GRADES/HARDINESS/SPECIES

After you know whether you want engineered or solid, finished or unfinished, strip, plank, or parquet, it’s time to choose your wood. But how? We’ll show you! Our Customers select wood flooring for the look, durability, and sometimes sustainability. Our pre-finished, life-sized flooring samples show you exactly what your new floor will look like what it’s installed in your home.

Here are some of the things you’ll see in different species of wood:

GRADES (Appearance)

Do you want wood flooring that is highly uniform, elegant, and more formal? Maybe you love the look of rich and varied grains, knots and streaks? There’s something in wood for every taste. Check out our samples to see what appeals to you, and consider this guide from The National Wood Flooring Association.

GRADES of HARDWOOD (NWFA):

Clear wood: Clear Wood is a flooring product with minimal character marks that provides a uniform appearance.

Select wood: Select Wood is a flooring product with natural heartwood/sapwood color variations that also includes knots, streaks, etc.

Common wood: (No. 1 and No. 2) has more natural characteristics such as knots and color variations than either clear or select grades, and often is chosen because of these natural features and the character they bring to a room.

No. 1 Common has a varied appearance, light and dark colors, knots, streaks and wormholes.

No. 2 Common is rustic in appearance and emphasizes all wood characteristics of the species.


HARDNESS

Wood used in flooring is rated on the Janka Hardness Scale. Understanding hardness, or how much pressure it takes to mar your floor, can help make sure you are buying the right flooring for your purposes. All the wood flooring we sell is up to the minimum hardness standards for flooring, though some wood floors are better for high-traffic areas than others. Yellow Pine can be quite soft, and is a poor choice if you have a large dog, or children who wear their cleats in the house. Hickory, which is about 3x harder, is more difficult to work with, so can be more expensive to install. But it can stand up to just about anything your family can dish out!


SPECIES: Domestic or Exotic?

Exactly what species of wood you choose depends largely on look, and price. We carry traditional American hardwoods in the gorgeous grains and finishes you’ve come to expect: oak, ash, cherry, maple, and hickory; and even dazzling exotics like mahogany, ipe, tigerwood, and acacia. Do you want the light look and feel of blonde oak? Maybe a beachy plank floor in birch, or a dramatically striated tigerwood? Perhaps you’re looking for the gleaming elegance of red oak? We have a whole world of hardwoods in our showroom for you to explore.


SUSTAINABILITY

American hardwoods are a beautiful, renewable resource, and they are grown and milled right here in North America. Many of our exotics are fast-growing species, which means that the flooring is not harvested from old-growth forests. Look for the FSC certification on many of our selections.