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Colour Variations Between Different Wood Flooring Grades

Prime grade wood flooring

If you are a fan of real wood flooring you probably already know that hardwood floors are usually divided into four categories of grades that pretty much determine the appearance of the floorboards to an extent. As a natural product, it is expected that wood floorboards will come with some natural colour variations, no matter if it comes to solid wood, engineered wood, or parquet flooring.

This specific and natural colour palette and appearance of the floorboards will vary depending on the different wood species used for manufacturing the floors, the grade, the batch, etc. In fact, colour variations, knots, sapwood, and all these specifics of the appearance of wooden floors are what makes them really interesting and exciting and why every wooden floor is a unique piece of artwork.


Select grade wood flooring

The wood flooring grade is what has the most impact on the colour variation between the different floorboards of a single floor, also the number of knots and sap content. Generally, the grade category prime is the one that includes the floorboards with the least colour variations, sap content, and knots, while the fourth category called rustic is the one that includes the most distinctive, unique, and characteristic appearances for floorboards. While these wood floor grade categories have nothing to do with the quality of wood flooring, they are a great way to determine the style of wood flooring that is suitable to your interior and meets your requirements and desires.

Differences In Wood Flooring Grades

The four categories of wood flooring grades are as follows: prime, select, natural, and rustic. As we have already mentioned, the prime grade includes the least amount of knots, content of the sap, and colour variation. The colour variation, sapwood, and knots are gradually rising to the most unique category - the rustic grade. When choosing a wooden floor remember that the grade categories do not determine the quality of the floor, but only its appearance. Just because prime grade comes with the least colour variation and almost sleek and so simple floorboards with clean lines, it does not mean that prime wood flooring is the best quality flooring you can get on the market. Each and every grade category includes floorboards with premium quality and some with the lower quality too.

Colour Variation in Different Wood Flooring Grades

Natural grade wood flooringWhen it comes to colour variation in the different wood flooring grades, you can expect the prime grade to be the one with the least colour variation and the best colour consistency. With little to no noticeable variation, the least content of sap and knots, prime grade provides simple lines and a very sleek and minimalistic appearance. Next, select grade also comes with very good colour consistency, but compared to prime grade, the select grade has a bit more colour variation.

Natural and rustic grade, of course, come with a lot more colour variation. While this is considered a disadvantage by the fans of more minimalistic and simple appearance, both natural and rustic grade are praised by others for their unique appearance, the specific atmosphere they can create, and the character and charm they add to every room, where the wooden floor is installed. The grade you are going to choose highly depends on the final effect you want to achieve and the overall atmosphere and interior style you are going for. Every grade of the above mentioned has its pros and cons, it depends on who is looking at it and what this person wants and expects from a real wood floor.


Rustic grade wood flooringKnots are an integral part of the appearance and makeup of natural wood. Generally speaking, the higher the wood floor grade is, the least amount of knots you can expect the floorboards to have or the smaller the size of the knots will be. As you can guess, the prime grade is the "cleanest", therefore it contains a very small amount of very small, hard to notice knots. On the contrary, the rustic grade has the most knots and the bigger in size ones.


Just like with the knots, the content of sap increases as we move down the list of wood flooring grades. Sapwood is the youngest part of the tree and it is located on the outside part of the trunk. The wood part with the lowest content of the sap is usually the very mature wood that is located in the heart of the trunk. The lowest amount of sap can be found in the highest prime grade. Moving down the list we reach to rustic grade that has the highest amount of sapwood.

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