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Grading Scale (grading rules ) for Hardwood Flooring,inspection,quality control,sourcing,factory auditing,manufacturing,assurance,buying guide,graders,inspectors

Grading Scale (grading rules ) for Hardwood Flooring,inspection,quality control,sourcing,factory auditing,manufacturing,assurance,buying guide,graders,inspectors

Grading Scale for Hardwood Flooring
Flooring Grades and Types, Frequently Asked Questions

Unfinished Solid Hardwood Flooring

Select and Better Grade
Select and Better Grade Hardwood Flooring contains extremely slight variations in color created by the minor differentiating contrasts of heartwood and sapwood. Our Select and Better Grade is processed to NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) Rules allowing exceptionally negligible character marks (less than 3%) yet is known to be extremely predictable in overall color and grain variety throughout the entire wood flooring giving a spotless appearance. Hickory and Maple, Select and Better Grade, wood flooring will have clean heartwood and sapwood with an allowable 5% of small, tight knots, and short mineral streaks. Walnut, Select & Better Grade, will be mostly heartwood but will contain some sapwood. Almost completely free of knots and mineral streaks.

Hardwood Floor Depot works solely with NWFA Certified Manufacturers that start the milling process with wood that is kiln dried for 30 days between 180 – 350 degrees giving more prominent strength and quality to our material. Normally bundled in 1′-7′ Random Lengths with an average board length of 3′-3 1/2′ long, we also offer Longer Length boards, per request, which come with a Higher than Average Board Length.The flooring will have a four-sided tongue and groove for ease of installation.

*** Recommended waste factor for this grade is between 8%-10% ***

#1 Common Grade
#1 Common Grade Hardwood Flooring contains some small variations in coloration from board to board produced by the contrasting differences of heartwood and sapwood. #1 Common Grade also has some small knots and mineral streaks sporadic throughout the hardwood flooring. This flooring has a slight “Character” look to the overall appearance. Our #1 Common Grade is processed to NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) Rules allowing a slight difference in coloration between each board produced by the contrasting differences of heartwood, sapwood, small tight knots, and short mineral streaks sporadic within the wood flooring. Hickory and Maple, #1 Common Grade, wood flooring allows for more variation of color between heartwood and sapwood with small to medium sized knots and mineral streaking. Walnut, #1 Common Grade, will be have a greater ratio of heartwood to sapwood with a better percentage of sapwood included than the Select and Better Grade. Walnut #1 Common will also include small to medium knots and mineral streaks.

Hardwood Floor Depot works solely with NWFA Certified Manufacturers that start the milling process with wood that is kiln dried for 30 days between 180 – 350 degrees giving more prominent strength and quality to our material. Normally bundled in 1′-7′ Random Lengths with an average board length of 3′-3 1/2′ long, we also offer Longer Length boards, per request, which come with a Higher than Average Board Length.The flooring will have a four-sided tongue and groove for ease of installation.

*** Recommended waste factor for this grade is between 8%-10% ***

#2 Common Grade
#2 Common Grade Hardwood Flooring will have a more overall “Rustic” look than higher grades. This grade will contain natural variations including small to big knots, an allowable small percentage of pocket knots (easily remedied using matching wood filler), small to large mineral streaking, prominent color variations from board to board between heartwood and sapwood. This grade of wood flooring has a more prominent character/rustic look to the overall appearance.

Hardwood Floor Depot works solely with NWFA Certified Manufacturers that start the milling process with wood that is kiln dried for 30 days between 180 – 350 degrees giving more prominent strength and quality to our material. #2 Common Grade is normally bundled in 1′-7′ Random Lengths with the average board length between 22″-24″ in length. The flooring will have a four-sided tongue and groove for ease of installation.

*** Recommended waste factor for this grade is between 12%-15% ***

Character Grade
Hardwood Floor Depot also offers a “Character Grade” Unfinished Solid Hardwood Flooring that is bundled in 2′-10′ Random Lengths. This grade of wood flooring is great if you are looking for a beautiful wide width, long length flooring for your project. Our “Character Grade” hardwood flooring has a longer average board length than even our Select & Better Grade flooring. The material comes in 2′-10′ random lengths and has an average board length of 5′-5 1/2′ long.

