Identifying Different Oak Grades
To find the cheapest oak floor you need to understand Oak grades. Red Oak and White Oak grades are based on the face surface, specifically its appearance. The most common grades of domestic hardwood wood flooring are clear (c & btr), select (s & btr), # 1 common, # 2 common and a variety of proprietary grades. Yes, proprietary, as in they make it up. Now, this is not always a bad thing, not at all. However, many times these creations are about raising the price, i.e., natural rustic = #2 common everywhere else.
The premium Oak Grades.
Clear Grade Oak
Clear Grade Oak is cut and harvested from the innermost heartwood of the tree. Color discrepancies of dark to light and variations such as knots and worm holes will be at the absolute minimum if not non-existent in this grade of oak. The grain, however, will still be prominent while having a clean overall look. Due to clear being the highest grade, mills pick carefully through each and every piece to ensure that the milling of the seams, butt joints, and tongue and groove are milled precisely.
Select and Better
Select and Better will typically have clear pieces mixed into the bundles. You will have minimal variation from the sapwood. There will be virtually no knots or worm holes on these boards though some will be present. The appearance of the grain is strong with very slight color variations of heartwood and sapwood.
The Common Oaks
No. 1 Common
No. 1 Common grade is where much more variation and discrepancies will show through. You will have some knots and wormholes. You will have color variations of the sapwood to heartwood. The color is not as uniform as Clear or Select. There will be some lighter and some darker pieces and depending on the width of the board, you may have that occurring on the same board.
No. 2 Common
No. 2 Common will have a lot of color variations of dark and light pieces from the heartwood and sapwood. There will be an abundance of knots and wormholes. This floor will have a much more rustic appearance than clear or select. The milling and natural faults of this grade will not be as clean and precise as the above grades.
View our #2 Common Red Oak
View our #2 Common White Oak
White Oak #1 Common
Cabin & Tavern Grades answer the question do you have “cheap oak floors”?
Cheap Oak Floors – Shorts aka micro shorts- While not technically a grade of flooring but worth noting. Shorts are exactly what that sounds like. Short pieces of flooring typically range from 6 inches to about 2-3 feet. While you will have some shorts in regular bundles (we call them spacers as they help in staggering the hardwood), when you order all shorts, the bundles will not contain any long pieces. Regardless of the grade of shorts, there will be A LOT of seams. As a general rule, we like to keep our stagger to every 6 inches at lease. Meaning that the butt joints from row to row will not be closer than 6 inches.