Oak flooring grades explained

What are the differences?

No two planks will look the same, meaning your floor will be entirely unique to you

As wood is a natural product, there will be variations in colour, grain, knots, fissures and other characteristics between each board. We suggest that prior to fitting, a number of boards are laid out and selected in order to achieve a pleasing mix of colour and grade (this can be fun!). If necessary, natural defects which you don’t like can be cut out of most flooring products during fitting, and the resultant cut boards can be used at the end of a row.

We recommend that a minimum of 10% should be added to your total square floor area when calculating the quantity of flooring required to allow for visual grading (and to make sure you definitely have enough!).

We can send samples of our oak flooring which have taken your eye prior to you placing an order, or better still, come and visit our showroom (by appointment only). Please call us on 01544 260727 should you require further information, or wish to come and see us.

Below are our best efforts to describe the upper face of our oak floors (the part you see and walk on). Grading is based on one person’s opinion during the machining operations, therefore some products may vary from these descriptions.

Prime Grade

Selected for its crisp appearance and attractive grain. Most boards are relatively clear. Expect occasional small knots, pippy knots (‘cats paw’) and small areas of swirly grain. Board colour will vary, but not as much as character or rustic grades.

Unfinished

Very little, if any, filling is expected or needed. Light sanding may be required before sealing.

Pre-finished

Very small amounts of filler may have been applied. No sanding or finishing will be required.

Select character

A ‘halfway house’ between ‘Prime’ and ‘Character’ grades – mainly clear boards but with some natural features.

Unfinished

Very little, if any, filling is expected or needed. A light sanding may be required before sealing. Looks stunning when finished with OS Hardwax Oil.

Character grade

Selected for its interesting, ‘busy but not mad’ appearance. Expect an attractive mix of straight and swirly grain, knots, pippy knots (‘cats paw), small holes and fissures, sapwood, and other natural features. Some clear boards will be present. Board colour will vary.

Unfinished

Some filling may be required if you prefer a flat surface. Many customers don’t fill as they prefer to retain the character. Sanding and finishing will be required.

Pre-finished

Filling will have already been applied and the boards will have been sanded. Some filled knots and fissures may be sunken. Some knots and features may be unfilled. No sanding or finishing will be required.

RUSTIC GRADE

This can often be described as ‘character grade on steroids’! Simplified – it is as character grade, but with a higher percentage of knots, fissures, sapwood, holes, and natural features. Board colour can vary dramatically. Some boards may contain small sections of waney edge.

Unfinished

Quite a lot of filling may be required if you prefer a flat surface. Many customers don’t fill as they prefer to retain the rustic appearance and character. Some customers fill only the largest knots and features. Sanding and finishing will be required.

Pre-finished

Filling will have already been applied and the boards will have been sanded. Some filled knots and fissures may be sunken. Some knots and features may be unfilled. No sanding or finishing will be required.