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Different Oak Grades Explained

Posted in Railway Sleeper News by Admin on August 12th 2015

In the United Kingdom, oak is graded based on its quality, type and colour variation. Certain oak grades can help you choose the wood that will best suit your needs. Oak grades include:

a)      Premier or Prime Grade

Also called FAS, it is the highest grade of oak with low knot content. Approximately 83% of the board is oak, providing a clean, uniformed look. Premier or prime oak grades come from a different mix of boards, including clear and free from knots, occasional tight knot and large or loose knot. Due to limitation of supplies, FAS usually costs higher than the other grades of oak.

b)      Natural Grade

This is the middle oak grade. It has more frequent and slightly larger knots compared to prime oak grade. Natural grade displays some colour variations and grain patterns and has a slightly longer average plank length compared to rustic grade products.

c)       Rustic Grade

This is a grade full of character and excitement. 67% of the board is considered free from knots. It contains vibrant colour patterns and variations, displaying a variety of knot sizes, colours, shapes, markings and figures. Rustic oak grade is cheaper than prime oak grade, although it is almost of the same quality, stability and properties.

d)      Antique Grade

With 50% knot on the board, this grade comes with different degrees of knot including multiple small tight knots, multiple larger knots and loose knots and a concentrated area of multiple knots. Antique grade suits people who like a floor with character, but are looking for a more economical flooring option.

e)      Millrun Grade

This grade is a combination of prime and natural, containing the characteristics of the two. It costs lower than prime grade.

Identifying the type of oak grade that you need can help you to maximise on the benefits that you can get from the material.

Railway Sleeper, one of the leading providers of oak railway sleepers in the UK, offers a wide range of oak products. To enquire, please call +44 (0) 1536-267-107 or send an email at

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