What Makes the Grain Pattern for French Oak Floorng Different?

French oak is one the latest flooring trends, with an aged look and wire-brushed texture that gives it an overall striking appearance.

The cathedral grain pattern of French oak flooring is one of the striking differences from American oak. Each plank features a range of grain, from straight to quarter sawn and rift to plain sawn. A tighter, narrower grain pattern emerges, with a flat and rift appearance.


French oak is cut differently than American oak to produce the distinct grain pattern. The live or sawn straight logs display a full range of grain patterns and character marks like color variations and knots.

Speaking of color variations, French oak flooring has a yellow amber shade that differs from the light tan or subtle red look of American white or red oak.

The live sawn cutting method results in a variety of beautiful grain patterns within each individual board. Tight straight quarter grain, medullar flecks along the edges, and cathedral grain are all part of the same plank. Live sawn planks also show off the unique features of the log, including knots and mineral deposits.


The French have a technique that involves taking a square cant from the center of the log and slicing it straight through, which results in a wider plank, typically 7" to 10" with a gorgeous plain sawn look near the center, flanked by a unique rift and quartered grain pattern.

French oak is grown in forests north of the Alps on trees that are only harvested when they are fully mature after 150 years. The harvesting is done by select, unobtrusive cutting.

French oak with its distinct grain pattern is the oldest and most versatile flooring material. Each board has a unique character and remains timeless. It had been used for centuries in castles, monasteries, chalets, and villas and today is popular in North American homes. It shows off the best of real wood flooring.

Demand for French oak flooring surged roughly 20 years ago, gaining a niche in the Northeast. Today, consumers seek it out not only for its exotic features but for its carefully-worn patina displayed through its grain pattern.

You can purchase French oak flooring French oak flooring in seven-inch wide planks unfinished or pre-finished in a choice of several light and dark stains. An oil finish added to each plank retains its uniquely rustic look for a lifetime.


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