When you’re choosing new wood flooring, whether it’s for a single room or a large commercial project, there are a lot of factors to consider. You’ll have the option of solid wood or a manufactured wood product, raw or pre-finished. You also have to choose a wood species, a stain and a plank width, all of which can totally change the overall look, feel and durability of the flooring. But there’s one element to choosing wood flooring that many people overlook: selecting a grade.
All wood species are available in multiple grades. Grades describe certain characteristics found within the wood, and range from industrial grade to finish grade. So what makes one grade more suitable for a certain project than another?
The two top grades outlined by NeLMA for Eastern White Pine are C Select and D Select. C is the highest NeLMA pine grade. While some pieces are clear, most have minor characteristics that don’t affect their quality or appearance, making them excellent for natural or stained finish, fine woodworking or interior trim. While C-Select Eastern White Pine generally has a very fine, smooth finish, D-Select wood has more pronounced characteristics that give it a slightly more rustic look and feel. These two grades are combined by NeLMA into a single grade called D & Better Select.
The other four official grades are Finish, Premium, Standard and Industrial. These grades include varying amounts of certain limiting characteristics including knots, checks, slight knife marks, a bit or raised grain here and there, and a machine burn or two. You’ll get lots of natural color highlights and a very natural look.
For more information about wood grades, including photos, and to find a retailer of Eastern White Pine flooring near you, check out Nelma.org.