The Different Grades of Wooden Flooring
Hard wood flooring are of different grades. Every grade is further diversified according to individual characteristics like colour and other features. For instance, regarding Oaken Hard wood flooring, the main grades are :
- #1 Common
- #2 Common ( sometimes called Rustic or Builder’s grade)
The grading is an appraisal reference to classify the flooring according to its natural
characteristics mainly. Also known as Character markings, it refers to variegated hues from board to board, imperfections like streaks of mineral, the pattern of annular rings, the knots in the grain caused usually by heavy branching, – also called wormholes, etc.
In addition, they could also refer to the average board length, milling imperfections and other irregularities. The three different grades are not a qualitative comparison of each other, but rather just a classification of its visual outer aspects – its appearance in aesthetics. The Select grade of hard wood flooring displays a uniformity that is appealing to some people in that it is devoid of imperfections or character markings. To qualify as Select grade, the floor needs to be nearly the same colour and texture while exhibiting almost no knots or holes. The boards need to be longer and almost the same length. If at all small, tight knots exist they must be at least 3 feet apart.
The #1 Common Grade Hard Wood Floor is variegated with different hues of a colour stepping from plank to plank. The floor in its entirety is characterized by more knots, holes, and more varying board lengths.
#2 Common or Rustic Grade, as the name suggests is very rustic and country- cottage in feel and appearance. There is greater dispersion of varying colours from board to board. The floor is characterized by features like visible mineral streaks, prominent, larger-sized knots and worm holes, and lots of shorter boards.
There does exist a #3 Common Grade too. It is also known as the Tavern or utility grade. It is considerably cheaper than the other grades but its quality is so shabby that what you get as wood is wasted by damage. Effectively your supposed saving in price is negated because there is so little usable material. The wood will be damaged by machine burns, crumbling ends, large disintegrating knots, broken pieces, most of the planks too thin and so on.
Which wood makes for the Hardest Wood Flooring?
Species Strength in KiloNewtons
- Lapacho/Ipe 16.4
- Strand Woven Bamboo 15.8
- Jatoba 10.5
- Hickory 8.1
- Maple 6.4
- Oak 6.0
- Ash 5.9
- Beech 5.8
- Walnut 4.5
- Cherry 4.2
The higher the strength the harder the floor surface.
Wood being a product of nature, is found to range from one extreme to the other in its hardness. Natural wood for flooring requires hardwood. Hardwood refers to the fact that the wood is appropriate for flooring due to its hardness and durability. Since hardwood is sourced from different species of wood you come across different levels of hardness. So you may need to consider factors like location of floor, humidity conditions etc., when you settle on the hardness quotient of the wooden material you need. Since a relative scale of hardness, known as the Janka Hardness Scale, exists to quantify the hardness of individual specimen of wood, you can identify which species is the most suited to your purpose.
Although Ipe (or Lapacho) is the hardest wood on the Janka Scale, it is not a practical option to consider because of its scarceness. Its scarcity as a commodity, also makes it very expensive. Bamboo does not classify as hardwood even though it ranks up with Ipe on the Janka Scale! Even the general impression of it is to consider it material only fit for wicker work and such. But this a mistaken opinion as Strand Woven Bamboo flooring is a viable and even competitive alternate to hardwood flooring.
In practical terms, the choices for the hardest flooring wood are hickory and maple. Compared to the high end variety, they are more obtainable. But they are still pricey and limited in their range of size and style. Even though Oak is slightly less hard than hickory and maple, oak is the most popular of wood flooring in UK choices. It endures wear and tear very well. It is accessible in various styles, board widths, and surface textures. This is a species which as a resource is easily renewable when harvested sustainably. So, in comparison it is reasonably priced and affordable to the average homebuilder. walnut flooring, although in demand for its low price, is not as durable as oak. It takes extra effort to preserve it from wear and deterioration. So it can be concluded from these facts, that selecting the ideal hardwood flooring for your home or commercial establishment is based on two main criteria:
- The grading of the finished floor &
- the type of hardwood that is used