Why Use Hardwoods?
Click on the link for some very convincing reasons why.
Floorcare & Maintenance
Keep your hardwood floors in top condition with these tips.
What To Expect
What to expect before, during & after your hardwood installation.
Important Considerations
Steps to take in preparing for your hardwood refinishing.
Just The Facts
Helpful tips and facts to educate you about hardwood flooring.
How Hard is Hardwood?
See how your hardwood choice measures up on the Janka scale.
We all want to see value with any purchase we make; wood flooring from a reliable source can be one of the best and most beautiful investments made to your home. Customers’ expectations can be vastly different. Some people like uniform coloration within the floor, others like a lot of color variation, some do not like knots and/or pinholes, some think this adds beauty. Differences in quality between all of the flooring available can be great, depending on the type and grade of wood purchased and who manufactured the flooring.
Commonly, the consumer is under the assumption that their new wood flooring will look exactly like the small sample they saw at the flooring store, but this is not always true. Wood, as we all know, is a "Product of Nature." Each individual board is like a fingerprint; no two are exactly alike. Raw wood has natural varied graining, color variations, and character such as knots, pinholes and mineral (darker) streaks. Different wood species and the region of the country they are grown lend their own characteristics; this is what makes wood so appealing.
When hardwood lumber is cut from the forest it is segregated by grades (appearance and clarity within the graining). There can be 4-6 different grades of wood. The very finest, most expensive wood with a lot of clarity and uniformity in color is usually gobbled up by very high-end furniture companies. The other lower costing grades are then purchased by others, including the flooring industry. Different flooring manufacturers will purchase these lower grades with respect to the cost, quality and/or grading they want their flooring to be.
At the manufacturer's plant, the wood is run past employee graders on production lines who again continue to cull out character boards such as knots, pinholes and darker mineral streaks. These pieces are put into the lower grades depending on their amount of character. Usually, flooring manufacturers produce 3-5 grades. The names manufacturers give these grades can be unique to the particular manufacturer, but the best grade is usually called Clear, the next best grades are called Select and Better or Prime grade and other lower grade names can be called Select, Traditional, Rustic, Country, Traditional, etc. The lowest end grades are called Cabin or Tavern. For more information regarding wood flooring grades click here: http://www.nofma.org/gradingrules.htm. All of this grading happens on a production line. We are all at the mercy of the graders, who are trying to follow that particular manufacturer’s grading guidelines as they pull boards from the line. But, as we are all human and this is not a perfect world, some boards slip by the inspection process. It is recommended and standard practice within the flooring industry to add 5% to your total square footage when purchasing flooring to cover boards you may not want to use.