Select & Better
- Clear Grade: This is the best grade of hardwood flooring because there are few color variations, board lengths are not widely varied, and there are little to no visible knots or pinholes.
- Select and Better: This grade is slightly lower than the clear, still presenting uniform color and little to no knots and pinholes.
- #1 Common: This grade presents with more color variation, shorter board length with greater length variation, with an increased chance of visible knots and pinholes.
- #2 Common: Boards show natural character, with darker and lighter boards, shorter board length, with an increase in visible knots and pinholes.
Character grade wood flooring: It is also known as natural grade wood flooring. Available in solid and engineered wood flooring options, it is an affordable and attractive option that, not surprisingly is full of character. Wood is a completely natural product and as such has features such as knots, colour variation and sap when it is lumbered.
Wood Sawn Styles
Rift & Quarter Sawn
The most common cut is plain sawn. The log is squared and sawed lengthwise in a series of parallel cuts. The annual growth rings appear as approximately straight lines on the board, joining at the end to form a “cathedral arch.” Because of this arch, plain sawn boards are often considered the most beautiful of the cuts. These boards are ideal for large visual areas like whole floors, tabletops, drawer fronts, sides of dressers or other similar projects. Plain sawn boards are the least expensive of the three cuts as they are the least labor-intensive to produce and leave the least waste.
Quarter sawn boards are created by first cutting a log into quarters and then making a series of parallel cuts perpendicular to the tree’s rings, cutting on the radius. The grain in quarter sawn wood is relatively consistent and the growth rings (grain) will be at a 60-90-degree angle in the profile of the flooring plank. This also makes quarter sawn boards less likely to bow, warp or twist than plain sawn. This makes it a good choice for floors being placed in high traffic areas.
The third cut is rift sawn. In this cutting method, the log is still quartered, and then cut as you see on the right and in the video below. As the cuts get closer to the outside of the log the angle of the grain changes to 30-60 degrees and reducing the amount of ray fleks appearing in the wood. This makes it easy to match boards for a uniform appearance.
Is a very unique cut of wood which combines the grains found in plain sawn, quarter sawn, and rift sawn. This is an old method of sawing lumber used by olde world European Craftsman. To make live sawn, the sawyer slices the log directly through.
Solid vs Engineered Type
Solid hardwood floors are just that — they’re made from solid wood. Each board of solid hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of hardwood that’s about 3/4 of an inch thick. Because it’s so thick it can be sanded down and refinished for however long the flooring is in the house.
Engineered hardwood is a versatile and resilient flooring option that can be installed in most areas of your home. Made of genuine wood, this flooring gives your home an updated look and feel. Engineered hardwood is made of a core of hardwood or plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed to the top surface. It’s more resistant to moisture and heat compared to solid hardwood.
Solid hardwood expands and contracts in reaction to changes in moisture and temperature, so solid wood floors are only recommended for rooms at ground level or above.
The unique construction of engineered wood creates a structure that is less likely to buckle, gap, or react to fluctuations in humidity and temperature. You can install engineered flooring on any level, including below ground. It’s a great choice for finished basements and bathrooms.