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Updated: Mar 26, 2022

grades of hardwood flooring

Grades of hardwood flooring - I have wanted to do this article for a long time, but as we all know sometimes time is not enough, finally, it is time to talk about a topic that seems extremely important when selecting your new hardwood floor,

My process when I serve my clients is to get to the bottom and find out what their tastes really are, one question I always asked is what grade would you like to see on your hardwood floor?

And this is when I realized that many people do not understand what the grade of wood means and how important it is when choosing a wood floor since we can select the same color in 3 different grades and the final result is totally different.

Also, read - Hardwood floors comparison based on durability

So Let's understand the grades of hardwood flooring!

Each grade has its own characteristics in appearance, the grade is a way to qualify the appearance of the wood, the grading scales is a measure of the natural characteristics of the wood, eg, color variation, marks, presence of knots, open cracks, mineral streaks, sapwood, etc.

Each wood flooring brand puts its own name to its grades. The most common grades are Prime, Rustic A, Rustic A/B, and Rustic. All these grades have the same durability and the marks they have are not imperfections, it is completely natural, prices change drastically from one grade to another, fewer marks cost more since less wood from the tree is used, placing Prime grade the most expensive and Rustic grade is the most economical since it has more knots, color variation, cracks, etc.

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Different grades of hardwood flooring

Like everything in life, the grades of wood are a matter of taste or a particular design style, some people prefer a floor that is uniform in color, that does not have knots, others prefer that charm of wood that has knots, holes, variety of color, as there are also people in between who like a little of everything in moderation.


Prime: the cleanest grade of hardwood flooring

I call this grade the cleanest since it has practically no knots or if it does have them they are very small, it has no cracks or open holes.


Rustic A: Fairly clean grade of hardwood flooring

This grade is fairly clean but not free of knots, no sapwood, cracks, or open holes.


Rustic A/B: the hardwood flooring grade with unlimited knots

This grade has unlimited knots, some color variation, no cracks or sapwood.


Rustic: hardwood grade with most knots & holes

This is the grade that has the most knots, color variation and it also comes with cracks and open holes.

With a natural or light color floor, the differences in grades are more noticeable. With a dark color, much less noticeable.

GRADE: Prime

MATERIAL: European Oak, engineered wood floor

PROJECT: Coral Gables, FL.

Prime grade of hardwood flooring

In the above Picture there is no presence of knots, cracks or holes, this material is a natural color with deep wire brushed which pronounces more the grains of the wood.

GRADE: Rustic A

MATERIAL: Ash solid wood

PROJECT: Sunny Isles, FL.

Rustic A hardwood floor grade example

Some color variation, few knots, no cracks, or holes, this material is also another natural color but with a smooth surface.

GRADE: Rustic A/B

MATERIAL: European Oak, engineered wood.

PROJECT: Fisher Island, FL.

this is how rustic A/B hardwood flooring grade looks like

Plenty of knots and color variation, plus the band saw texture gives it a more artisanal look for a modern condo in Miami.

GRADE: Rustic

MATERIAL: French Oak, solid wood.

PROJECT: Key Biscayne, FL.

rustic grade of hardwood flooring capture from key biscayne project

This floor features numerous flaws, such as unlimited knots, open cracks, and a non-uniform surface, which creates a more rustic look for a Beach style home in Miami.

To know more about hardwood flooring, we've covered it for you - hardwood flooring guide 2022

Now that you know the difference between the grades of hardwood flooring, I would like to know which one is your favorite or which one will you choose for your project?

Leave me your comments below.

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If you are looking for more durable hardwood floors to enhance your interior then we are open for you anytime. Contact us at 786-606-9301 or email your query at