Hardwood flooring is an often sought-after flooring, especially for more traditional or historic homes. The natural wood construction makes it easy to sand down and refinish as time goes on. As with many flooring types, hardwood flooring comes in a variety of different grades. The different grades of the floors speak to their characteristics and effect the price point of the product.
Hardwood Flooring Grades
The grade of the hardwood flooring is determined by the features of the planks. The numbers of knots, variation of color tone, and imperfections in each plank all go into determining what grade the flooring will receive. One thing that all flooring grades have in common is that they are well-constructed and designed to last. The hardwood flooring grades include:
- Prime Grade (AB)
- Select Grade (ABC)
- Natural Grade (ABCD)
- Rustic Grade (CD)
- Utility Grade (Cabin)
First-quality hardwood floors are chosen for their lack of imperfections, impeccable milling, and overall uniformity of design. Cabin grade flooring is considered the lowest of all the hardwood flooring grades and includes the pieces that did not make the cut to be a higher grade. It is also commonly referred to as shop grade, rustic grade or tavern grade flooring because of its rustic characteristics. The variations are largely due to the fact that these flooring planks are harvested from the outer edges of the tree, as opposed to the more uniform inside of the tree.
Characteristics of Cabin Grade Hardwood Flooring
Each of the flooring grades offers distinct characteristics. Cabin grade flooring appreciates the natural imperfections that occur in each piece of wood and provide a casual look. With these floors in place, you won’t be afraid to wear shoes in the house or have pets because the light damage that they could cause to the floors will only further enhance the distressed look of the planks.
Because hardwood flooring is sourced from a natural product, variations including knots, pinholes, dents and streaks occur. Cabin grade hardwood flooring is characterized by the ample imperfections running throughout each plank. These imperfections may be in the center of the plank or extend to the edges of the planks. The amount of imperfections can vary greatly from one floor to another, resulting in a rustic and worn look once the floor is installed. The natural variations of these plank call attention to the natural beauty of the wood.
Natural Color Variations
The tone of cabin grade flooring can vary greatly from one plank to another. The natural color variations give cabin grade flooring a distinct character, much unlike the uniform look of some higher hardwood flooring grades. The natural color variations make these floors easy to coordinate with many different furniture finishes.
In addition to offering color variations, cabin grade flooring also offers slight differences in the thickness. Slight variations during the milling process cause the variations in thickness, which is how many of the planks receive a cabin grade rating. The length of the flooring can also vary from one piece to another. You may find that many of the planks are shorter in length than with first-quality hardwood flooring grades.
Cabin grade flooring is the most affordable of all hardwood flooring grades. The low cost of this flooring makes it more accessible for a variety of budgets and can make it a good choice for expansive spaces.
Tips for Installing Cabin-Grade Hardwood Flooring
As with any flooring, there are some tips and tricks to get the best finished look out of your cabin grade hardwood. Mixing up planks and using the right boards in the right places will help to cut back on the waste you have throughout the installation process.
Mix Up Planks
Because the planks can vary so much in appearance from one piece to another, it is important to open multiple boxes of flooring and mix them up during installation. This will help to disperse pieces from different boxes into each area so the whole room has a more cohesive look. Throughout the installation process, make sure to have multiple boxes open to pull from.
Thoughtfully Place Boards
If you run across boards that aren’t ideal for the center of a living room or bedroom, save them for installation in a closet or another inconspicuous place instead of scrapping them all together.
Purchase 20 Percent Extra Flooring
Because it is a lower grade flooring, you are bound to come up with some planks you don’t want to use at all. Purchase an overage of about twenty to twenty-five percent to account for any planks that will be discarded. Make sure to factor this overage in when determining which grade of flooring to purchase
When you want a well-loved and rustic look for your space, choosing cabin grade hardwood flooring makes a great option. It is much less expensive than higher grade hardwood flooring and features numerous natural characteristics. Cabin grade flooring isn’t just a great option for lodges and cabins. It is a suitable choice for any casual living area, including guest bedrooms, family retreats, and game rooms. You can achieve the same rustic look with enhanced durability by opting for luxury vinyl floors.