While we all know that different types of hardwood have different appearances, you may be wondering exactly why two pieces of oak can look incredibly different and if there are any structural differences. Since the hardwood you decide on will be in your home for years, it is important to consider all aspects of the flooring you choose.

When trees are cut in order to produce hardwood, the boards are separated by the appearance. Each tree may have several different variants that need to be labeled differently. Color and clarity will be judged to decide which pieces belong to which grade. The highest clarity and uniformity are usually purchased by furniture companies, while the rest is purchased by other manufacturers.

Once the boards are sent in to the flooring manufacturer, they’re further separated into 4-6 different grades for purchase:

Clear grade has the most clarity and color uniformity and can be somewhat difficult to find.
Select and better grade (also called prime) has some color deviation and dark mineral streaks with tiny knots.
Select grade will have more color deviation and streaks, but is the most popular with consumers for its affordability and quality.

#1 Common grade (also called traditional or exclusive) offers moderate color differentiation and small knots/pinholes.

#2 common grade (also called rustic or country) will have a lot of color differences and medium-sized knots.

In addition to the differences in appearance, the lower grade woods will need a higher waste factor. The different grades also tend to have different warranties in place. At East Texas Floors in Tyler, Texas, we’ll be happy to help you determine which grade fits your budget and needs. For more information, call us at (903) 894-8453.