The Different Grades of Hardwood Flooring Explained

The Different Grades of Hardwood Flooring Explained

Purchasing hardwood flooring necessitates research since you want to make the best decision possible for your house. Homeowners tend not to pay close attention to the fine details of hardwood and solely choose one based on color or wood species. So here are the different grades of hardwood flooring explained.

The Most Commonly Used Grades Explained

Before choosing your hardwood flooring, you need to know four commonly used wood grades. There are Clear, Select, No. 1 Common, and No. 2 Common, also known as “Rustic” or “Builder” grades. This grading scale measures the markings and natural characteristics, color variation, mineral streaks, and knot or wormhole presence in the wood. It also accounts for average board lengths and milling imperfections. Depending on what the homeowner wants, it’s possible to find solid wood floors for sale in person or online.

The grading system pertains mainly to oak hardwood flooring and signifies the quality of its appearance. The less character the flooring has, the higher the cost. In price order, Clear and Select grades cost the most. No. 1 Common is slightly less expensive, and No. 2 Common is considerably less than Select.

Four Hardwood Flooring Grades

As previously mentioned, the grading system mainly pertains to oak hardwood. So here are the different grades of hardwood flooring explained. This information should help you so that choosing your preferred flooring doesn’t become stressful.

Clear Oak

Clear Oak planks often display minimal character marks and color variations. Clear Oak planks mostly come from the heart of the tree, with fewer knots and less variety in their pattern.

Select Oak

Select Oak is a step down from Clear Oak, as it includes more color variations. It combines sapwood and heartwood, displaying small knots every 3 feet, wormholes, mineral streaks, and other character marks.

No. 1 Common Oak

When it comes to No. 1 Common Oak, you’ll often see lighter and darker color variations and significant signs of character. You’ll find characteristics like knots, open checks, machining and drying variations, and wormholes.

No. 2 Common Oak

No. 2 Common Oak has the highest range regarding character and color variation. You'll see a variety of knot sizes, wormholes, and color ranges. This results in a rustic, rich, and casual character that works for many styles a homeowner might desire.


After researching different types of hardwood flooring, you can decide based on your budget and preferences. If you want hardwood flooring that has tons of personality at a cheaper cost, then No. 2 Common hardwood may be a perfect choice. Otherwise, if you wish for spotless, luxurious flooring, Clear or Select hardwood may work better.

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