This grade of flooring is best described as an “80/20” mix of our #1 Common Grade being approximately 80% and approximately 20% of our #2 Common Grade. As stated above, #1 Common Grade contains variations in coloration from board to board, small, tight, knots, and minor mineral streaks sporadically contained throughout the flooring. #2 Common Grade contains much more variety including large and small knots, long to short mineral streaks, alongside noticeable shading variances between each board.

Hardwood Floor Depot works solely with NWFA Certified Manufacturers that start the milling process with wood that is kiln dried for 30 days between 180 – 350 degrees giving more prominent strength and quality to our material. The flooring will have a four-sided tongue and groove for ease of installation.

*** Recommended waste factor for this grade is between 8%-10% ***

#3 Common/Utility Grade
#3 Common Grade also known as Utility Grade Hardwood Flooring is great for low budget situations. This lower Grade of wood flooring will have a Shorter than Average Board Length than our Higher Grades of hardwood flooring. The Bundles are Strapped in 9”-7’ random lengths but please expect most boards ranging in 9”-5’ random lengths with an average board length of under 2’. You will receive a small percentage of 6’ and 7’ length boards, however, we strive to give you a very accurate description of this flooring so expect mostly 9”-5’ random lengths. These are beautiful rustic looking floors when completed and last as long as any other ¾” solid hardwood flooring.

These small defects can simply be corrected by squaring off the ends of some boards, filling in the small open hole knots with matching wood filler, or discarding a very minor percentage of unusable boards. A more experienced floor installer can help allow you to use more of this grade of hardwood flooring. Once the finisher squares of any boards that might need it, fills in knots with matching wood filler, sands and finishes, you will end up with a stunning character/rustic looking floor. The end result with our #3 Common/Utility Grade Hardwood Flooring is SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS while providing you a beautiful end product that is full of natural color and character. There are no returns or refunds with this product.

Hardwood Floor Depot works solely with NWFA certified manufacturers that start the milling process with wood that is kiln dried for 30 days between 180 and 350 degrees giving more prominent strength and quality to our material. #3 Common Grade flooring is too good for the mill to discard but you must know that this grade allows for some split and cracked wood, some open knots, broken or missing tongues and some milling defects.

*** When ordering the #3 Common Grade Recommended Waste Factor is between 20%-30% ***

Prefinished Solid Hardwood Flooring

Premium Grade/Clear Grade
Premium Grade, also known as Clear Grade, for imports or exotics, like Brazilian Walnut, Brazilian Teak, Brazilian Cherry, etc. are uniform in appearance with natural color variations per each species. There is a very small number of character marks and little if any discoloration. Premium grade will have the longest average lengths. Generally boxed in 1′-7′ Random Lengths with an average board length of 3′-3 1/2′ in length. Long Length Exotic wood flooring is also available by request, contact your Hardwood Floor Depot sales specialist for more information. Most of our Prefinished Exotic Species come with a 25-50 Year Residential Warranty. The flooring will have a four-sided tongue and groove for ease of installation.

Select & Better Grade
Select and Better Grade’s characteristics are very similar to the Premium Grade but will include more color variation from board to board and a slightly shorter average board length. It’s difficult for some people to even notice a major difference between the two grades of flooring. Many of our Select and Better Grade exotics or imported hardwood flooring come with a 25-50 Year Residential Warranty. The flooring will have a four-sided tongue and groove for ease of installation.

Character Grade
Character Grade hardwood flooring has characteristics including small to medium sized knots, mineral streaks, and color variations from board to board due to a mix of natural heartwood and sapwood along with some knots and mineral streaks. Character Grade flooring might contain a small percentage of Rustic Grade flooring with the lighter colored species of woods showing more color variations. The flooring will have a four-sided tongue and groove for ease of installation.

Rustic/Cabin Grade
Rustic grade has medium to large tight knots, small to large mineral streaks, and might have a small percentage of pocket knots (most of which have been pre-filled before finishing but not all). Rustic Grade has the most pronounced variation in color throughout the whole floor between heartwood and sapwood. Other names for Rustic Grade used in the flooring industry are Mill Run, Cabin Grade, Utility Grade, and #3 Common. Prefinished Rustic hardwood flooring has an allowable small percentage, but is not limited to, defects including: splits, pocket knots, and a shorter average board length. Depending on the flooring look you are trying to achieve the recommended waste factor is between 15%-20%. Rustic Grade is great for small or low budget projects looking to include hardwood flooring. You get a beautiful hardwood floor at a SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS that is full of natural color.

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