Skip to content
Browse products


Natural variation in the colour of your wood flooring is what sets it apart from synthetic materials such as laminates and other flooring options that attempt to imitate real wood. Its uniqueness is one of the many reasons real wood is so sought after as a flooring material.

Vintage Grey engineered oak herringbone flooring in listed Clifton home

Why we love to see natural variation in wood flooring

The tonal variation between each board is part of the natural appearance of real wood flooring. Its visual charm and authenticity is inimitable — a key reason why hardwood is such a desirable flooring choice.

A skilled floor fitter will always take colour variation into account during installation, ensuring that the varied tones of the wood are mixed in sympathetically to elegantly display them across the floor.

Why does the colour of wood vary?

Put simply, the colour of wood varies because it's a natural product. Every tree is unique, and wood colouration will vary depending on many factors: the soil it grew from, the local climate, when the tree was felled, and how it was processed. The way in which boards are sanded can make a big difference to the results of the finishes we apply, so it's vital the boards are all prepared in exactly the way at the start of the finishing process.

Unfinished Engineered Oak Flooring showing natural colour variation
Natural colouration of unfinished Bristol Tectonic® Oak planks

Each plank has a different grain pattern — as unique as a fingerprint — and whether it has lots of open grain or tighter grain structure will affect the way in which the finish we apply changes the look of the wood.

Also, where sapwood (the younger wood at the outer section of the log) is present, you will see wood which is naturally much lighter in tone. Whilst we limit the amount of this in line with our grading criteria, some sapwood is included as an attractive natural characteristic of your wood flooring.

Brushed Milky Coffee Oak Flooring in barn conversion project

COLOUR variATION and your samples: What to Expect

When we send out samples of our wood flooring, we are giving you the best representation of the colouration you can expect from your flooring. That said, you shouldn’t expect your entire floor to look exactly the same as the sample swatch — there will always be a tolerance of expected variation due to the way the finish will appear when applied to boards of varying tones and differing grains.

Just as every tree is unique, every batch of wood flooring will be slightly different and each board will accept stains and coloured oils in different ways. This is why, wherever possible, we pre-finish our timber to order using boards from within the same batches of material.

image showing natural variation in oak flooring

Choose Prime Grade for Less Variation

More consistent colouration can be found in our Prime Grade flooring, which is selected out for less colour variance and characterful features. However, even the highest grades of wood flooring will have some degree of colour variation as it is, after all, a natural product.

Prime Grade Linen oak flooring in Wimbledon conservatory

Variation in Wood Flooring: Seeing the Bigger Picture

We always recommend that our clients visit our showroom if they can and see our sample boards on a larger scale to appreciate the tonal variety within every finish.

Alternatively, a combination of our free samples and our website project gallery should allow you to fully imagine how your floor will look in your intended space. We have some great project imagery which show the natural colour variation in our wood flooring.