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Douglas Fir Flooring Blog

  • Should I get 3¼” or 3⅛” Douglas Fir Flooring?

    Posted on February 2, 2011 by nell

    We get these two questions a lot:

    1. What’s the difference between ” & 3⅛” Douglas fir flooring?
    2. Why does ¼” make such a difference in price?



    These are great questions. The simple answer is this: 3¼” is an old standard width, and 3⅛” is a current standard width. Fifty or more years ago, the rough boards milled into flooring boards were a true 1”x4”. These days, the size of what is called a 1x4 is actually ¾”x3½”. While that does seem strange, it’s an industry standard.

    What that change means for flooring is that milling a 3¼” tongue and groove flooring board is no longer practical. Milling 3¼” flooring from a current 1x4 rough board would mean the loss of the tongue or the groove -- not a good thing. Therefore, 3⅛” has become a standard flooring width.
    3¼” boards are still made in lesser quantity, however, to meet the needs of homeowners across the country seeking a few replacement boards for their historic 3¼” Douglas fir floors. We feature 3¼” flooring with exactly those customers in mind.

    3 ¼” or 3⅛” flooring? Would it bother you if these 2 different widths were in adjoining rooms?

    So, which width might be right for you? It likely depends on the look you want. Clearly, if your project calls for replacing a small patch of your historic 3¼” flooring, we recommend using boards with the same size! We would never suggest patching 3¼” with 3⅛”. That would be foolish.
    But, if you’re wondering about the difference in quality between the 2 widths, there is none. We sell both widths in a clear vertical grain (CVG), C & Better grade, which means boards have an average of 10-25 rings per inch.

    Unless you seek a look that is authentic down to the width of the flooring, we recommend 3⅛”on new flooring to keep your costs down. You might even consider buying 3⅛” for a room adjoining one with original 3¼” flooring. The difference in width is slight, and once installed it would be hard to tell the difference. Ultimately, that judgment is up to the consumer, of course. We wouldn't want the flooring in your home to drive you crazy.

    Below are some of the products we reference in this blog post:



    This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring, Care & Maintenance and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, 31/8", 31/4"

  • Douglas-fir to Douglas fir flooring

    Posted on January 27, 2011 by nell

    Clearly, we love Douglas fir flooring, and the tree that yields such a beautiful product. In the Pacific Northwest where we live, it makes sense that where fir floors are abundant, so are the trees that make them. The tall beauties dominate the hillsides of our hometown of Portland. And we are compelled to post a little something about the Douglas-fir tree.

    Photographer, Walter Siegmund

    First, it’s not a fir. It’s a pine, which is why its name is hyphenated. It’s named after Scottish botanist and explorer David Douglas, who brought it and other North American plants back to Great Britain in the 1820’s, where it grows to this day. In Oregon, it was made the state tree in 1939.

    Of course, the Douglas-fir thrived in the Pacific Northwest long before Europeans first set eyes on it, and before people started making Douglas fir flooring. The trees can live over 1,000 years. Native American nations in the Northwest used the wood for fuel and fish hooks, among other things. A Native American legend ascribes the 3-pointed leaf-like bracts that poke out of a Doug fir cone to the back legs and tail of a mouse which sought refuge there for reasons that vary depending on the version of the tale you hear.

    Doug-firs also grow in parts of the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico, but those that grew in the Pacific Northwest captured the imagination of American emigrants, and immigrants from Europe and Asia. As the area was settled, they became a natural choice for building material and decor, not least of all Douglas fir flooring. They were abundant, and most of them boasted a ridiculous girth -- few species grow larger. Back then, it was hard to imagine human ingenuity would nearly wipe them out.

    The olden days

    It didn’t take long for Doug fir lumber to become big business. Lumber was one of the major factors in the growth of Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. A versatile wood, Douglas fir is used for the aforementioned flooring, as well as windows and doors, porch decking, framing lumber, and cabinetry. Its popularity was cemented in the early 1900’s, when it became a wood of choice in Sears & Roebuck catalog homes built across the U.S. This fact, incidentally, brings a lot of customers to our site looking for material to restore their original Douglas fir floors.

    Douglas fir does well in an industry that has been required to source product more sustainably since the end of the last century. Its growth rate of up to 4 feet a year makes it a popular and widely grown source of Christmas trees. While 4 feet a year means a longer wait for useable lumber, the industry is now set-up to deal with the wait. After all, the longer it grows, the tighter the grain, and the better the product.



    This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring, History and Interest and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring

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