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

Clear Grade

A mostly heartwood flooring product with minimal character marks and color variation. This combination features the infinitely variable grain patterns with the minimal distraction from character marks and color variation. Clear grade means that all the natural marking in the wood have been cut out and removed. Clear grade boards therefore produce the cleanest looking flooring. In the reclaimed woods, there will be very few small nail holes and zero bolt holes in the wood. This grade of wood is often used in minimalist designs and contemporary spaces.

Select Grade ( Number 1 and better )

Contains all the variations in coloration produced by the differences of heartwood and sapwood. Also included are minimal character marks such as very small, closed knots and mineral streaks.

Select grade is a common grade for many wood floors and wood walls. In the reclaimed woods, there will be small tight knots, minimal nail holes and zero bolt holes in the wood.

Character Grade ( Number 2 and better )

A flooring product characterized by color variation that also contains prominent characters such as knots, open checks, worm holes, along with marks from machining. Character grade is a floor where prominent variation is expected.

Character grade is a very popular grade of wood flooring as it has a good balance of natural markings in each board. This grade will include mixed grains and more unique grain patterns. Knots are common throughout the boards and any holes are considered fillable. There will be check marks and other natural marks throughout. In the reclaimed woods, there will be nail holes and small bolt holes in the wood.

Rustic Grade ( Number 2 and number 3 )

Contains natural and manufacturing characteristics, including knots, open worm holes, other open characters along with color variations and marks from machining. Rustic grade flooring is perfect for applications where numerous notable character marks and prominent color contrasts are desired.

In the reclaimed woods, there will be nail holes and bolt holes in this grade flooring.



Because of the random growth of trees there are multiple grades of wood in each piece of lumber before it is cut and milled. To get a select grade floor you must “defect” the wood, which means to cut out the areas that do not make the grade. As you move on the scale towards the rustic grades you do not need to cut as much out, leaving more wood for longer length and wider width boards. If you are staining the wood, the more select grades will tend to give you a more even color. The grading of the wood does not affect the durability or strength though, it is simply a visual aspect. Because less wood must be defected to make the grade, the price will tend to decrease  with the more character you leave in the boards.

Sometimes the flooring  you need does not fit exactly into one of these categories. If this is the case let us know, we can customize almost all aspects of your flooring.