Knowing the right wood grades (Yes! They exist!)

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    The commonly seen wood grades

        • Clear grade (also known as FAS – firsts and seconds): This is the best grade of hardwood floors on the list. Cut from the center of the log, the its appearance is clear. Clear-grade hardwood floors have unvaried board lengths, on which knots or pinholes are very small and barely visible to almost invisible. The visible knots tend to be small and unobtrusive. It is “Clear” grade in the sense that its main characteristics are the most uniform appearance and patterns with minimal color variation.
        • Select and Better grade (also referred to as AB grade): This grade is slightly lower than Clear grade. It is recognized by the limitation of character marks, knots and pinholes. Staining, checking, and mineral streaks that cause variance are not detected in Select and Better wood grade. Uniform in color and length, the surface of the plank will achieve the cleanest presentation within the species after being finished
        • #1 Common grade (also called Natural grade/ 2nd grade): The next-best grade has more coloring variations and greater length variation. Hardwood flooring boards of this grade have shorter length and are more likely to have the following defects: dime-size broken knots, season and kiln checks, and small worm holes. Minor imperfections can be properly filled and finished and will not affect the floor’s performance. Note that 1# Common wood grade boards will contain characteristics depending on the wood species. Gaps of no more than 0.031″ should be seen when assembling #1 Common grade wood flooring boards.
        • #2 Common Grade (also known as Rustic grade/ 3rd grade): With an increase in visible knots and pinholes, #2 Common Grade also has shorter board length. Homeowners who are fond of rough hardwood floors, who don’t mind the color variations, some defects in grain patterns and the rustic character will be happy with this wood grade. In fact, a beautiful-looking patchwork effect is achieved when 2# Common grade wood boards are put together, thanks to its wide variations in dark to light colours. A similar expectation in gap exhibition between #2 Common grade flooring boards is similar to that of #1 Common Grade.
        • Cabin grade (also referred to as Tavern grade): This grade might include some low-grade wood characteristics, like open knots, cracks, or splits. Upon installation, certain quality imperfections are more likely to come up, such as damaged marks visible from milling process. Cabin grade has shorter board lengths, small dings, and more coloring variations, which might require more efforts in assembling to achieve a pleasing look than other wood grades, like putting together pieces of puzzles. Thus, expect a greater amount of wastage (order 10-20% more than you need) and make sure the planks are sorted through before installation. Because of the allowed quality defects, flooring made of this wood grade often don’t go with structural warranty. However, a warranty on the finish is usually available. Wood floors of Cabin grade are suitable for low-investment projects as it is much cheaper than others. Cabin grade flooring may show gapping that exceeds 0.031″ when assembled.

    To learn more about the relationship between wood grades and quality,,-they-exist!)

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