Hardwood floor grades

Wood grade indicates a color variations and characteristics in general appearance of any hardwood floor. It is not an indicator of durability, though. In other words, it doesn’t mean that lower graded hardwood floor will be not that durable or will last not that long as a higher graded product. Different types of hardwood floor have their own grades. Because of huge variety of species with their unique characteristics, as well as hardwood floor manufacturers import their unique products throughout the world. It is nearly impossible to make a general classification in appearance when it comes to the hardwood floor. For better understanding we divided grades of hardwood floor into five different categories.

1 Clear or prime grade of hardwood floor

The most uniform hardwood flooring with almost invisible character marks. Usually, this grade contains longer pieces with uniformed color and without defects. The waste factor is very low. It is the most expensive option, but the best characteristics of appearance.

2 Select, standard and better or first grade

This grade of hardwood floor has presence of natural characteristics and slight variations in color. It is also a highest rank for some species due to its appearance.

3 Natural, standard, #1 common, or second grade

Hardwood floor has some knots and splits with very visible grain and color variations.

4 Rustic, #2 common or third grade

Hardwood floor contain variety of natural wood characteristics and manufacturing imperfection. Wood has open knots, splits and some other defects.

5 Utility, cabin or tavern grade

This grade contains wood with major defects such as missing tongues, deep and open knots and splits, pieces of hardwood usually small. Different manufacturers have their own standards for utility grade, but usually it comes with no warranty and no returns. This grade of hardwood floor is getting popularity in recent years mainly because of its low price. Tavern grade hardwood floor will be 30%- 60% cheaper than rustic grade, but factor of waste should be considered as priority while buying this grade.

Categories 2 and 3 are the most common and will have the best value if compare price and appearance of the product. It might be a question “why select grade is in one category with first grade, are they the same?” The answer is different species and types of hardwood floor graded differently. The standard grade of prefinished oak will be equivalent to the second grade of unfinished maple or #1 common grade of unfinished oak.

Some imported exotic hardwood floor species might have their own grades as well. Before buying such hardwood floor materials it is better to get necessary information about it directly from a retailer or manufacturer.