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Home Improvement  /  April 9, 2019

What Are NWFA Hardwood Flooring Grades?

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has created a grading system for hardwood floors. Always keep in mind that grading refers to the looks of the material and is different from a floor’s quality.

In this post, your local remodeling expert, Handyman Connection® of Boise, discusses what you need to know about NWFA hardwood flooring grades.

Prefinished Grading

The manufacturer finishes prefinished boards by using numerous layers of coating with aluminum oxide, the second hardest substance in the world. They can be installed without sanding and finishing.

  • Clear Grade – It’s considered as the best hardwood flooring grade because it only has a few color variations. Clear grade also has unvaried board lengths and little to no visible knots or pinholes.

  • Select and Better – This is a little lower grade than clear, but it still appears to have a uniform color and minimal knots and pinholes.

  • #1 Common – Unlike the two previously mentioned grades, it has more color variation, shorter boards with varying lengths and higher chances of visible knots and pinholes.

  • #2 Common – This grade’s darker and lighter boards appear more like natural wood. It has a shorter board length with more visible knots and pinholes.

  • Cabin Grade – This floor grade has a rough-hewn look. It has a more varied color and apparent knot holes.

  • Shorts – This has the most surface flow and character with numerous knots, pinholes and color variations.

Unfinished Grading

Unfinished flooring or site finished flooring is installed on the site and then finished. Aluminum oxide can’t be used on these boards as it can take several hours for it to dry. By that time, the aluminum oxide particles have sunken to the bottom and won’t create a durable walking surface.

Like prefinished hardwood, it has variations like Clear Grade, Select and Better, and Cabin Grade. Here are other common grades for unfinished flooring:

  • Country or Exclusive Grade – Boards with this grade vary more in color, have shorter boards with varying length and more visible knots and pinholes.

  • Traditional, Antique and Character Grade – These have a more vintage look with numerous knots, pinholes and color variations.

Choose a reliable contractor like Handyman Connection of Boise for high-quality hardwood flooring materials and installation. We also offer carpentry, deck, painting and remodeling services. Call us at (208) 268-0088, or fill out our online form for an estimate.

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