Lumber Grading

From clean and uniform to more rustic in appearance, each lumber grade has a significant impact on the overall look of your finished hardwood flooring. All our lumber is made of the same high-quality wood, so you can choose the style you like based on aesthetic preference, not quality. Learn more about the key differences between each grade below.

Select Grade

Select grade offers the cleanest appearance of the three grades and is clear of most character markings, including knots, holes, and pith. In addition to fewer character markings, select grade flooring is more consistent in color and grain patterns. Select grade also provides more consistency between board widths and lengths, creating a sleeker, uniform look throughout your home. Because of the lack of character markings, select grade flooring uses less of a tree, making it the most expensive lumber grade.

Common Grade

If you prefer a little more character in your hardwood flooring, common grade is a great option. With slightly more character markings, common grade still offers a clean look but with some noticeable variation between boards. This includes lighter and darker colors as well as more variety in grain patterns between boards, including open grain, closed grain, and cathedral grain patterns. Though common grade flooring has slightly more character, knots and holes are still rare and chosen selectively. When it comes to price, common grade flooring is less expensive than select grade, but still more expensive than character grade because it uses less of the tree.

Character Grade

For homeowners who prefer a rustic look, character grade flooring provides exactly that.  Character grade boards feature the most variations in markings, grain patterns, and color variations, including visible knots, holes, mineral streaks, and pith. In addition, character grade wood flooring is typically cut with more variety between board lengths and widths. Alternating between 3, 4, and 5-inch boards is a common look for character grade flooring, as it is more cost-effective and produces a rustic appearance. Since character grade flooring uses most of a tree in order to preserve the variety between boards, it is also the most cost-effective option of the three grades.

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