When it comes to wood flooring, the wood used is graded by the manufacturers according to its appearance. We have recently covered the topic of grades in wood flooring, but felt it deserved a further write-up. Generally speaking, the features taken into account when grading wood include (but are not limited to): the number and size of knots; the amount of sap present in the wood and its colour variations. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the knots, the lower the sap content and the more uniform the colour, the higher the grade of wood and (of course) the higher the price.
When it comes to deciding which wood grade is best for your wooden flooring, there are four grades of wood to choose from. Each grade gives a slightly different look. The grades are called:
1. Prime or AB
2. Select or ABC
3. Natural or ABCD
4. and Rustic or CD
In order to help you make the choice of wood grading for your hardwood flooring here are some of the characteristics of each grade:
Prime Grade is the highest grade of wood flooring. It is also often described as AB-high grade. Cut from the centre of the log, this grade of wood is uniform in its appearance and has very few knots. If this quality of wood grade does contain knots, they tend to be small and unobtrusive. Furthermore the sap content of this wood is very low. Finally, and often one of the most important considerations for people choosing a wood grade, the colour variation is minimal, but still there, due to the fact that wood is a natural product. A Prime grade floor will have a very uniformed look.
Select Grade is the next grade of wood flooring. Often described as ABC grade, this wood contains some knots, but less than Natural grade, some sap and some colour variation.
Natural grade comes next on the wood grading ladder. Often referred to as mill run or ABCD grade, this wood grade sports knots of bigger size than Select, further more it contains sap and has more colour variation. Certain manufacturers use a coloured wood filler to fill any holes which are naturally present in the wood, resulting in a smooth overall look.
Rustic Grade is the final grade for wood flooring. As the name suggests, it will display a larger range of colour variation, sap and will have more knots and fillers, giving it a very nice, traditional vintage look.