned circular sawmill. Despite market downturns and collapses, bankruptcy scares, and several devastating fires, he bootstrapped a tiny business into the largest sawmill in southern New England. Today, Hull Forest Products manufactures more than 10 million board feet of lumber into sustainable building materials each year, including wood flooring sold mill-direct to the public.

With a business dependent on healthy, productive forests, he launched a woodland management division staffed with licensed foresters to help other landowners keep their woodlands intact by providing them a viable financial return.

He’s acquired more than 27,000 acres of forestland with a single-minded dedication for conserving working forests that provide bird and wildlife habitat and biodiversity across New England. In addition, Hull Forest Products manages thousands of acres of client woodlands in the Northeast, helping landowners grow value in their woods while keeping their forests as forests.

Hull Forest Products, which employs 80 people, is a family of forestland owner-investors working in the combined fields of forest management, timber harvesting, and wood products manufacturing and marketing.

Hull credits his rural background with teaching him that growing and harvesting trees helps the environment through increased wildlife habitat, improved air and water quality, and carbon sequestration. He has voluntarily placed conservation easements on 90 percent of his southern New England forests.

The Hull family has permanently protected 27,740 acres of forestland through Hull Forestlands, much of which is FSC-certified. By removing the possibility of development, it ensures that working forests will remain a source of timber for generations to come. These unique and environmentally important landscapes are home to wetlands, streams, and forests that sustain drinking water supplies for urban areas, and provide habitat for migratory waterfowl.

In 2000, Hull Forestlands participated in the largest private land protection project in Massachusetts history by permanently preserving more than 8,000 acres of working forestland. The Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs hailed the innovative project that spread across five watersheds in Massachusetts and Connecticut as a “regional model for innovative conservation of natural resources.”

“Bill Hull has been protecting and sustainably managing New England’s forests for decades, and New England Forestry Foundation is thrilled to recognize his tireless work with the Leopold Conservation Award,” said Bob Perschel, Executive Director of New England Forestry Foundation. “Over the decades, Bill has helped break new ground be introducing conservation methods like large-scale conservation easements, and he remains a key partner in our efforts to achieve a region-wide vision of forest protection and responsible management.”

“Bill Hull exemplifies the ideals of Aldo Leopold. His commitment to his industry, land conservation, community, and to the land on which he has built his legacy make him an ideal recipient of New England’s first Leopold Conservation Award,” said Nathan W. L’Etoile, New England Director of American Farmland Trust. “Like Bill, thousands of farmers, foresters, and forestland owners are working every day to protect land, provide clean water and air, combat climate change and produce safe, wholesome, high quality food and fiber for their communities.”

“Leopold Conservation Award recipients are at the forefront of a movement by America’s farmers, ranchers and foresters to simultaneously achieve economic and environmental success,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.

The New England Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support of New England Forestry Foundation, American Farmland Trust-New England, The John Merck Fund, The Ida and Robert Gordon Family Foundation, Wildlands and Woodlands, Whole Foods Market, David and Ann Ingram, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation on private land, created the Leopold Conservation Award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional foresters, ranchers and farmers. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac; Aldo Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage. He wrote it was “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.

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2019 Sawmill Tour at Hull Forest Products

Join us for our sawmill tour! Connecticut’s largest sawmill, Hull Forest Products, will host free sawmill tours of its forest products manufacturing facility in Pomfret Center, CT on Saturday October 19, 2019 from 8 am to 2 pm. Learn about forest management, timber harvesting, and wood manufacturing, and watch as local timber is transformed into finished products before your eyes. Observe the forest-to-floor process and develop a greater understanding of where local wood products come from and how they are made. Participants will also learn how using local wood helps conserve local forests.

This is a great “how it’s made” tour for all ages, free and open to the public, offered in conjunction with The Last Green Valley’s Walktober.

Hull Forest Products sawmill in Pomfret, CT
View of the Hull Forest Products sawmill, located in Pomfret, CT.

Where: Hull Forest Products, 101 Hampton Road, Pomfret Center, CT 06259

When: Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 8 am to 2 pm.

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Wide Plank Wood Flooring Sawn Locally in CT – A New England Tradition

Hull Forest Products of Pomfret, Connecticut, has been making traditional wide plank wood flooring since the family sawmill got its start in New England over 54 years ago.  The company began as a tiny backyard mill and evolved  to become the largest sawmill in Connecticut, manufacturing over 10 million board feet of forest products each year.

View of the Hull Forest Products sawmill today, located in Pomfret, CT.

Today thousands of homes and buildings in New England and beyond, including storied institutions like Yale and Harvard,  feature custom wide plank wood flooring from this third generation family-run sawmill.

Hull Forest Products Oak flooring Yale University
Hull Forest Products made custom wide plank wood floors for Yale University’s newest residential colleges,  including flooring for the head of college houses. Photo credit: Otto/Pete Aaron for RAMSA Architects.

Wide Plank Wood Flooring Made With Sustainable Local Timber

Made with sustainable local timber coming from family forests in New England, Hull wide plank wood flooring adds beauty to your home and gives you the satisfaction of knowing where your wood comes from. The woodland management division of Hull Forest Products stewards over 50,000 acres of New England forests, providing long-term forest management to landowners and helping them keep their forests as forests.

