When you’re looking for the right type of wood for your hardwood floors, there are several factors to consider. Every type of wood has different characteristics. The grading of the wood is one of those factors. Although there isn’t a universal grading system, and each manufacturer has its own system, the wood grading system will always deal with the look and characteristics of the wood. So, let’s look at how the grade of wood attributes to the look of your floors.

Wood grading system

The grading system applies to the look and characteristics of the wood.

Universal grading system

It would be nice if there were a universal grading system that would count across the (floor) board. When it comes to domestic types of wood, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has created a grading system. But, when it comes to more exotic species, you’ll have to look at each manufacturer’s own grading system. Despite the many variants, the grading system will deal more with the look of the floor, and not so much on the strength and stability of the wood. Also, grading typically applies to pre, and site finished hardwood, not engineered wood.

Prefinished wood grades

The most common grading names you’ll come across when researching wood for our floors are clear grade, select grade, #1 common, #2 common, cabin grade, and shorts. When grading the wood, you are looking for uniformity in color, length, and visible knots and holes.

Clear and select grades

A clear grade is the type of wood that is most evenly colored, with few variants. The boards are all equal in length and show few knots, streaks, and wormholes. However, depending on the style of your floors, you may want to go for a lower grade type of wood to give you floors more characteristics.

Common and cabin grades

Choosing wood grade

Clear and select wood grades have fewer color variances and show few knots and holes for a more even look.

If you’re going for a more rustic and reclaimed look for your floors, look at the common grades of wood. Just because they vary in color and show a few natural characteristics doesn’t mean that the quality isn’t just as great at the clear grade. It’s all about the style and the look that you like.

Unfinished wood grades

If you’re shopping for unfinished hardwood, you’ll notice the grading system is a little different. You still have the clear and select grade at the top of the list regarding uniformity in color and length, but there are a few new categories to look at, like country/exclusive grade, traditional and antique, and tavern/cabin grades. All grades are named to give you an idea of the characteristics of the wood, and the style of flooring you’ll get with each grade.

Hardwood flooring showroom in Denver

To check out the variations in grades of hardwood and unfinished hardwood, stop by our showrooms. You can also schedule a free consultation with a hardwood flooring expert to understand the differences. Our craftsman will gladly help you find the perfect wood grade for your flooring project.