What To Know About Grades For Finished Hardwood Flooring Material

Have you decided that you want finished hardwood flooring installed for your home? If so, you may not know that there are actually different grades of this type of hardwood material. Wood is a natural product, so it is going to have natural defects that set one piece of wood apart from another, which is why it is assigned a grade. Here is what you need to know about these grades when you select your hardwood flooring material.

Know Who Sets The Grade

Hardwood flooring material grading is not performed by an independent party. While the criteria is set by the National Wood Flooring Association, it is up to each mill to categorize the wood that they manufacture. While mills always try to create the best quality hardwood flooring that they can, there are problems that come up in the manufacturing process that create different qualities of wood. 

Know The Basic Grades of Flooring Material 

The grades of hardwood flooring material can be broken down into two types of categories, even if they are not always called the same thing from each mill. 

Premium Grade

Any hardwood described as premium or first quality is going to be the highest grade of hardwood flooring materials you can find. These pieces of wood are going to be free of knots, splits, and mineral streaks, which are natural occurrences that you will find in most pieces of wood. This ensures that if you are buying premium grade hardwood that is going to look very unified and pristine across the entire floor when it is finished. 

Natural Grade

The mills that make hardwood flooring material do not dispose of these pieces of wood that have flaws and are not good enough for premium grade quality flooring material. They are actually going to cut these defects out of the wood and use those pieces for lower grades of hardwood floor material, such as natural grade. This is sometimes referred to as cabin grade material, because it is what you would expect to use in a rustic looking cabin. 

Some people like the natural occurrences that make up natural grade wood and actually seek it out. For example, knots can give hardwood flooring character and break up the pattern across the surface. This can make a floor look very unique compared to first quality flooring material. 

Splits can happen in pieces of wood during the manufacturing process as the wood is being dried out. The wood fibers will actually pull apart, causing the wood to split slightly. These pieces of wood are completely stable and acceptable to be used in hardwood flooring material.