It isn't always enough just to choose the type of wood for your floor. There is also the matter of choosing a wood grade. There are various grades of wood and each kind will give you a different overall look for your floor. Do you want something cleaner? Something with few knots and a smooth look? Or do you want that rugged, outdoor
sy look? Something that has plenty of knots and a lot of character? The things you want to see in your wood floor will help determine the grade you choose and what your wood provider can offer you.
The National Hardwood Lumber Association has set down rules that define grades based upon the number of clear cuttings that can come from a piece of wood when it is divided up to be used for everything from furniture to flooring. Most of the hardwood lumber in the United States and Canada is graded by NHLA. Typically a higher grade will require a piece of wood to be longer and with few to no knots. Because many consumers don't know all the different grades, businesses that offer flooring, furniture, and door options will categorize grades through the use of descriptive names. This makes it a lot easier for the consumer to make a choice and understand what they will receive in their home.
One common choice is 'Rustic Grade.' This includes many lower grades. The wood will have knots and a wide range of grain variations. Knots can come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and numbers in a single piece of wood, and you may also see color variations as well. Heartwood or sapwood, it doesn't matter - each piece has a more rugged look that can be very useful as well as very beautiful depending upon what you intend to showcase for your home. If you want that more rustic feel, like a mountain home or outdoorsy cottage, then this type of grade is perfect as a flooring choice.
Others may also use the term 'Select Grade' for wood that is of a higher grade. These wood pieces will have very few or no knots at all. Wood grain may still vary, and these higher grades will still include all color variations of sapwood and heartwood (as this is desirable in wood in general). If you want a much cleaner look or a smoother design for your home, then this sort of higher grade wood will be more to your liking.
Take some time to look at each type and examine different grades to see what you feel will work best on your floor.
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