Grades of Prefinished and Unfinished wood flooring and how they compare
When a log is milled into Hardwood flooring at the factory the wood is picked for grade (appearance). The better or more uniform the appearance the higher the grade. Both Prefinished Hardwood flooring and Unfinished wood flooring have similar grading but the names may be different depending on the manufacturer. Starting from the top, the Clear grade is the very best of grades having the most uniformity in color (within its wood species) and longest board lengths of up to 7 or 8 feet long (depending on the manufacturer). The lowest grade is the most economical in cost is called “Shorts” or “Cabin or Tavern” grades, which means there can be quite a bit of color variation between the boards and the board lengths, are about 8 – 34 inches long.
Other wood species—such as Maple—have their own grading rules. Manufacturers do have some degree of variance within standards and not all wood flooring manufacturers belong to the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association (NOFMA) They may use their own guidelines when manufacturing their Hardwood flooring.
Common Grading Names
Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
|Clear Grade: Is the very best hardwood flooring grade which has the most uniform color, longer lengths, virtually no blemishes or knots.||Clear Grade: Is the very best hardwood flooring grade with the most uniform color, longer, lengths, virtually no blemishes or knots.|
|Select & Better: Is the next best wood flooring grade with uniform color, longer lengths virtually no blemishes or knots.||Select & Better: Is the next best wood flooring grade very uniform color, longer lengths, virtually no blemishes or knots.|
|Select or Exclusive Grades: Boards starting to show the natural character such as lighter and darker boards, may have shorter board lengths, infrequent small pinholes and tiny knots possible.||#1 Common: Board starting to show the natural character such as lighter and darker boards, shorter board average, pinholes and knots are present.|
|Traditional, Antique, Character Grades: Boards show a lot of natural character such as light and dark boards, pinholes and knots possible, small checks allowed. Overall board lengths are shorter depending on style manufacturerd.||#2 Common or Rustic grade: Boards show a lot of natural Character such as light and dark boards, larger knots and checks allowed. Over all board lengths are shorter.|
|Tavern or Cabin Grade: Lower costing Hardwood Flooring that can show a lot of character such as light and dark boards, lengths of boards are shorter approx 24″ average. Pinholes and knots can be quite evident.||Utility Grade or Shorts: Boards show a lot of natural character such as light and dark boards, lengths of boards are extremely short approx 16″ average, knots and pinholes are quite evident.|
Review on the benefits of using solid wood flooring
- Lifespan anywhere from 80 to over 100 years.
- Due to its thickness, it can span slight differences in subfloor height without flexing when walked on.
- Produces a good solid floor structurally.
- Usually available in longer lengths than engineered flooring.
- Usually less expensive than a high end engineered flooring.
- Can be sanded and refinished multiple times if needed.
- Hardwood flooring is the only floor covering that increases the value of your home.
- Hardwood flooring does not cause allergies; recommended to use by allergists.
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