Introduction

The price of oak engineered flooring is largely affected by the grade of top layer, which in general, refers to the number of knots, sap wood and “imperfections” that the flooring product (plank or parquet) would allow.

It is commonly accepted among the majority of the wood flooring traders the grade to be shown as alphabet letters, as well as combination of them – A, AB, ABC, ABCD, CD and DE. As for the oak engineered flooring, various grades are also marked as Prime, Select, Natural, Rustic, Character etc.

Unfortunately, there is no single definitive framework or criteria can be used as international standard. Traders evaluate the oak grade in the following general consensus.

Grade

  • A – Prime Grade

Typically, prime grade has few, or no knots, and these will be of minimal size. They are also known as healthy knots, as in general no filler is required to be used to fill them. There will be a relatively small amount of colour variation in the timber itself. And usually in the pure prime grade, no sapwood should be allowed.

As the growth defects are widely spread in a oak trunk, it is quite difficult to mill the perfect lamella with only a less than 10% yielding rate. Prime grade oak with will usually cost more than other grades.

Prime grade flooring is almost suitable for all the finish types. In consideration of its rareness, it is mostly applied with transparent coating. The clear natural colour endows the feeling of simplicity to your room.

  • AB – Select Grade

Select grade in widely available as an alternative to Prime grade, where pure prime boards cannot be obtained. Select grade of flooring will have some completely clear Prime grade planks, mixed with some with restricted size knots usually up to 10-15mm in size, some of which could be healthy knots, however filled small size knots is also allowed. Typically, with in Select grade of flooring about 10% sapwood is also allowed, as well as some colour variation of the timber.

The select grade oak is still quite rare in both sawing process and raw material supplying. The yielding is also limited to most of the flooring manufacturers. The price of select grade oak flooring is less higher than that of the prime grade, but still a good price.

People choose the select grade oak flooring for its pastel blond tone with fairly clear grain that create a natural brightness in any interior space.

  • ABC – Natural Grade

Natural Grade flooring, as the name suggest would have natural appearance of the wood, with some normal size knots about 25-50mm wide, often filled in wood filler. Number of knots could be limited per board. Sapwood and natural colour variation is usually allowed in this grade, as well as some filled cracks & knots on the edges.

Due to its increase in general feature and characteristics, it sits in the mid-range for pricing.

People prefer the oak flooring of natural grade for its warm golden tone and natural characteristics, which gives natural soft touch to the interior.

  • ABCD – Natural / Rustic Grade

Rustic grade, together with the natural grade above, are the most widely spread wood flooring options, available in nowadays. Rustic grade flooring comes with virtually limitless size and number of knots per board. Due to the usage of heartwood & sapwood, colour variation is to be expected. Cracks and knots are often filled with filler to complement, rather than match the colour of the wood. As the letter abbreviation suggests, this grade is mixture of some occasional cleaner boards with more natural/rustic ones.

The price of ABCD or Natural / Rustic grade oak flooring is relatively lower, for its sufficient resource and allowance for most of the defects.

The natural / rustic grade oak is strongly recommended by us any other manufacturers for its natural appearance, moderate price and feasibility for various kinds of finishes.

  • CD – Rustic Grade

The rustic grade 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 cracks across and between the growth 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.

For the allowance of most of the defects, the price of rustic grade oak flooring products is reasonable for the limit budget.

People prefer dark staining or smoked finish on the rustic grade oak to cover its color variation. If you like the natural sense and different tactile, you can choose heavy brushed flooring to reveal the natural grain texture.

  • DE – Character Grade

The character grade oak, which is usually the lowest grade of timber, allows unlimited knots, sound -cracks and extensive colour and grain variation. You can also expect some natural or purpose made imperfections – insects marks, rough saw marks, surface deformations, etc. 

The antique grade tends to be the least expensive grade. There is no need to worry about the strength, durability and wear-resistance, as they are sound and reliable in quality as other oak grades products.

This grade is a desirable choice where the character of the timber is to be emphasized. With  rougher texture and more unrefined and natural appearance, it will add style and sophistication to any interior design.

The detailed requests for each grade are illustrated in the follow table.

Defects

  • KNOTS AND FILLERS

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

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 our products has been carefully dried and its stability is ensured when supplied in an engineered form.

  • MEDULLARY RAYS, CHECKS AND SHAKES

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.

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