Custom Builder Switches From Commodity Flooring to AMHF Rift & Quarter Sawn Red Oak.

Custom Arlington, VA builder, Classic Cottages in Virginia, switched from using commodity plain sawn red oak to Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring (AMHF) rift & quarter sawn. Since the switch they have seen a huge improvement with their flooring.

We met David, President of Classic Cottages and Evan, the VP of Operations, at the International Builders show in Las Vegas.   Their goal was to switch to a new source for wood flooring after various issues with the plain sawn red oak floors they had been using.

Prior to AMHF, they had flooring issues so bad that they had to tear up complete floors and replaced them.  Therefore, the slightly less expensive plain sawn red oak floors caused a ton of added expense and headache.  Furthermore, they are high-end builders and wanted to be sure to offer their customers a quality product for their beautiful homes. 

red oak-hardwood floor-rift-quarter-sawn- R&Q- Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring-AMHF- Classic Cottages- Home office.
Natural Rift & Quarter Sawn Red Oak

Understanding the Issue

I talked to Classic Cottages about their issues with their flooring and explained to them how wood moves based on the direction of the annual growth rings in relation to the face of the board.  The commodity flooring cut they were using, plain sawn, has annual growth rings parallel to the face of the board. Therefore, the board will move across the width.  This causes gaps in the winter and cupping in the summer with the high humidity.  I explained how we cut rift & quarter sawn and live sawn. Then I explained how these cuts are more dimensional stability.  Additionally,  AMHF has complete control as we cut the logs and dry the lumber at our own mill.  You can read more details about these cuts at my blog here.   David & Evan said they had learned more about hardwood during our conversation than they had ever known. 

They decided to make the switch from the commodity flooring, plain sawn red oak to rift & quarter sawn and live sawn red oak flooring and they have seen a huge improvement with the quality of the homes and satisfaction of their customers. 

Custom Builder: Classic Cottages, LLC

Classic Cottages, LLC is an experienced Virginia based Real Estate, Design and Construction firm that specializes in residential new construction in Northern Virginia.   They are building amazing homes that will last for generations.  It is very important to Classic Cottages to have materials for their homes meet their high expectations while still working within their customer’s budgets.

Red Oak R&Q Natural Hardwood Flooring - site finished - classic cottages.- AMHF-Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring
Natural Rift & Quarter Sawn Red Oak
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Natural RIft & Quarter Sawn Red Oak

Interview: Switch from Commodity Flooring to AMHF R&Q and Live Sawn Red Oak

I recently spoke with Evan about what they have noticed over the last 1 1/2 years since they made the full switch to the standard red oak live sawn and red oak rift & quarter sawn natural grade in their homes.  Part of our conversation is below:

Red Oak-Live Sawn-Hardwood-Floor-kitchen-classic cottage-Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring-AMHF
Red Oak Live Sawn
Natural RQ Red Oak hardwood flooring. Classic Cottages- Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring-
Red Oak Rift & Quarter Sawn Natural

Jess: Why did you decide to use AMHF red oak rift and quarter sawn and red oak live sawn as the standard for your homes? 

Evan:  After learning from AMHF, we knew the switch from plain sawn red oak to a higher quality cut would really help with the chronic flooring problems we were having.  Previously we just used the plain sawn red oak supplied by our installers. There were gaps sometimes within a week after it was installed. It was a real mess. 

We initially decided to go with live sawn based on our designer preference, but we also love the the rift & quarter sawn. Our standard now is the 4” red oak R&Q natural grade. We also may start doing a narrower width upstairs.  The color variation and  knots in the red oak have worked well in our market since the official switch. 

Jess: How has using AMHF changed your overall cost for wood flooring in the home?

Evan: Our overall cost per SF has not been impacted much.  Maybe, at the most, $1 / SF more?  It has required more coordination now because we buy the flooring and pay an installer. Whereas before we bought floors turnkey.  However, the headaches AMHF have prevented are well worth the extra coordination. 

Jess: Why do you use site finish over prefinish floor like many “custom builders”?

Evan:  Site finish gives us more control of the colors and finishes to meet client demands.  The site finished floor also looks like a higher end floor in my opinion.  

What's the response from the homeowners?

Evan:  The homeowners almost always comment on them first thing when they walk in the door. They can’t stop talking about how beautiful they are. Even potential buyers walking through our open house events go on and on about how stunning these floors are.  We never had that overwhelming response to the floors with the plain sawn.   I take every opportunity to let clients and potential buyers know the history behind the floor. They all appreciate the flooring being locally sourced and sustainable, but I think being beautiful is what really makes the difference.  

We often remind builders that one ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
AMHF is that ounce of prevention.

red oak-Rift-Quarter-Sawn-Natural-living-room-hardwoodfloor
Natural Grade Rift & Quarter Sawn Red Oak

It is clear that Classic Cottages agrees with this philosophy and have been benefiting from the switch.

“Overall we are very happy with our switch from plain sawn red oak to working with Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring’s rift & quarter sawn and live sawn.   It’s been an improvement in the quality of our homes and our client’s love the upgrade without adding much additional cost to the home.”  – Evan, VP of Production.  Classic Cottages.

Love these pictures and want to see more?
CLICK HERE – to see album of Classic Cottage homes on AMHF Houzz Page.
CLICK HERE – to visit Classic Cottages website.


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