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Wood Grades

Born in nature, the beauty of our superior materials is that every single piece is unique. Find out what to expect from our various grades.

Smoked American Walnut timber kitchen joinery and cabinetry

VidaSpaces’ wood flooring is sourced from many different countries, each having different grading rules and industry standards. So, to make it easier for you, we have established our own definitions. And, since oak is by far the most popular species, we use this as an example of exactly what you can expect when you buy wooden flooring from us.

We show what is likely to be the “worst case” in terms of knot size and many individual planks will fall well within this. But please remember that since they are usually selected by eye, there is always scope for an occasional board to fall outside of these parameters. Part of the beauty of wood is that each and every plank is unique, so our criteria is merely a guide, given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge.

Please be aware that VidaSpace cannot accept rejection of an entire project on the basis of a small number of boards. We strongly advise that our projects should only be fitted by a competent installer who will, as a matter of course, remove any defects within the normal cutting allowance. We cannot accept rejection of any project once it has been laid.

Prime or Select Grade

Typically, prime grade has few, if any knots, and these will be of minimal size. There will also be a minimal amount of sapwood defects and filler, if any at all. Where filler is used its colour is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly, and the colour of the filler may vary from batch to batch. There will be a relatively small amount of colour variation in the timber itself.

prime grade timber

Light Character

Light Character Grade wood encompasses both the heartwood and sapwood of the tree. It has fewer and smaller knots than character grade but more than select grade. While there’s some heartwood and color variation, it’s generally more consistent in color across the batch. Checks, if any, are minimal, and any filler used is selected to blend nicely with the wood’s appearance, ensuring some color consistency, even if minor variations can occur between batches.

light character grade timber

Character Grade

Typically, character grade will include both heartwood and sapwood and allows a wider range of colour variation. Knots are larger and you should expect checks (cracks across the growth ring) and possibly some end shake (cracks between the rings). Filler will be used, the colour of which is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly, and it may vary from batch to batch.

character grade timber

Rustic Grade

Known as either natural or rustic grade this allows a virtually limitless size and number of knots. Heartwood will be used, there will be colour variation, sapwood and filler; you should also expect checks (cracks across the growth ring) and possibly some end shake (cracks between the rings). The colour of the filler is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly and it may vary from batch to batch.

rustic grade timber


Sapwood is the living part of the tree through which water and sap flow. It tends to be lighter in colour than the heartwood, and certain fuming, smoking and colouring processes emphasise it since it doesn’t react to these treatments to the same degree. By definition sapwood contains more moisture, however this is no cause for concern since all VidaSpaces’ timber has been carefully dried and its stability is ensured when supplied in an engineered form.

Smoked and white oiled timber finish

Smoked and White Oiled

Smoked and Natural Oiled

Smoked and Natural Oiled

natural oiled timber finish

Natural Oiled

Knots and Fillers

A knot is either the base of a side branch or a dormant bud around which the grain flows. A knot is sometimes replaced by filler and this may be of various colours: white, grey, brown and black are shown here.

white filler in timber

White Filler

grey filler in timber

Grey Filler

brown filler in timber

Brown Filler

black filler in timber

Black Filler

Medullary Rays, Checks and Shakes

These white, ribbon-like medullary rays are an indication that the plank has been crafted from quarter-sawn timber. Checks and shakes usually occur at the end of a board and may be cut off.

medullary rays checks and shakes in timber

If you have any questions about our delivery + returns policy please don't hesitate to contact us.