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Timber Flooring: Prime, Select, Natural or Rustic Grade?


timber flooring

When you’re shopping for a new timber floor, you’ll soon realise that there’s quite a bit of jargon you need to get familiar with. The Wood and Beyond blog is a great place to start if you want to get familiar with all the terms. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that the jargon’s complicated or difficult to understand, it’s just that there are a few terms that you could do with having up your sleeve to help you along your buying journey. One such term is grade. The grade of timber you choose for your floor will affect not only the price you pay, but the look, so this one is well worth getting your head around.

Timber floor grades – an overview

When timber is lumbered it is graded into one of 4 different grades. Those grades are prime, select, natural and rustic. The grade of the wood doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other, it simply means that it looks different and has different characteristics.

The characteristics of timber that affect the grade include the uniformity of its colour, the number and size of knots you can see, and the amount of sap it contains. While sap generally can’t be seen, the other two characteristics are important to consider when choosing which grade of wood would suit your project best. In this article we’ll share more details about what each grade looks like and in what situation it works best.

Prime grade

prime timber flooring

The unique thing about prime grade timber flooring is that it is extremely uniform in its appearance. With only a very small number of knots and a highly consistent colour, it is perfectly suited to top-end designer settings that you want to look sharp and clean. Although prime grade timber flooring isn’t always significantly more expensive than the other options, it has a really top-end look to it.

Assuming premium grade timber flooring is within your budget, you should choose it for rooms where you want a clean, streamlined finish. Prime grade timber is available in solid and engineered options and if you choose engineered premium grade timber flooring, you can use it in any room of the home and even over under floor heating. A look that can work equally well when used throughout the home for a really sleek, uniform look or used in the likes of bathrooms, kitchens, lounges or bedrooms as a one-off, when you choose premium grade timber flooring you’ll be in no doubt that your interior has moved up a notch.

Select grade

select timber flooring

Sporting slightly bigger knots and a tad more inconsistency colour-wise than premium grade timber, select grade timber is a highly stylish flooring option. Still pretty uniform and smooth on the eye, select grade is a great compromise if you want (almost) the uniformity of premium grade timber, but can’t quite justify the price tag.

A great way to floor or re-floor lounges, dining rooms, bedrooms and halls, solid select grade timber will look a million dollars as well as lasting (more than) a lifetime. However, if you want to fit your select grade timber floor in a bathroom or a kitchen, or over under floor heating, we recommend engineered flooring every time.

Natural grade

natural timber flooring

Natural grade timber flooring is a solution that allows the natural beauty of the wood to take centre stage. Sporting a fair number of knots that can be quite big as well as colour variation that can be quite significant, natural grade timber is full of charm and character. Available in both solid and engineered versions, there is a natural grade timber solution to suit every room in the home. Best suited to a relatively relaxed interior, when you choose this option, your floor will be full of interest and will offset a relaxed interior perfectly.

Rustic grade

rustic timber flooring

Rustic grade timber, at one time was thought of as the poor relation to the other options, but this is such a shame because rustic grade wood can look fabulous when used with a bit of imagination. With it’s obvious, chunky knots and sometimes dramatic colour variation, rustic timber flooring can add real interest and charm to a room that is simply furnished and decorated. Once again available in solid and engineered options, rustic grade timber flooring can be used throughout the home to great effect.

If you’re planning a timber flooring project and could do with some help, don’t hesitate to get in touch. At Wood and Beyond we’re passionate about everything timber flooring related and would be delighted to help you make the right choice.


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