Walnut Hardwood Flooring 101 – What You Need To Know About Walnut

Walnut Hardwood Lumber Farm with Close Up of Nut Stem

Okay, let me preface this blog with a disclaimer. I love walnut and walnut floors. I mean, I have a special place in my heart for American Black Walnut. That said, let me give a brief history of the walnut and this beautiful tree’s legacy. This blog may suffer from a mild case of flowery language input syndrome. Feel free to ignore that and enjoy the facts.

The Walnut Tree’s Rich History

The walnut tree, or Juglans Major, is always in high demand for its nuts and timber. The color, grain, and hardness make it a valued furniture wood.

Walnut originally was found in European countries like Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, France, and others in Western Europe. This section of Western Europe was called Gaul. The Latin name for walnut is Gallica meaning Gallic nut or Gaul nut. The creativity for this naming process wasn’t astounding, but the utility and visuals of this wood more than compensate for it.

Walnut is a very dense material. It is a popular wood to use when making furniture, hardwood floors, wainscoting, wall paneling, wooden shoes, and musical instruments. Walnut shells have even been used as a dynamite filler! The shells have made their beauty debut by becoming soap and exfoliating cleanser materials. This wood has a rich history. I was raised around this tree since I knee-high to a grasshopper.

My History with Walnut – Grandma’s Tree

When I was growing up (instead of out), my Granny had multiple Walnut trees. When we were really little, we gathered the nuts for Granny so that she could break them. We learned early on that if we pulled the hulls off while they were still green, our hands would be discolored for at least a month. We didn’t care!

Later, we were big enough to help break them open and pick out the good stuff, but we seldom filled the bowl, as our appetite for the oily Walnut meat inside far exceeded our desire to fill the container. No matter….there were plenty of Walnuts!

Later, as we got older, Granny would let us take her .22 rifle and shoot walnuts off the trees. My cousins and I learned to shoot thanks to the walnut tree! If you can bust a nut, swinging in the wind, a squirrel isn’t too much of a problem. But I digress.

Walnut Has a Unique Look

Maybe it is because of the dark, rich, vibrant colors, with lots of variation. No other wood or wood floor looks like Walnut. It is a unique species of wood. And I love it!

Walnut Natural Hardwood Floors Product Living Room Scene

Here’s a photo from our Rift and Quartered Walnut Natural Hardwood floor. This is a happy customer’s home install.

In just a couple of months, I will be building a new house. Every inch of my new floor will be Walnut! Is it because of memories at Granny’s? Or the beautiful look? Or because we have over 100,000 sq ft of solid and engineered Black Walnut hardwood flooring right now, that is all priced at less than half of market price? Yes, yes, and YES!!

Now we can talk about what we offer. Please keep in mind that some of these products will be gone soon and will no longer be available. We will update this blog with our current walnut inventory. Walnut wood floors are hard to keep in stock year-round, though!

Our Walnut Prefinished Solid Flooring

The most basic of our Walnut offerings is the Country Strip Walnut Natural. Our solid hardwood Country Strip is a prefinished Walnut floor that is 2 ¼” wide, and ¾” thick. Each piece is milled from a solid piece of Walnut. The grading on this floor is Mill Run, while the quality is first quality. That means that no grading classifications are based on aesthetics. Only manufacturing defects are removed from this lot. Country Strip Walnut is our most popular Walnut product, and will not be with us long.

country strip solid walnut hardwood floor on display

Country Strip Walnut Natural Hardwood Floor Boards Racked Out

If you want to learn more about hardwood floor grades in general, check out our video on the topic below or read our blog post, “hardwood grades explained.”

 

Unfortunately, our supplier of Walnut is exiting the Walnut market due to the low availability of raw material, so we will not be able to replace this offering. As you can see in the picture above of an actual open box, this floor offers a large amount of variation, even considering that it will contain a longer average board length than usual. Typically we see more variation in our more rustic floors, like our Red Label, but a Mill Run Walnut will exhibit all of the colors and shades that Walnut has to offer. Our Walnut Country Strip is genuinely a one-of-a-kind hardwood floor.

Our Engineered Walnut Flooring

Next, we will talk about the floor that is going into my house. The Country engineered Walnut. Available in the 3 ¼” width for only $2.49 sq ft, this ½”, 8 ply floor is a tremendous value. Graded as a Yellow Label floor (same as our Builder grade, but only available temporarily), this floor will contain a longer average board length and less defect, both natural and manufacturing, than the Blue Label, but more than the first quality. While I am not allowed to disclose the name of the manufacturer, I can tell you that this floor will sell for $7 or more in their running line offerings. Talk about savings!

Rift and Quartered Sawn Walnut

The last Walnut floor that we will discuss is our Rift & Quartered Walnut or Quartersawn. If you are not familiar with R&Q flooring, I will attempt to explain it. Caution, things may get a bit technical from here. First, let’s talk about the different ways wood can be sawn and start with the peel sawn method.

Peel Sawn

Lumber is cut from a log in one of three ways. The first and cheapest way is a peel sawn method. In the peel sawn process, a blade goes around and around the log, peeling off a layer of veneer that can be used as a topical layer. This method offers the highest yield at the lowest cost. Unfortunately, it looks different from a typical hardwood floor. It is also known for producing a weaker finished product, so it doesn’t create better or high-quality material. None of our Blue Label, Builder Grade, or Yellow Label products use this method.

Face Sawn Wood

The next one is the face-sawn method. A slab of wood is cut across the face of a log, resulting in the same look as would be found in a solid wood floor, just thinner. Face sawn wood produces veneers for high-end engineered floors. All of our Blue and Yellow label floors, as well as the Builder grades, are made this way.

Take a moment and think about what a cross-section of a log looks like:

Walnut Lumber behind Black-American-Walnut Log Cut Growth Rings

American Black Walnut Log Face

In the peeled veneer, all of the grain that is made possible by the growth rings is lost. In the face sawn, part of the veneer will display vertical grain, while the majority will show varying angles of grain.

Rift & Quarter Sawn Process

In the final method, Rift & Quartersawn, each slab is cut perpendicular to the grain of the wood. Rift & Quartersawn accomplishes multiple tasks: One, it gives the floor a look that unique to itself. The rift and quartersawn method will produce a straight-grained floor, with an occasional Rift, or sideways line. Secondly, because of the vertical grain, it will be a harder floor, with a higher Janka score, than a face-sawn or rotary peel floor. Learn more about Janka scores here.

Diagram of Wood Sawing Techniques

Diagram of Wood Sawing Techniques

Because of the extra work required and the material loss associated with sawing a rift and quartered floor, it is not usually available. When it is in the market, it is almost always in an unfinished state, and sell for $8-15 a square foot. We have it prefinished for $5.99 in a 5” width, $6.49 in 6” width!

If your tastes in wood run toward dark warm colors or even a domestic exotic that no one else will have, at ReallyCheapFloors.com, we can offer you the absolute best value on a Walnut floor that can be found on the market. Let us know if we can send you a sample, or answer any questions regarding these beautiful floors.