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Other things can influence how a species looks as well, including grain and cut.
Types of Grades Oak
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. Note No. 2 Common is commonly the type wood that is found in CABIN GRADE WOOD, Cabin grade hardwood flooring, also called "tavern grade," is a very popular alternative to fully warrantied wood flooring. Cabin grade wood will produce a good-looking floor, but it will be more rustic and have more character than better grades of wood. In other words, it will have more light and dark boards, more mineral streaks, pin holes, small knots holes and shorter boards over all length and some profile and facial defects. When purchasing cabin grade wood, you will need to purchase 10 to 15% extra material than the square footage you are covering. This allows your installer to discard unusable boards or cut out bad sections. Please always ask sales person to give verbal explanation of all less than Select wood flooring.
Types of Grades Hickory, Maple and Exotics
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.
Styles of Wood Floors
There are three styles of wood floors available on the market today: strip, plank, and parquet. Each style is available in a variety of species, colors and widths, so choosing the right style simply is a matter of which look you prefer.
Strip flooring ranges from 1-½” to 3” wide, and creates a linear effect in a room, often making the room appear larger. Strip flooring generally is considered “traditional” wood flooring.
Plank flooring typically ranges from 3” to 7” wide. While plank flooring is linear, like strip flooring, its wider widths often create a more casual look.
Parquet flooring can vary in size, and usually generates a geometric, non-linear look. Parquet flooring can be very simple in design, or somewhat complex.
Types of Wood Floors
Advances in wood flooring during the past few years mean that you now can have wood flooring anywhere in your home or business. Where you want to put it, however, will determine the type of wood flooring you can use.
Unfinished and Factory Finished Wood Flooring
All wood flooring requires a finish. This is a protective coat that seals your floor against every day wear.
You can buy unfinished wood flooring, and your installer will sand the wood and apply the finish on the job site. There are several finish options available. Learn more about finish options. If you are looking for a specific color or need to match existing flooring, this option may suit your needs better.
Also available for purchase is factory-finished wood flooring, where the finish was applied at the manufacturer. This type of flooring has become as widely available as unfinished wood flooring. These floors require less time to install because the sanding and finishing process has already happened. The floors are ready to walk on immediately following the installation.
Solid and Engineered Wood Flooring
Solid wood flooring is exactly what the name implies: a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness of solid wood flooring can vary, but generally ranges from ¾” to 5/16”. One of the many benefits of solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished many times. Solid wood flooring can be installed above or on grade.
Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using multiple layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species, or of different species. The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade.