Understanding Timber Floor Grading

2 Aug 2023

Timber floor grading is a way of categorising wood flooring products based on how present particular visual characteristics are. Understanding these gradings will help you narrow down which products will acheive your desired aesthetic for your project.

Check out our latest video to learn what each grade is called and which characteristics you can expect to find in each grade.

WHat are timber floor grades?

Timber floor grading is simple method to categorise timber products based on how prominent certain natural features and characteristics are. 

These characteristics can include colour variation, knots, filler and sapwood which are all are much loved, natural and beautiful characteristics of timber and are not product defects.

Watch the video to learn which characteristics are more or less prominent in each grading category, and when you might opt to use each grade.


Typically, Prime grade planks have few, if any knots and these will be of minimal size. There will also be a small amount of sapwood and filler, if any at all. Where filler is used, its colour is chosen carefully to complement the wood and the colour of the filler may vary from batch to batch. There will also be a relatively small amount of colour variation allowed in prime grade timber.

If you are looking to achieve a sleek, modern, and contemporary design aesthetic a Prime board could be the best option for your project.


Known as either Select or Classic grade, typically, with these products there will be a mix of mostly prime boards and planks that may have some knots. Slightly larger knots are allowed in this grade. Heartwood and colour variation should be expected and there may be some cracks across the growth ring, sapwood and filler.

The colour of the filler is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly and it may vary from batch to batch.

Select grade is perfect for projects where you're after a clean look with a hint of natural features.


Character grade will include heartwood and sapwood allowing a wider range of colour variation. Knots are larger, and you should expect cracks around the growth ring and some possibly between the rings.

Filler will be used, the colour of which is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly and it may also vary from batch to batch.

Character grade is perfect for projects where you would like the natural characteristics to be more visible.


Known as Natural or Rustic grade, this allows for a virtually limitless size and amount of knots. Heartwood will be used and there will be colour variation, sapwood and filler. You should also expect cracks across the growth ring and possibly some cracks between the rings.

The colour of the filler is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly and it may have batch to batch variation, like the other grades.

Similar to Character grade, Rustic grade is perfect for projects where you wish to further showcase the natural markings and textures of timber.

Does the grade of timber impact the quality?

Grades to not indicate lower or higher quality, but rather a visual guide which, when understood, can help you to narrow down your product selection to those that will achieve the desired look and aesthetic you are after for your project.

Ready to explore the wonderful world of wood flooring?

If you would like further help or have any questions about timber floor grading or timber flooring in general, book a complimentary interior design consultation or showroom appointment, jump on our LiveChat on our website, or get in touch and we can assist you.

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