The appearance of wood will be unique to each individual species. Each will have a different color, grain, and physical characteristics. You can learn more about each of these factors in the Species Gallery.

Other factors impact the appearance of wood flooring as well, including its grade and saw cut.


Wood grades are determined based on the physical characteristics of the wood. All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each looks different.

Clear wood has minimal character marks and a uniform color and appearance.

Select wood has natural color variations and includes knots, mineral streaks, and other natural characteristics.

No. 1 Common has a varied appearance, light and dark colors, knots, mineral streaks and wormholes.

No. 2 Common is rustic in appearance and emphasizes all wood characteristics of the species.


The angle at which a board is cut determines how the finished product looks. Wood flooring is either plainsawn, quartersawn, riftsawn or livesawn.

Plainsawn is the most common cut. Characteristics include a varied grain appearance.





Quartersawn is more expensive than plainsawn. Characteristics include a uniform grain appearance with ray flecks. Ray flecks give the wood a shimmering flake effect.





Riftsawn is more expensive than plainsawn. Characteristics are similar to quartersawn without the ray flecks.





Livesawn is a combination of plainsawn, quartersawn and riftsawn.


Looking for a quick and easy guide to wood floor selection? We've got everything you need in one easy guide. View it here



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