Wood Species

Download a helpful chart to compare wood species according to cost, hardness, application and other factors.
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Wood is strong, easily harvested, 100% renewable, thermally efficient, acoustically calming, cost effective, easy to transform into virtually any shape, and always in harmony with its surroundings. It offers such a pleasing indoor temperature and ambiance that one instantly feels at ease in a room with wood features. Wood doors open with a warm welcome. Wood mouldings provide just the right accent to the home’s dècor—bringing each room of the house together into one great whole. And wood flooring is comfortable to the feet, both in winter and in summer.

Sun Mountain’s doors, mouldings, and wood beams are available in 20 wood species, including both domestic and exotic hardwoods and softwoods. Sun Mountain’s wide plank flooring is available in eight wood species. Many species can be further designated by “grade,” such as “knotty” (sometimes called “character”) or “select” (clear, with few or no knots). In addition, unique effects can be achieved on certain species by special “cuts” of the logs, such as “rift” and “quarter” cuts.

To learn more about grades and cuts of wood, click the links below:

Grades of Wood
Cuts of Wood

Available Wood Species

Wood species available from Sun Mountain include:

Alder Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Alder

Alnus rubra

Alder is a relatively soft hardwood with a grain pattern similar to Cherry. The color is uniform and varies slightly from reddish-brown to light tan or honey. Knotty alder has a rustic, rugged look; knots are random in size, quantity and location. Open, star, and split knots are common. Alder accepts stain and finishes very well. Janka hardness: 590.

Knotty Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain No n/a

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain No n/a
Ash Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Ash, Northern White

Fraxinus americana

Northern White Ash is valued for its strength, hardness, heavy weight, and elasticity (shock resistance). Its use in wooden baseball bats and tool handles is famous. The wood is straight-grained with clear white to pale yellow sapwood and light to medium brown heartwood tones. Because of its hardness and light color, Northern White Ash is a very difficult wood to stain. However, its natural color is stunningly beautiful. Janka hardness: 1320.

Beech Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

European Steamed Beech is a hardwood with exceptional color uniformity and texture. Trees are harvested larger than most other hardwoods, which allows for larger board widths and greater flexibility. The lumber is close-grained, wear resistant, and machines and finishes well. The lumber is steamed to a consistent tan color and is typically free from knots and other defects. Janka hardness: 1300.

Birch Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Birch, Yellow

Betula alleghaniensis

Birch is among the most featureless of North American hardwoods, although it has a natural, pleasing figure. The sapwood ranges from pale white to creamy yellow, while the heartwood tends to be a light-reddish brown with a red tinge. Occasionally, boards may show curly or wavy figuring. It is hard and stiff, with excellent shock-resistance. Janka hardness: 1260.

Cedar Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Cedar, Spanish (Pin-Knot)

Cedrela odorata

Spanish Cedar is a softwood with a grain pattern similar to Mahogany. Traditionally used in humidors, it is prized for its resistance to insect attacks and rot, and is an excellent choice for exterior doors. Color varies slightly from reddish-brown to light pink. Knots tend to be small and pin-like; larger dark brown or black pitch marks and streaks are also common. Janka hardness: 600.

Cherry Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Cherry

Prunus serotine

Cherry is a hardwood with rich color and a flowing grain pattern. The fine, satiny texture of the wood is uniform and frequently wavy, with distinctive gum veins and pockets. The lustrous heartwood ranges from light to dark reddish brown, contrasting sharply with the sapwood, which may be light brown to pale with a light pinkish tone; however, between boards there may be significant color variations. Small gum spots, pin knots, and mineral streaks are characteristic. Cherry is extremely light-sensitive, and darkens significantly with age and intensity due to sunlight exposure. Janka hardness: 950.

Knotty Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 8"

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 8"
Hickory Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Hickory

Carya

Hickory is a dense hardwood with extremely high shock resistance. The heartwood is tan or reddish, with the sapwood a beautiful contrasting creamy white. Checking is relatively common in Hickory, and the relative density makes it difficult to take a stain well. It is most beautiful with a clear, natural finish. Janka hardness: 1970.

