Waste factors in floor manufacturing

      The amount of wood wasted from rough to finished flooring may surprise you. January 24, 2001

We purchased a moulder and have just run our first flooring job. We made the floor of three random widths. We assumed we would get a decent yield with this flexibility. Much to our surprise, we had 32% waste from rough to finished flooring! Could someone provide a reality check on typical waste factors?

Forum Responses
We can run plank flooring cheaper than the strip. Most of the time our lumber is made up of 5.5"-wide boards, so we end up running 4.75" to 5" flooring. When you move to the 3 to 3.5" width, the waste really builds up.

I have seen 35% waste factor when producing 2.75"-wide clear strips from mill run lumber. I don't have info on the log quality, so there is some missing info from this figure.

I custom run a lot of lumber into flooring. We usually rip to three sizes, sometimes four, to minimize waste. We have found 35% waste to be typical with random width lumber. Sometimes it is less and sometimes more. I've always heard 30% on strip flooring. We vary the three sizes based on the widths of the lumber we are using at the time. No two bundles of lumber are the same!

The companies I work with find something to do with the edging strips in order to capture cost. Everything from dowels to kiln sticks are made from them.

Most companies that are making strip flooring average around 28% to 32% loss when you include the edging stick and the dust/shavings from the molder and the gang rip.

To minimize waste, you can look at optimization programs. Many of the flooring companies that I work with will rip 6 or 8 different widths. They use 3 or 4 for flooring and the others for their common profiles. This makes a big difference in yield.

Dave Rankin, forum technical advisor

We produce flooring from 3.5" to 7"-wide and use a 30% waste factor for all of our costing. Some days you win and others you lose, but this has been the most accurate average. We mill both hardwoods and softwoods.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: Flooring

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber and Plywood

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining

  • KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2021 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article