What to expect from samples

We often receive requests from customers to send out hand samples of our products. While we are more than happy to oblige, it is important to understand the practicalities of samples when compared to seeing the product in person or via images and videos online. 

Don’t base your decision solely on hand samples

Hand samples can be excellent for gaining an understanding of profiles and dimensions, but have very limited use in assessing the overall quality and appearance of the product you are buying. As timber is a natural product, variation in colour, grain pattern and natural characteristics can be evident within lengths and from piece to piece. Only by looking at a larger amount of the material you are buying can you gain a full understanding of the overall appearance of the product. Silva endeavours to show representative images of the different products and grades on our website, but even this is no substitute for seeing the product before you buy.

Unpacking Videos - Watch us go through various packs of timber to demonstrate quality

If possible look at the material that you are buying

The source of the raw material will have some bearing on the quality of the end product. Different manufacturing mills have different quality standards, with some focusing on producing a high quality and more consistent product whilst others focus more on keeping the price low. The latter are more likely to make sacrifices by pushing the lower boundaries of the grades. In some cases, even the growing region has an influence on the quality of the end product. Although products may be described with the same grade name, they can be markedly different, therefore if possible always view the product you are buying.

How is it graded?

A timber grade is a minimum standard describing the extent and limitations of the characteristics permitted in a piece of timber having regard to the end use for which the grade is intended. Since no two pieces of timber are the same, complete uniformity in grades or shipments is impossible. Some of the pieces that fall within the grade will have fewer of the permitted characteristics and will therefore be at the upper level of the grade. On other pieces more of the permitted characteristics will be present and therefore will be at the lower level of the grade, understandably It is very difficult to show this variation through a small hand sample.


More detailed information about the grading classifications can be obtained from Silva Specify or by requesting information from our customer support team

Colour variation

Wood is a natural product which will vary in colour from piece to piece. Grading rules do not cover colour variation; therefore you should expect to receive pieces with a range of colour tones.


Please feel free to contact our customer support team on 0151 495 3111 (North) or 01895 271 300 (South) or email enquiries@silvatimber.co.uk should you wish to discuss any of these points further.