Knotty Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"
Lyptus Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Lyptus®

Eucalyptus grandis x Eucalyptus urophylla

Lyptus® hardwood has a density similar to Hickory or Maple with surface qualities similar to Mahogany. Color is relatively consistent from dark pink to a deep red. Lyptus® is a "green" hardwood; it is only grown and harvested on renewable plantations, making it completely self-sustainable and environmentally responsible. Janka hardness: 1800.

Mahogany Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Mahogany, African

Khaya ivorensis

African Mahogany is a hardwood with an interlocked or straight grain, often with a ribbon figure, and a moderately coarse texture. Color ranges from creamy-white sapwood to reddish brown heartwood, often with a purple cast. The species is moderately heavy and hard with medium bending and crushing strength, low stiffness and shock resistance, moderate decay resistance, and good stability. African Mahogany is available only with a Quarter cut. Janka hardness: 840.

Maple

Maple, Hard

Acer saccharum

Hard Maple is a very strong hardwood with a closed, subdued grain and a uniform texture. The sapwood is a lovely creamy white, while the heartwood ranges from creamy white to light reddish brown. Unless otherwise specified, figuring such as curly, birds-eye, quilted, or fiddleback is slight. Due to its light color and durability, Hard Maple is a popular choice for a "contemporary" look. Because it is so dense, it does not take stain well. Janka hardness: 1440.

Maple

Maple, Soft

Acer rubrum

Soft Maple is a hardwood with a straight, close grain pattern and a fine, even texture. Colors may vary significantly—from a creamy white sapwood to a beige or tan-colored heartwood, with green or very dark brown streaks. It is strong and stiff, but has a relatively low shock resistance. Its even texture renders it suitable for painted applications, and it is more durable than Poplar for exterior applications. Janka hardness: 940.

Maple

Maple, Wormy

Acer rubrum

Wormy Maple (sometimes called “Ambrosia Maple”) is a grade of Soft Maple, specifically selected and sorted to show mineral streaks and color variations caused by the Ambrosia beetle. The beetle infests the live Maple tree, depositing larvae that bore small “worm holes” and discolor the wood. No two boards are alike. Colors and patterns vary significantly from a creamy white sapwood to a beige or tan-colored heartwood, with green or very dark brown streaks near small worm holes. The wood is strong and stiff, but has a relatively low shock resistance. Wormy Maple is common in fine, hand-crafted furniture, guitars, and ornamental turning. Janka hardness: 940.

Oak

Oak, Red

Quercus rubra

A hardwood chosen primarily for its prominent open grain pattern. Some color variation from reddish tan to medium brown is possible. Occasional pin knots and mineral streaks are also characteristic. Red Oak is relatively heavy in weight and exhibits high shock resistance. It accepts stain readily and finishes well. Janka hardness: 1290.

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 8"

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$$ Rift & Quarter Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 8"
White Oak Wood

Oak, White

Quercus alba

A dense hardwood with a white to cream to light brown color. The grains of White Oak tend to be longer than Red Oak, which makes the species prized for construction of "Mission" style furniture and woodwork. White Oak is very durable, exhibits high shock resistance and finishes well. White Oak stains well, although contact with metal will result in a dark stain in the wood. In addition to the normal Flat cut, select grade White Oak can be cut with a Rift cut, a Quarter cut, or a combination of Rift and Quarter cuts. Janka hardness: 1360.

Knotty Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$$$ Rift Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$$$ Quarter Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$$$ Rift & Quarter Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"
Pine Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Pine

Pinus

Pine is a softwood with a relatively straight grain pattern. The sapwood is usually light yellowish-white to yellowish-tan, while the heartwood is light orange-yellow to red or yellowish-brown in color. Pine is light in weight and relatively low in shock resistance. Knots are tight and sound; the quantity varies depending on the grade of lumber selected. Janka hardness: 380.

