(Applies to red and white oak only). Quarter-sawn hardwood flooring has its growth rings perpendicular to the board’s broad face. In contrast, plain-sawn hardwood flooring has growth rings parallel to the board’s broad face. Using the quarter-sawn technique produces both quartered and rift lumber. Both rift and quartered lumber have superior grain patterns, are less likely to expand or contract, and wear more evenly than plain-sawn lumber.
Clear-grade hardwood flooring has very few flaws or character marks. It is practically free of defects, and made up of mostly heartwood. Known as “Clear,” it may still contain minor imperfections.
Clear-grade hardwood flooring is usually uniform in color, comes in longer lengths, and contains virtually no blemishes or knots.
Select-grade hardwood flooring shows a bright grain with few flaws. Most pieces match well, and there is only slight complementing color variations.
Select-grade hardwood flooring could almost be considered clear-grade, but this grade of hardwood flooring contains many more natural characteristics such as knots, cathedrals, and natural color differences.
Common hardwood flooring has many more natural characteristics, such as knots or color variations, than clear or select grade hardwood flooring.
These grades are often chosen because of the natural features and character they bring to a room.