Species and Grades of Wood
Over 50 different species from around the world have been used for wood floors. Different species will affect the color, durability and price of the floor. Common species that are used include red and white oak, birch, pine, beech, cherry and Douglas fir. No matter the species, wood is graded by how many defects are visible. Defects can include knots, color variations, worm holes and flags. The lowest grade, clear, indicates wood that is free from defects, although minor imperfections may occur. The grades are (in order) select, common, first, second and third. Third grade wood will appear rustic and have several defects.
Solid Wood Flooring
There are three basic styles of solid wood floors. Plank wood flooring is usually three to eight inches thick and cut into long pieces. Strip is very similar to plank wood flooring except it is narrower, usually less than 3-1/4 inches wide. Parquet wood floors are pieces that will create a repetitive geometric design on the floor. Solid wood flooring can come finished or unfinished.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring is produced by adhering three to five layers of wood and plastic laminate veneer. Each wood layer is switched so that the grain alternates directions, a process which gives it more stability. It is different from laminate flooring, since laminate does not have any real wood.
Acrylic Impregnated Wood Flooring
Acrylic impregnated wood floor is made just as it sounds--it is wood that has been injected with an acrylic material that seals and colors it. The process makes it very durable, very moisture- and scratch-resistant and harder than other types of wood floors, making it ideal for commercial use and high traffic areas.
Types of Cuts
The cut is the angle at which the board was cut. This will affect how the wood looks. Wood flooring can be cut in one of three ways: quartersawn, plainsawn or riftsawn. Quartersawn wood flooring is the hardest cut. It creates closer pores, ensuring that moisture is less of a problem. Plainsawn is the most common cut and provides wood with more variation. Riftsawn is similar to quartersawn except it is at a slightly different angle.