floor hardwoods samples

Guide to Wood Grades

Wood Classification (by Grade) | Grain Descriptions | General Rules | Packaging

WOOD CLASSIFICATIONS (BY GRADES):

  • CLEAR
- Best quality
. Selection of light, uniform colours
- Slight variations in the natural colour of the sapwood
- Minimum length of board 12″ (30cm)
  • SELECT & BETTER
. Natural colour variations (White or Reddish tinge to light brown)
(Colour variations more pronounced in birch, beech and ash)
. Mineral marks less than 1/8″ x 3/8″are accepted but not entire length of board
. Very, very light and infrequent piling marks are accepted. Sound knots of less than 3/8″ are accepted
- Fish eyes are accepted 
- Checks, splits, stains and wormholes are not accepted 
- Minimum length or board 12″ (30cm)
  • NO. 1 COMMON/CANADIAN PLUS (60% Select/Better and 40% of Nice Natural). Natural colour variations. Mineral marks less than 1/8″ x 1″are accepted but not entire length of board
. Very, very light and infrequent piling marks are accepted. Sound knots of less than 3/8″ are accepted
. Fish eyes are accepted. Checks, splits, stains and wormholes are not accepted 
- Minimum length or board 12″ (30cm)
  • NATURAL. Nice mix of natural colours (heartwood and sapwood). Mineral marks are accepted. Occasional light piling marks are accepted. Sound knots of less than 3/8″ are accepted. Fish eyes are accepted. Checks, splits, stains and wormholes are not accepted 
- Minimum length or board 12″ (30cm)
  • COUNTRY (Natural and Nice Rustic). Natural colours variations. Mineral marks are accepted. Light piling marks are accepted 
- Sound knots of less than 3/8″ are accepted. Small splits and checks are accepted (not all over the board)
. Occasional wormholes are accepted. Minimum length of board 12″ (30cm)
  • NO. 2 COMMON/RUSTIC (Economy)
. All colours variations and natural characteristics of wood species are accepted. Rustic looking mineral marks are accepted. Piling marks are accepted 
- Some wood missing on the side or male end of strip (there must be some left)
. V-joint not made (careful there must be a problem with the board’s milling)
- Minimum length of the board 10″ – 12″ (25 – 30cm)

Walnut Select and Better

Kempas Natural, Solid

Canadian Maple 1st grade, solid

Red Oak Select and Better Unfinished

Red Oak Unfinished Rustic

GRAIN DESCRIPTIONS:
Wood is sawn different ways leading to different grain patterns (as well as impacting cost due to differences in the percentage of wood used for flooring). You can see pictures below showing some examples. You can also look at this explanation here of sawing methods to understand the differences.

  • PLAINSAWN: Flooring that is marked or specified as PLAIN SAWN or PLAIN, may contain any combination of the following types of grain classification: Plain Sawn, Rift Sawn, and Quarter Sawn.
  • QUARTERSAWN: Flooring that is marked or specified as QUARTER SAWN or QUARTERED; at least 50% of the piece must contain Quartered characteristics. 
Quartered characteristics as defined by NOFMA are: In cross section the angle of the annual ring tangent to the face of the piece to be between 45° and 90°. Grain lines to be mostly parallel to the length of strips, and medullary ray flecks present and more than 1/16″ wide.
  • RIFTSAWN: Flooring that is marked or specified as RIFT SAWN or RIFT; at least 75% of the piece must contain Rift characteristics. 
Rift characteristics as defined by NOFMA are: In cross section the angle of the annual ring tangent to the face of the piece to be between 30° to 60°. Grain lines to be mostly parallel to the length of strips and medullary ray flecks less than 1/16″ wide.
  • QUARTER/RIFTSAWN: Flooring that is marked or specified as QUARTER/RIFTSAWN or QUARTER/RIFT, is a combination of QUARTERSAWN and RIFTSAWN developing from the production run.

Quartersawn Unfinished Maple, 1st Grade

Red Oak Rift and Quartered (Select or Better) Unfinished

GENERAL RULES: (All Species)
(NOTE: Characters included in a higher grade are automatically accepted in lower grades)

  • Flooring shall be Tongued and Grooved and End Matched (unless otherwise indicated). Flooring shall not be considered of standard grade unless the lumber from which the flooring is manufactured has been properly kiln dried. The NOFMA standard is that flooring is manufactured at a 6% – 9% Moisture Content with a 5% allowance for pieces outside that range up to 12% Moisture Content, and to fit a “GO NO-GO” NOFMA flooring gauge.
  • NOFMA members are required to mark all bundles of standard grade flooring with the grade and color (or species if applicable).
  • PLANK FLOORING: designated by a grade name listed in this Grading Rule Book must conform to that grade description. 
Members may manufacture Plank Flooring under other grade names and descriptions, which are registered with the NOFMA office to qualify for Complaint Inspection Services.

PACKAGING:

  • To determine the (nominal) length of a piece of flooring, 3/4″ end match allowance shall be added to the actual face length when measuring.
  • Individual strips may range in length from 9″ minimum to 102″ maximum.
  • The average length as referred to in the Official Flooring Grading Rules apply to the total footage of any one shipment consisting of 1,000 sq. ft. or greater amounts.
  • The percentages under 4′, as referred to in the Official Flooring Grading Rules apply to the total footage of any one shipment consisting of 1,000 sq. ft. or greater amount.
  • BUNDLED FLOORING: an individual bundle contains pieces from 6″ over to 6″ under the nominal length of the bundle. Bundle lengths ranging from 1 1/4′ to 7′ or 8′, as the stock will produce, and placed (nested) end to end in units (pallets) of 8′ nominal length are designated “standard packaging”; or units of 7′ and shorter nominal length are designated “shorter packaging”.
  • NESTED FLOORING: a nested bundle contains flooring strips positioned end to end continuously in runs measuring from 6″ over to 6″ under the nominal length of the nested bundle. 
For 3/4 x 2 1/4″ Flooring- a 12 run, 8′ nominal length bundle, containing 24 bd. ft. of flooring is designated “standard packaging”. 
Nested bundles shorter than 8′ nominal length are designated “shorter packaging”.
  • SHORTER NESTED BUNDLES OR BOXES: bundles or boxes containing more or fewer runs of flooring are “non standard packaging” and considered acceptable packaging where the average length is maintained.