Hull Forest Products has earned an Environmental Merit Award from the EPA for its role in helping to conserve the region’s working woodlands. When you choose a Hull wood floor, you are helping to conserve forests in the United States.

Dormitories and common areas at Yale’s Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges feature Hull Forest Products flooring. Photo credit: Otto/Pete Aaron for RAMSA Architects.

Mill-Direct Wide Plank Wood Flooring – Lifetime Quality Guarantee

Hull Forest Products specializes in long and wide plank wood floors and custom matching stair components – all products are made to last for generations, and customers receive a lifetime quality guarantee.  Wood products are sold mill-direct to the public with nationwide shipping.

Shop the company’s  custom wide plank floors at hullforest.com  or visit the Hull Forest Products wood flooring showroom at 101 Hampton Road, Pomfret Center, CT 06259 (open daily 8-4, nights/weekends by appointment)  1-800-928-9602.

Hull siblings and business partners at the family sawmill.
Hull siblings Sam, Mary, and Ben (shown at the Hull Forest Products sawmill in Pomfret, CT)  carry the family business forward today.

 

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Four Family-Friendly Sustainable Forestry Events This Fall in New England

September 2018 –

Hull Forest Products, southern New England’s largest sawmill and woodland management service, is participating in four family-friendly educational events this fall that highlight sustainable forestry in New England. We hope you will join us to learn about working forests and the many benefits they provide to our region!

Each fall  the Hull Forest Products forestry division offers guided woods walks of woodlands managed by Hull Forest Products to help teach the public about working forests and sustainable forestry.

Hull Forest Products will be at Celebrating Agriculture Day at the Woodstock Fairgrounds, September 22, 2018.

  1. Celebrating Agriculture Day, Saturday September 22, 2018  9am – 3pm at the Woodstock Fairgrounds in Woodstock, CT.  Celebrating Agriculture Day started in 2001 as part of an effort to promote community education and participation in agriculture, as well as to support consumer purchasing of local farm products. Each year, the goal is to welcome more people to learn who our farm neighbors are, and how to support local agriculture to enrich and maintain the open space — the working landscape — of our area. Hull Forest Products will be on hand with information about working forests and how they provide many public benefits. We’ll also have samples of our USA-made wood flooring on display.
  2. The Massachusetts Outdoor Expo (The Big Moe), Sunday September 23, 2018 at the Hamilton Rod & Gun Club, Sturbridge, MA from 9am -4pm. Free admission, free parking. With over 45 outdoor activity stations ranging from building bird nest boxes (with pine lumber donated by Hull Forest Products) to archery, shotgun, fishing, and wilderness survival skills, this is a great event for the kids.
  3. Family Forest Tour, from 10 am – 11:30 am on Saturday October 13, 2018 at 68 Ballamahack Road, Windham, CT.  Join Hull Forest Products foresters Chris Casadei and Michelle Wood as they lead a two-mile walk at the Andrychowski Family Forest, a 100-acre property that has been actively managed for timber production for over 40 years.  Participants will learn about recent forest management practices on this working landscape and observe several different forest types,  evidence of colonial settlement. and beautiful views of the adjacent Lake Marie on the Joshua’s Trust property.  Directions: From Route 14 take Ballamahack Road 200 feet past mailbox #68; the road turns sharply left; park in the field on the right at the sharp turn. For more info. contact Hull Forest Products (860) 974-0127.
  4. Hatchet Hill Hike, from 1:30-3:30 pm, Sunday October 21, 2018 at 1914 Eastford Road (Route 198) Woodstock, CT.  Join Hull Forest Products forester Mike Bartlett for a guided 1.5-mile woods walk in the Walker Family Woodland, which has been managed for recreation, wildlife, and forest products for over 60 years. This walk includes interesting geological features and one of the best scenic vistas in the Last Green Valley.  Directions:  The forest is located on the west side of Route 198, two miles north of the intersection of Routes 198 & 197. For more info. contact Hull Forest Products (860) 974-0127.
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Hull Forest Products Partners with National Wood Flooring Association

Intermediate installation training at NWFA University, with Hull Forest Products.

Flooring installers attending a National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) University class at the NYC District Carpenters Union in July 2018 were treated to lunch and a presentation by Hull Forest Products, Connecticut’s largest hardwood sawmill and a great resource for contractors in the New York/New Jersey and Boston metro areas.

Flooring sales consultant Belinda Culp was on hand to answer questions and present the installers with information on Hull’s manufacturing, which includes custom unfinished and prefinished solid wood floors, nested bundle floors, trim, moulding, and staircase parts.

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Hull Forest Products Wood Floors Earn Best of Houzz Award

Hull Forest Products Earns Best of Houzz Award for its Wood Floors

Hull Forest Products just earned the “Best Of Houzz 2018”  customer service award – the company’s sixth award in a row from  Houzz.com, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.

“We work hard to make wood floors like no one else, and we are thrilled that our American-grown and manufactured wide plank floors have proved so popular with the Houzz community,” says Mary Hull, co-owner of Hull Forest Products.  “People feel good about choosing our floors because they are unique, beautiful, sustainable products whose use helps protect working  forests here in the United States.”

