Other things can influence how a species looks as well, including grain and cut.
Types of Grades
The appearance of the wood determines its grade. All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each affords you a different look.
Clear wood is a flooring product with minimal character marks that provides a uniform appearance.
Select wood is a flooring product with natural heartwood/sapwood color variations that also includes knots, streaks, etc.
Common wood (No. 1 and No. 2) has more natural characteristics such as knots and color variations than either clear or select grades, and often is chosen because of these natural features and the character they bring to a room. 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 or riftsawn.
Plainsawn is the most common cut. Characteristics are its pleasing appearance, and varied grain appearance. It is easier to produce from the log.
Quartersawn is more expensive than plainsawn. Characteristics are greater wear resistance, less tendency to cup and twist, less shrinkage in width, and uniform grain appearance with ray flecks. Ray flecks appear in flooring that cuts across the wood’s ray cells, which creates a shimmering flake figure spread over the wood.
Riftsawn is more expensive than plainsawn. It's similar to quartersawn without the ray flecks.