Knotty Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain No n/a

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain No n/a
Poplar Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Poplar

Populus

Poplar is a hardwood with a relatively straight grain and a fine, even texture. Color varies significantly from creamy-white to green, to brown, to purple. Poplar is relatively soft and light with low ratings for strength and shock resistance. Due to variations in color and density, it does not stain consistently; however, it is an excellent choice for a painted finish. Janka hardness: 430.

Sapele Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Sapele

Entandrophragma cylindricum

Native to tropical Africa, Sapele is reminiscent of Mahogany with a distinctive grain figure. It has excellent density and is sought after for flooring due to its durability and beautiful graining. This wood has been used by car maker Cadillac for vehicle interior wood trim and accents. Sapele is available only with a Quarter cut. Janka hardness: 1500.

Walnut Wood None (Unfinished) Sample

Walnut

Juglans nigra

Walnut hardwood has beautiful, distinct differences in color between the nearly white sapwood and the heartwood, which ranges from a deep, rich, almost chocolate brown to a purplish black. The species often has a purplish cast with dark streaks. The grain of Walnut is mostly straight and open, although some boards may have a grain pattern that is burled or curly. The wood surface is generally fairly dull, though it may develop a lustrous patina after many years in use. Janka hardness: 1010.

Knotty Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"

Select Grade

Price Cuts Interior Doors Exterior Doors Flooring Flooring Width
$$$$ Flat Yes, Stain Yes, Stain Yes 3" to 9"
Reclaimed Barnwood (Weathered Face) Unfinished

Reclaimed Barnwood (Weathered Face)

Quercus rubra, Quercus alba

Sourced from old buildings, barns, and granaries, Reclaimed Barnwood (Weathered Face) is a mix of Red and White Oak. Its distinctive antique look includes both textured and planed surfaces, unusual grain patterns, saw-tooth etchings, nail holes, insect scarring and other distinguishing character marks. This product offers the superior strength and stability of old-growth wood without the environmental cost. Janka hardness: 1290.

Reclaimed Barnwood (Smooth Face) Unfinished

Reclaimed Barnwood (Smooth Face)

Quercus rubra, Quercus alba

Sourced from old buildings, barns, and granaries, Reclaimed Barnwood (Smooth Face) is a mix of Red and White Oak. Boards are planed to a smooth surface, removing sawtooth etchings and the weathered patina. While the underlying wood is revealed, nail holes, insect scarring, and other character marks are preserved. This product offers the superior strength and stability of old-growth wood without the environmental cost. Janka hardness: 1290.

Grades of Wood

Sun Mountain generally offers two grades of wood—Knotty grade and Select grade.

KNOTTY GRADE (SOMETIMES CALLED “CHARACTER” OR “RUSTIC”)

Key features of Knotty grade include:

  • Lumber grades #1 Common, #2 Common, Rustic, Premium Frame, Frame, Custom Shop, #1 Shop, Finish Common, and Premium Common
  • Large open knots, star knots, and sound knots

Please note that for Sun Mountain’s Knotty grade, no door has too many or too few knots. No door has knots that are too large or too small. Depending on individual knot structure, knots may not be patch filled, may be partially filled, or may be filled flush at Sun Mountain’s discretion. Typically knots will be filled only when needed and as much as needed to prevent light or core from showing through the product.

Quantity and size of knots will be typical of the species of wood. For example, knots in Alder are numerous but generally small cracks or star-shaped knots, while knots in Cherry are fewer in number but are much larger and typically open knots.

SELECT GRADE

Key features of Select grade include:

  • Lumber grades FAS, Superior, F1F, Select & Better, C Select, and D Select
  • Sound knots and star knots

Select grade does not include:

  • Knots larger than a quarter
  • More than four knots per stile
  • Edge knots

Please note that for Sun Mountain’s Select grade, all open knots are patch-filled flush. Sun Mountain does not grade for color; heartwood and sapwood may both be used in millwork products.

