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Grade should not be confused with quality!

You can have a very high quality finished floor that’s made up of many different grades.

Grade defines how many natural features are allowed, Grade A having very few features and ‘defects’, so being clear and consistent, whilst the other Grades allow more and more natural variances such as knots, grain and colour variance.

Grades within any oak tree are mostly going to be C, D and below. Just look at any oak tree the next time you pass one and imagine what each plank will look like when sawn from it.

This means that the higher grades A and B are in limited supply (only around 30% of an oak tree will meet the requirements for these two grades), which is what makes a natural oak floor so beautiful when installed. No two boards are the same and it will contain lots of ‘oak-like’ features.

If you want a more clear floor with fewer natural features like knots, grain and colour variance, you may be able to choose one of our AB Select products, which are sometimes available within our engineered oak range in 15mm and 21mm thickness, and in various finishes. Availability of this grade mix is very limited however, so please contact us for more information.


Quality is what controls the actual quality of the products and the machining process used during production, which ultimately defines how well the flooring is made, and how well it performs within your home after installation.

Some companies will reduce quality just to appear as competitively priced but this is something that Oak Floors Online will never do. We believe that quality is of paramount importance when installing an oak floor because when doing so, you want to do it once not twice!


So remember;

  • Grade is what controls the finished appearance of oak flooring (what it looks like)
  • Quality is what controls its production and performance (how good it is)

The Different Grades We Use For Our Flooring

Grade A

  • Only approximately 10% of Grade A in any oak tree
  • Very few knots if any and no sapwood allowed
  • Clear and consistent grain pattern
  • Very few natural features
  • Slight colour difference allowed

Grade B

  • Only approximately 20-25% of Grade B available from any oak tree
  • Small, live knots allowed up to 15mm
  • More natural grain pattern and filled dead knots up to 15mm allowed
  • More natural features allowed
  • More natural colour difference allowed
  • Sapwood allowed up to 10% of face area

Grade C

  • This grade is more commonly available from within an oak tree
  • Bigger knots allowed, some repaired with filler before being sanded
  • More natural grain pattern allowed
  • More natural features allowed
  • More natural colour difference allowed
  • Sapwood allowed up to 15% of face area

Grade D

  • This grade is more commonly available from within an oak tree
  • Large knots allowed, some repaired with filler before being sanded
  • All natural grain pattern allowed
  • Most natural features allowed
  • Significant natural colour difference allowed
  • Sapwood allowed up to 30% of face area

Celtic Character Rustic

  • Contains all of the above grades and also some even lower grades
  • Lower grades allow open natural defects that are repaired with dark filler before being sanded and finished
  • All natural features allowed
  • All colour differences allowed
  • All sapwood variances allowed

Our AB Select Grade (always very limited availability: please contact us for more information)

  • Contains 80-90% Grades A and B but also some lower grade that includes boards with some filled knots and some sapwood. This is done with an aim of creating a natural oak-like appearance to the finished floor but without including so many features that it appears rustic and too ‘busy’.
  • We have introduced this grade mix to meet the demand for a more contemporary oak floor appearance, without as many features as our mixed grade, but still with sufficient to make sure it does not look like a laminate with no features at all.
  • The AB Select Grade can also be ‘site graded’ to further reduce the amount of natural features included but obviously an extra percentage needs to be ordered to allow for this.
  • The images below show the difference between our Mixed Grade on the left and our AB Select Grade on the right

189BNOMixed 189BNOABSelect(3)