“We’re delighted to recognize Hull Forest Products among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes,” said Liza Hausman, vice-president of industry marketing for Houzz.

Follow Hull Forest Products on Houzz or browse our wood floors at hullforest.com.

Best of Houzz awards won by Hull Forest Products in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

 

 

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Five Reasons To Love Live Sawn White Oak Floors

Modern kitchen with wide plank live sawn wood floors
Live sawn wood floors are sawn straight off the log, allowing for wide planks with a variety of grain patterns.

Live sawn White Oak floors are a customer favorite, with good reason. This type of wide plank wood flooring has beautiful and unique grain, is extremely durable, and offers excellent value. Read on to learn more of what’s to love about the live sawn cut:

1.  Live sawing is a traditional method of sawing wood flooring that creates a beautiful grain pattern.

Live sawn White Oak floors are also known as “European center cut floors” or “French Oak floors” because this saw cut was popular in the old world. The saw passes straight through the log from the outside diameter through the heart, creating the widest possible boards and utilizing as much of each log as possible.

Oak log sits on log deck waiting to be live sawn
An oak log sits on deck at the Hull Forest Products sawmill in Connecticut. When we are making live sawn wood floors, our band mill makes a series of straight cuts all the way through the log.

Because each live sawn plank contains a mix of clear and natural grade wood, the flooring is an accurate representation of the inside of each individual tree.  Wide live sawn planks include some of each of the grain styles:  rift sawn, quarter sawn, and plain (also known as flat) sawn.

Diagram of the four types of saw cuts
Illustration 1: This graphic demonstrates the different types of saw cuts and the resulting grain pattern of the boards.

2.  Live sawn wood flooring is an extremely durable wide plank flooring choice.

Live sawn planks contain both radial grain (grain that runs perpendicular to the growth rings) and tangential grain (grain that runs parallel to the growth rings). This grain mix makes live sawn boards very stable – even at wider plank widths. We dry the floor boards carefully and mill the backs with stress relief to prevent cupping. As a result, we confidently offer our live sawn White Oak solid wood flooring in widths up to 14 inches.

3. Live Sawn White Oak floors are environmentally friendly.

The live sawn cut offers the best resource utilization of all the saw cuts.  It conserves the majority of the log with very little waste. Superior resource utilization is one reason why this cut was so popular in the old days. Waste not, want not.

4. Live sawn White Oak wood floors work with  modern and traditional interiors.

Live sawn white oak wood floors in a new timber frame home
Live sawn White Oak wood flooring in a new timber frame home.

Live sawn oak floors are a classic flooring look that adds a welcome organic element of wood and warmth to any interior. Browse photos of our live sawn wood floors in a variety of interior styles. 

5. Live sawn floors offer excellent value

Live sawn White Oak floors offer one of the best values in wide plank flooring. They are an affordable luxury compared to their close cousins, rift and quarter sawn floors. (Rift and quartersawn floors result in a higher waste factor so they are more expensive.) Live sawn floors offer a very wide plank floor with the stability of quarter and rift sawn floors at a fraction of the price.

Shop Live Sawn White Oak floors

Read Customer Reviews

We hope you’ll stop by the wide plank flooring showroom at our Connecticut sawmill, or have a sample mailed to you. We ship our floors nationwide.

Give us a call today at 1-800-928-9602 to order a sample and request a quote – or email us. You can also visit us online at www.hullforest.com.

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Wide Plank Wood Flooring In The Kitchen

Wide plank wood flooring in the kitchen? Yes. Wood adds a warm and organic element to what is often the most modern room in the house. Wood also contrasts well with sleek or metal kitchen surfaces. On trend for 2018,  more homeowners are choosing to add wide plank flooring as a way to put their unique imprint on kitchen remodels.

Here are a few examples of kitchens that created one-of-a-kind looks with our custom wide plank wood flooring:

Warm colored cherry wood floors brighten an all white kitchen.
Our select grade American Cherry wide plank wood flooring brings color to a white kitchen.

Imagine the white kitchen above with a more neutral color floor – without the reddish floor, this room would have a totally different look. The rich red hue of the American Cherry plank flooring really warms up this kitchen’s color palette.

Warming up a white kitchen with a variegated wood floor.
Our  premium grade American Hickory wood flooring with grain and color variation enlivens an all white kitchen.

The wide plank hickory floor in the modern Boston kitchen shown above also adds warmth and interest to an all white kitchen, but in a very different way. In this case, the wood character and the color variation between hickory’s pale sapwood and darker brown heartwood create the wow factor.

figured grain of curly birch wood flooring adds interest to a white kitchen
Our Curly Birch wide plank flooring in a coastal kitchen, Newport Beach, California.

Another white kitchen, the California example (shown above) used figured Birch wood flooring to create a unique and contrasting interior.

Also be sure to check out more examples below from our Houzz profile. Hull Forest Products was voted Best of Houzz again – for 2018. This makes seven awards in a row now because our floors and and customer service are so popular with users.

Browse wide plank floors