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The Different Grades of Hardwood Flooring

Not all hardwood floorings are the same. By this, we don’t mean the different types such as engineered or solid hardwood. We’re discussing the different grades allotted to hardwood floorings.

Hardwood flooring is divided in grades by the manufacturers on the basis of their appearance and characteristics. The purpose of grading is to address the aspects of strength and durability of the flooring and secondly, to determine the overall appearance depending on the features of the planks.

Not all homeowners are aware of this grading system. As a result, they might not get the right flooring option for their home. Therefore, to shed some light on this underrated differentiation of hardwood flooring, here are the different grades that are commonly used.

  • Prime Grade (AB)

Prime grade tops the list of grading system in hardwood flooring. Also known as AB grade, it is the best hardwood flooring as it features minimal colour variations, lesser knots and lower sap content. The boards of hardwood are cut from the centre of the log, thus giving a uniformed look to your floors. It is the highest-end grade of flooring, ideal for places that need a perfectly finished appearance on their floors.

  • Select Grade (ABC)

Select or ABC grade is the second-best grading of hardwood flooring. It features slightly lower characteristics compared to Prime grade. It contains natural attributes of wood such as small knots and minor colour variations and has longer average plank lengths. These slight milling imperfections can be removed by ordinary sanding. The planks of this grade don’t have finishing defects such as streaks, debris, chipping or blisters.

  • Natural Grade (ABCD)

Natural, ABCD, Millrun or #1 Common grade is known for more distinct colour variations and varying wood characters (such as spots, pinholes, streaks, knot holes or small splits) compared to Select grade. Bigger knots, more sap and slightly longer average plank length are some of the features of this grade. These minor imperfections cannot be completely removed by sanding. However, pinholes can be filled with coloured wood fillers for giving a smoother overall appearance.

  • Rustic Grade (CD)

Rustic, also referred to as #2 Common grade, show natural characteristics of wood and colour variations are common. Visible knots, pinholes, darker and lighter boards and shorter board length are the characteristics of Rustic grade hardwood flooring. This grade of flooring is ideal for residential purposes where homeowners want the raw texture of wooden flooring in their homes. There are increased chances of severe milling imperfections being visible such as rotten ends, deeply rooted dirt stains, split ends or shattered pieces.

  • Utility Grade (Cabin)

Utility grade, also known as Cabin or Tavern grade has the most visible characteristics and colour variations compared to all other grades. Defects such as machine burns, missing tongues, short pieces and splits are more noticeable. It is also the cheapest option available if you want hardwood flooring for your home on an extremely tight budget irrespective of the quality you get. While purchasing this grade of hardwood flooring, also be prepared for getting 20-25 percent of wasted material.

Consider these different types grade of your hardwood flooring before making your decision. These grades help out when sorting the best options in flooring materials so that you get what you need. Consult your flooring contractor for getting more details on the grading system.