One of the most important aspects that influence the appearance of hardwood is the grade of the wood. Almost all boards in the United States are graded based on standards originally set by the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association (NOFMA). NOFMA gives special attention to appearance or lack of certain character marks, and are a huge indicator of what a board is supposed to look like, instead of an assessment of quality, hardness, and stability, etc.


Clear Grade

This is a premium grade wood and does not have prominent character marks such as knots or burls. The grain and color from board to board is consistent also. These boards are from the heartwood of a tree, which makes it look smooth and uniform. Boards that can be graded as Clear are usually rare, it is usually more costly than other grades.

Select Grade

Similar to Clear Grade, Select Grade shows a more consistent face. Since it is cut from both heartwood and sapwood, there will be more color variation between the boards, and small diversions in the grain pattern. It is still slightly rare, so it is usually in the same price category as Clear Grade.

#1 Common Grade

In this grade, there will be more characteristics such as swirls and knots, but will be limited in size. It is a perfect choice for homeowners who want their floors to be the main attraction in their room. They are also better fit for high traffic areas or pets, since scratches can be easily masked in the natural imperfections.

 #2 Common Grade

This grade is similar to #1, but does have more character marks of natural wood and more color variation. #2 Common Grade floors are a good choice for a natural look, and depends on the species of wood, bold streaks, and prominent burls and knots. Hickory is a good choice for #1 and #2 Common Grades because of its color variation.

Still have questions regarding the hardwood flooring grades, and what’s best for your home? Contact the hardwood flooring experts at Signature Hardwood Floors for any questions, and a FREE ESTIMATE. You can call us at 410.415.0755 or click here today! You can also follow us on Facebook