Shannon & Waterman Blog
About Plank Wood Floors, Flooring, Sustainability in Forestry

From Forest to Floor – Creating Your Custom Hardwood Floor from Beginning to End

It can be hard to comprehend that your hardwood floors were once standing trees in a forest. How they get from there to your home is a process that involves a network of people and nature working together to produce a beautiful finished product. These four broad steps describe the process of transforming that tree into a truly unique item for your home.

Step 1 

Trees are cut down when they have reached maturity or beyond. Typically, the tree is inspected to determine when it is ready to be cut down (i.e., it will be soon to die or fall by natural processes). The felled trees are cut into sections at specified lengths, and the branches are removed, creating a log that is loaded on a truck for transport.

Choosing the species of hardwood floors is very important. Learn more about what species is right for you here.

Step 2

The logs are taken to a mill where the bark is removed and the logs are placed on a conveyer belt. An enormous saw cuts them into predetermined lengths and rounded edges are removed to create square logs, which are then cut into slabs. The goal of this step is to maximize the lumber.

Shannon & Waterman’s state-of-the-art facility maximizes the raw materials to create a beautiful finished product for your home.

Step 3

The final specs for the product determine the next step – cutting the logs into planks. Parameters are programmed into the computer, which then analyzes the log to determine the best cuts for the desired yield. Whether it is to maximize wide, live sawn lumber or maximize quarter sawn, narrower material, this early determination helps maximize the preferred grain structures of your custom floor. The cut of wood and the angle of the cuts all affect the final appearance of the wood flooring. How the boards are cut also affects board widths, graining and character revealed.

View Shannon & Waterman’s selection process to build the perfect hardwood floors for your home.

Step 4

Drying the wood, first by air and then in a kiln, helps prevent the wood from potential decay. Boards are stacked to facilitate airflow around the wood, reducing the moisture content of the wood. The drying process further reduces moisture content, to limit wood shrinkage and damage. The heat in the kiln also sterilizes the wood, eliminating insects and fungi. Proper drying of the wood is important for successful performance once the wood is installed as a floor.

While you are waiting for your wood to dry, go ahead and imagine how beautiful your new hardwood floors from Shannon & Waterman are going to be!

Step 5

After drying, the lumber is sorted by grade and grain structure. For an engineered wood floor, that wood is then resewn and laminated to a stable, engineered platform. Next, the board is milled for tongue and groove, and the faces are planed. The wood flooring receives final grading, custom finishes are added, and the floor is packaged, stored in a controlled environment and, ultimately, shipped for installation in your home.

This customer’s wide plank floors are packed up and ready to go! Speak with one of our flooring professionals at Shannon & Waterman to help select the hardwood floors to complete your vision.

Transforming the tree that grew from a seedling in a managed forest to the gorgeous hardwood floor that provides the undertones to your everyday life involves a meticulous series of steps and a talented team of expert craftsmen who are dedicated to their craft. Well-managed forests include being selective about which trees to cut when to cut them, how and why. Accurate milling is critical. Correct grading is essential. Care of the wood flooring, from its production steps all the way to its installation, is important.


Every newly crafted Shannon & Waterman wide plank floor has its beginnings in our family-owned, old growth forests. For generations, we have masterfully managed our forests for true sustainability—ensuring that we always have the mature trees necessary to supply the densely grown, stable, and generously proportioned wood to create the floors of your dreams. Also, many of our products are FSC® certified.

The complete Shannon & Waterman line of products can be viewed on our website here: S&W Floors. Give us a call at (844) 315-2520 for more information.