Understanding Wood Flooring Character Grades

Understanding Wood Flooring Character Grades

You’ve decided you want new wood floors. With so many choices, it’s tough to choose a style, and things like character grade are confusing as you look at wood flooring. In this article, we’ll look at understanding wood flooring character grades and how they help in the decision process.

What Are Character Grades?

Each species of wood is trademarked by its color, knots, and grain. Wood also has other natural effects from living as a tree, such as wormholes and mineral deposits. Those traits are desirable when seeking a natural or rustic style. However, sometimes a not-so-natural appearance is desired. That’s how character grading helps. Character grades tell the consumer or distributor what to expect to see when the wood is laid as a floor.

The Different Grades

To understand wood flooring character grades, let’s look at the five grades used.

The Select/Prime Character Grade

A clear grade tells us the cut of wood is uniform and clear of any markings. These cuts are sometimes expensive because of their consistency. Clear grade is also referred to as a premium cut. If you are considering flooring with no blemishes, very few knots, and a smooth look, then clear grade is what you should look for.

The Select and Better Character Grade

Select grade is not far off from clear grade. There is a knot or hole here and there, but few and far between. It’s the perfect option if you want a uniform appearance that’s a bit more interesting than clear grade.

The #1 Common and Better/Character Grade

The #1 common character grade brings a natural feel to your wood flooring choice. You’ll see some swirls, less uniformity, a few more knots and holes, and an overall natural appearance without the floor overwhelmingly taking over the room. #1 common is a great choice to bring out the beauty of wood without making it the focal point.

The #2 & 3 Common/Character Grade

If you seek a natural style that allows the wood to show off its beauty, consider the #2 & 3 common/character grade. Also known as rustic or cabin grade, the wood has open character, such as open, pin, or large knots, splits, and even early stages of rot. The wood’s natural beauty shines through while integrity and style are maintained. At this grade, we see variation in color shades, dark streaks from mineral deposits, and an all-around rustic feeling.

Choosing the Right Character Grade

The grade chosen is a personal choice. Take these thoughts into consideration:

  • Cost
  • Style of home
  • Maintenance
  • Color choices
  • Traffic areas or room usage

Thankfully, there are many choices and a character grade for every home.

As you consider new flooring, keep in mind that engineered hardwood flooring gives you a real wood option with less maintenance and greater durability, no matter the character grade. At From the Forest, we offer beautiful wood flooring options, such as walnut engineered flooring, along with several other wood species. Browse our online store or contact us for more information on wood floors and character grades.

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