WHAT TO EXPECT FROM PRIME, SELECT, CHARACTER AND RUSTIC HARDWOOD FLOORING GRADES.
Part of the beauty of real wood is that each and every plank is unique. We like to offer a guide to understanding the differences between each grade and what you can expect to see to help you decide how "clean" or rustic you want your flooring to be.
Typically, prime grade has few, if any knots, and these will be of minimal size. There will also be a minimal amount of sapwood defects and filler, if any at all. Where filler is used its color is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly, and the color of the filler may vary from batch to batch. There will be a relatively small amount of color variation in the timber itself.
Known as either select or classic grade, typically this will have a mix of almost prime boards with other planks which have more knots. Slightly larger knots are allowed in this grade. Heartwood and color variation in the wood should be expected and there may be some checks (cracks across the growth ring), sapwood and filler. The color of the filler is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly and it may vary from batch to batch.
Typically, character grade will include both heartwood and sapwood and allows a wider range of color variation. Knots are larger and you should expect checks (cracks across the growth ring) and possibly some end shake (cracks between the rings). Filler will be used, the color of which is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly, and it may vary from batch to batch.
Known as either rustic grade or natural grade, this allows a virtually limitless size and number of knots. Heartwood will be used, there will be color variation, sapwood and filler; you should also expect checks (cracks across the growth ring) and possibly some end shake (cracks between the rings). The color of the filler is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly and it may vary from batch to batch.
A knot is either the base of a side branch or a dormant bud around which the grain flows. A knot is sometimes replaced by filler and this may be of various colors: white, grey, brown and black are shown here.
Sapwood is the living part of the tree through which water and sap flow. It tends to be lighter in color than the heartwood, and certain fuming, smoking and coloring processes emphasize it since it doesn’t react to these treatments to the same degree. By definition sapwood contains more moisture, however this is no cause for concern since all Havwoods’ wood has been carefully dried and its stability is ensured when supplied in an engineered form.
These white, ribbon-like medullary rays are an indication that the plank has been crafted from quarter-sawn wood. Checks and shakes usually occur at the end of a board and may be cut off.