Many things can influence how a species looks, including grain and cut.

Types of Grades

The appearance of wood determines its grade. All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each looks different.

Clear wood has minimal character marks and a uniform appearance.

Select wood has natural color variations and includes knots, streaks, etc.

No. 1 Common has a varied appearance, light and dark colors, knots, streaks and wormholes.

No. 2 Common is rustic in appearance and emphasizes all wood characteristics of the species.

First grade wood has a uniform appearance, natural color variations and limited character marks. It is similar to a select grade.

Second grade wood is varied in appearance and features knots and some variation in color. It is similar to a No. 1 Common grade.

Third grade wood is rustic in appearance allowing all wood characteristics of the species. It is similar to a No. 2 Common grade.

Type of Cuts

The angle at which a board is cut determines how the finished product looks. Wood flooring is either plainsawn, quartersawn, riftsawn or livesawn

Plainsawn is the most common cut. Characteristics include a varied grain appearance. It is easier to produce from the log.





Quartersawn is more expensive than plainsawn. Characteristics include a uniform grain appearance with ray flecks. Ray flecks give the wood a shimmering flake effect.





Riftsawn is more expensive than plainsawn. It's similar to quartersawn without the ray flecks.





Livesawn is a combination of plainsawn, quartersawn and riftsawn wood.

Check out the Hardwood Floors Resource Book for all your wood flooring needs.

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