Real wood floors can look and feel fantastic, but there are a few things you really need to know before you buy. One thing in particular that you need to be aware of is the different grades on offer. This is actually a very important factor to consider as the grade determines exactly how the floor will look. Below you’ll find out everything you need to know about the grading system in order to make the best choice for your home.
Understanding the grading system
If you’re new to the world of real wooden flooring, you might be a little confused by the different grades available. It gets particularly confusing because different companies use different names for each grade of wood. At Factory Direct Flooring we stick with the European grades to keep it simple. This is because the majority of the real wooden floors that we sell are manufactured using European oak. Therefore, it makes sense to use the European terms. So what exactly are the different grades and what do they mean?
We stock three different grades and they include:
Rustic grade – Available in numerous different shades, rustic grade floors are actually the most popular sold in the UK. They feature plenty of character and are known for their natural flaws such as various sized knots and small splits. When the planks are installed, together they form a very beautiful, natural look that is similar to the picture below.
Another reason why rustic grade real wood floors are so popular is because they are also much cheaper than other grades. This is because less time needs to be spent selecting each piece of timber. It’s ok for the planks to contain various imperfections. If you do choose this grade, we recommend you allow for enough wastage to be as selective as you like when installing the floor.
Natural grade – Our natural grade floors have much smaller knots than the rustic variations. They are typically no bigger than a £2 coin. There is also less difference between the individual planks and no sapwood at all. Due to its lack of imperfections, this grade is more expensive than rustic grade flooring and it tends to be the most common grade used in European countries.
Select grade – The most expensive grade in our real wood collection, select contains no sapwood or knots and there is very little difference between the planks. It tends to provide more of a ‘laminated’ look which makes it the least popular grade in the UK. As there are virtually no imperfections, it has a very clean look. It also means the raw materials available to create it are incredibly limited and the sorting process makes it pretty expensive to manufacture.
As you can see, there is a lot of difference between the three grades. Now when you browse through our selection of real wood floors you will have a much better understanding of what you are buying. They each function the same, so really it is a matter of personal preference which one you opt for.