Home / Home Interior / All About Oak Flooring: Grades, Types, and Factors to Consider

All About Oak Flooring: Grades, Types, and Factors to Consider

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Oak is a type of hardwood used in construction, particularly as flooring. The wood comes in different types, grades, and grain. All these elements affect the durability, appearance, and resilience of the flooring. In today’s post, we are walking you through the different types of oak flooring as well as grades and grains to consider:

Types of Oak Flooring Grades

Prime Grade

As the name implies, the prime grade (also known as Select or A B Grade) is the highest grade of oak flooring. A prime grade oak flooring has low knot content and features uniform color variation. The grain is slightly straighter than lower grade flooring of its kind. The flooring contains very little and very few knots or character marks. Because prime grade oak flooring always has limited stocks, it is the most expensive of all oak flooring types.

Natural Grade

Natural grade refers to oak wood with a middle timber grade. The knot content is more frequent and larger compared to prime grade oak wood. Natural grade oak flooring also features some color variation and traces of mineral streaking. The wood also hints of grain pattern that’s more noticeable than those seen from a prime grade oak flooring.

Millrun Grade

Millrun grade oak flooring is a mix of natural and premier grades flooring. It features all the best characteristics of oak wood, including the color variation and slight mineral streaking.

Rustic Grade

Also known as Character, rustic grade oak flooring features prominent color variation, brown streaks, and unlimited burls. The wood also features open or filled knots in different sizes as well as wormholes. The color patterns of rustic grade flooring are usually vibrant. Heavy markings and figuring are displayed prominently. Of all oak flooring grades, the rustic grade is the most affordable. The wood is very durable and can withstand everyday wear and tear effortlessly.

Oak Flooring Types: White or Red?

Red oak features a slight pinkish tint than white oak. This flooring is also lighter with a red undertone that becomes deeper when stained. On the other hand, white oak is heavier and with prominent yellow undertones.


As far as the graining goes, red oak features more prominent grains than white oak. The graining adds character to the wood. White oak has a smoother, more uniformed appearance because the grains are less prominent. White oak also features obvious mineral streaks.


Between the two types of oak flooring, white oak is slightly harder than red oak. On the Janka hardness scale, red oak scores 1290 while white oak scores 1360. Because red oak is not as hard as white oak, it is more prone to dents and nicks.

Water Resistance

Apart from being harder, white oak is also more resistant to moisture compared to red oak. The grain of white oak is close or finer so water cannot penetrate as easily. Also, the pores can be plugged with tyloses to make the wood even more resistant to rot or decay. This makes white oak an excellent material for boat building.

Facebook Fan Page

Be first to get an exclusive and helpful articles every day! Like us on Facebook