Ralph's Blog

Does your floor make the grade? - Defining wood floor grades

Posted on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 16:07 PM

You've done some researching on line and you have found all this discussion about wood grades and quite frankly you are now confused. Don't feel bad, the wood flooring industry has made it very confusing. Each manufacturer has come up with their own way to name the grades and in the mean time it has gotten confusing. 

So, what is a grade? 

In school, you get graded with A, B, C, D, and F's.   Everyone knows that when you are graded in school, the higher the grade, the better you did.  Is it logical to assume that the "higher" the grade of hardwood, the better the hardwood would be?

Actually, no. With hardwood flooring, grade is not a matter of quality—it’s a matter of uniformity. The higher the grade, the more uniform the floor will look and the less natural characteristics of the wood will appear.

So if you’re going for a formal, sleek appearance, a higher grade may be your best choice. But if you’re after a casual look—as many people are—then lower grades could work best for you. 

First Grade or Clear Grade

The higher grade is cleaner and contemporary, without a lot of color variation and with longer boards than other grades. It has the occasional small black mineral streak.


Second Grade or Select Grade

This is the  most popular grade because of its blend of color variation and mild character.

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Third Grade or Common Grade

This grade allows color variation, smaller knots, mineral streaks, and shorter boards. It is a great value floors and creates a more-casual feel with the natural characteristics of wood coming through.

3rd Grade Resized to email

Character or Rustic

Milled for tight knots, mineral streaks, color variation, and longer boards, this grade is a perfect choice for lots of natural character.

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Don't get confused or worried about the name of grade. Find a look that fits you and your lifestyle. The best way to see the different grades is a trip to our showroom where you can see large sections of floors in the different grades.

Ralph's Essential Guide to Selecting the Perfect Hardwood Floor

Topics: custom hardwood flooring, about hardwood floors, picking the right floor for your lifestyle

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