EXCEPTIONS TO SUN MOUNTAIN GRADES OF WOOD

Several exceptions to Sun Mountain’s definition of grades of wood exist. For example, Spanish Cedar (Pin-Knot) is mostly clear, but millwork products will contain several small (i.e., smaller than a dime) closed knots scattered over the face of the product. Small, dark black pitch marks are also common. Sun Mountain classifies this wood species as Knotty grade.

In addition, Wormy Maple is mostly free of knots, but millwork products will contain natural worm holes and associated streaks of variegated color throughout. Sun Mountain classifies this as Knotty grade.

GUIDELINES FOR GRADES OF WOOD

Most hardwood lumber in the United States and Canada is graded according to rules established by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA). NHLA grading is based on the size and number of clear “cuttings” that can be obtained from a board when it is cut and used for various products such as furniture or flooring. The higher grades require wider and longer cuttings of clear wood (limited or no knots) than the lower grades. In most situations, lower grades are a more economical choice than the higher grades. Different grading schemas are used depending on wood species. Below are common grades purchased by Sun Mountain, by wood species.

ALDER
  • Superior: Minimum 4-1/2″ width, 83% clear one face
  • Rustic: Minimum 5″ width, 83% sound
  • Premium Frame: Minimum 4″ width, 83% sound
  • Custom Shop: Minimum 4-1/2″ width, 67% clear one face
  • Frame: Minimum 4″ width, 67% sound
CHERRY, HICKORY, MAPLE, RED OAK, WHITE OAK, AND WALNUT
  • FAS (First & Seconds): Minimum 6″ width, 83% clear both faces
  • F1F (First 1 Face): Minimum 6″ width, 83% clear one face, 67% clear other face
  • #1 Common: Minimum 3″ width, 67% clear both faces
  • #2 Common: Minimum 3″ width, 50% clear
PINE
  • C-Select: Minimum 3″ width, maximum (1) 1/2″ knot per four feet
  • D-Select: Minimum 3″ width, maximum (1) 1/2″ knot per one foot
  • Finish Common: No minimum width, knot size limited to 25% width of board
  • Premium Common: No minimum width, knot size limited to 50% width of board
  • Standard Common: No Minimum width, knot size limited to 60% width of board (typically used in construction framing)

CUTS OF WOOD

Flat Cut Illustration

White Oak Wood
Flat Cut Select White Oak

FLAT CUT

The Flat Cut (sometimes called “Plain Sawn” or “Plain Slice”) is the most common method of sawing logs. This method provides the widest boards and least waste and is, therefore, the most economical. The Flat Cut is obtained by making the first saw cut on a tangent to the circumference of the log and the remaining cuts parallel to the first. Flat Cut lumber is easily recognized by its cathedral or Gothic arch effect on the face of the board, with wide grain patterns and end grain with semi-circles.

Quarter Cut Illustration

OakWhiteSelectQS
Quarter-Sawn Select White Oak

Quarter-Sawn

Quarter-Sawn lumber (sometimes called “Quarter-Cut”) is produced by first quartering the log and then sawing it perpendicular to the growth rings. All of the boards are thus cut of radial grain, with the growth rings positioned at between 60- and 90-degree angles to the face of the board. The Quarter-Sawn cut splits the medullary ray of the wood, causing a beautiful plumed or flared appearance referred to as “rays” or “flecks,” often appearing shiny or reflective.

Rift Cut Illustration

OakWhiteSelectRS
Rift-Sawn Select White Oak

Rift-Sawn

Rift-Sawn lumber is similar to Quarter-Sawn, but with the angle of the cut changed slightly so that fewer saw cuts are parallel to the medullary rays, which are responsible for the flake effect. This positions the growth rings between 30- and 60-degree angles to the face of the board. Thus Rift-Sawn lumber accentuates the vertical grain and minimizes the flake common in Quarter-Sawn. Rift-Sawn lumber produces an almost straight grain with practically no flake figure.