Appearance of Wood Floors

“Dennis was very professional... He takes hardwood floors very seriously.”
-- Angie’s List Report

The appearance of the wood is determined by its grade and its cut. All grades and cuts are equally strong and serviceable, but each affords you a different look.

We have many wood samples which show the variations described below. Dennis is happy to show you examples of the choices shown and assist you in choosing the best one for your situation.  He can bring samples to your home, or can visit our showroom, by appointment.

Grades

Grading for most species:

Clear: Clear wood is free of defects, such as knots and worm holes, though it may have minor imperfections. This grade is often used in contemporary architecture because of its smooth, clean look. It will have the least amount of board to board color variation of any grade. Clear is always available in oak but is not necessarily available in other species.

Select: Select wood has few defects, but contains some natural characteristics such as small knots and color variation.

Common: 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 variegated appearance, light and dark colors, knots, and worm holes. No. 2 Common is rustic in appearance and emphasizes all wood characteristics of the species.

Grading for Maple, Beech and Birch:

  • First: First grade wood has the best appearance, natural color variations and limited character marks.
  • Second: Second grade wood is variegated in appearance with varying wood characteristics of species.
  • Third: Third grade wood is rustic in appearance allowing all wood characteristics of the species.

Cuts

What is the difference between plain sawn, rift and quartered lumber? The difference is the way they are sawed from the log. This difference, caused by sawing technique, will affect the lumber's appearance and properties.

Plain sawing

Plain sawn lumber is the most common form of lumber because it is the fastest way to cut wood and it creates the least waste. Each plain sawn board contains more variation than the other cuts because grain patterns resulting from the annual growth rings are more obvious, but generally, you will see a cathedral grain pattern.


Plain sawn Oak- The dark lines are annual growth rings

Rift and Quartersawn

  • Quartersawing produces less board feet per log than plain sawing and is therefore more expensive. Quartersawn wood twists and cups less and wears more evenly than other cuts.
  • The sawing methods shown below create unique grains pattern in the board. Quartersawn boards usually show a heavy fleck pattern, which has given this cut in oak the appellation, Tiger Oak. Rift sawn is very straight grained
  • Quartered and rift sawn lumber are more stable because the expansion and contraction across the face of the board when exposed to temperature and humidity fluctuations, is much less than in plain sawn lumber.

Historic homes in Tampa Bay and in many parts of the United States very often feature highly prized, Tiger Oak floors.


Rift sawn Oak- Here, the annual growth rings form a different pattern from plain sawn due to the angle at which the log is cut.


Quartersawn- The flecks of this quarter sawn White Oak call to mind tiger stripes. Each species of wood has its own distinctive and unusual graining when cut into quartersawn flooring.