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A Quick Guide on the Different Grades of Hardwood Flooring

On Manufacturing Hardwood Flooring Products

When you're looking to shop for hardwood flooring products, one of the factors that go into the selection process is the wood flooring grade. The wood flooring grade is determined by the type of wood and how it was manufactured. In general, hardwood flooring can be divided into two categories: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.

Solid hardwood is made from a single piece of wood that's milled into planks. Engineered hardwood is made from several layers of wood that are glued together, with the top layer being made from hardwood.

That being said, whether you're shopping for solid or engineered hardwood floors, the wood flooring grade can pretty much apply to both types. So, let's take a look at the four most common grades of hardwood flooring: AB, ABC, ABCD, and CD.


The Different Wood Flooring Grades

The four wood flooring grades, AB, ABC, ABCD, and CD, each have primary characteristics that distinguish them from one another. These characteristics can include features in the wood such as the number and size of the knots, the amount or level of sap present, and the variety in colors.

To simplify the distinguishing factors in the different wood flooring grades, the higher wood grades are "cleaner" in appearance (which then fetches a higher price tag), which basically means that the wood offers smaller knots, lower sap content, and more uniform color. 

Here are the four wood flooring grades that you'll often find in the market:


  • Prime Grade (AB)
  • Select Grade (ABC)
  • Natural Grade (ABCD)
  • Rustic Grade (CD)


What is AB-Grade Wood Flooring?

Prime grade or AB-grade wood flooring is the highest quality of hardwood flooring that you can find. The wood in this grade has been carefully selected, and it features a minimal amount of natural defects like knots, sapwood, and grain irregularities. The color is also consistent throughout the planks, making them a popular choice for those who want a "clean" look for their flooring.

Ua Floors’ The Classics+ is a collection of beautiful hardwood floors that provide a uniform yet natural aesthetics to any given space. Take your pick from these modern wooden floors: 



What is ABC-Grade Wood Flooring?

Select grade or ABC-grade wood flooring is the most common type of wood flooring that you'll find in the market. The wood in this grade has some natural defects, like knots, sapwood, and grain irregularities, but they're not as prominent as in the lower grades. In addition, the color is more varied than in higher grades, making it a popular choice for those who want a "natural" look for their flooring.


What is ABCD-Grade Wood Flooring?

Natural grade or ABCD-grade wood flooring is the next step down from ABC-grade wood flooring. The wood in this grade has more natural defects than ABC-grade, and the color is even more varied. This grade is popular for those who want a really "natural" look for their flooring and are not as concerned with the appearance of the wood.

Ua Floors’ Parisian Collection provides you with wooden floors with a smooth overall appearance in the wood that may be less uniform when compared to higher grades but is still consistently appealing. Here are some of our engineered hardwood flooring products:



What is CD-Grade Wood Flooring?

Rustic Grade or CD-grade wood flooring is the lowest grade of hardwood flooring that you'll find in the market. The wood in this grade has the most natural defects and the most varied color. This grade is popular for those who want a really "rustic" look for their flooring.

However, while CD-grade wood flooring is known to be the lowest grade when it comes to a wood's character, there is also the Utility Grade, which is sometimes referred to as the "Cabin" or "Tavern" Grade. This wood grade is called so because it has the most prominent features and stark color variations when compared to the other grades of wood flooring. It comes with manufacturing defects like machine burns, uneven pieces, visible splits, and missing tongues, which makes it the most affordable of all the wood flooring grades.


Grade (Natural ABC, Rustic ABCD, Modern, Reclaimed, and others)

When it comes to wood flooring, the grade is generally indicative of the species' natural characteristics. No matter what kind of woods you're choosing from, there are options that come with their own differentiating characteristics and properties.

Natural or rustic ABCD grades have been exposed to nature for a long period of time. This means that it already has a unique character that makes the flooring look more natural. However, being exposed to humidity for so long might have also caused some dimensional changes.

Reclaimed grades are distinct in their own ways, with each type of wood offering its very own specific properties. For instance, reclaimed oak offers an amber tone while walnut brings about a brownish hue.

There are also options like modern grades that look almost like the finest pieces of wood out there; it's just that they're made using an environmentally-friendly process. These kinds of floors come with minimal to no color variations, which makes them perfect if you want an aesthetic appeal that is as consistent as humanly possible.

Basically, the grade of wood flooring determines its quality. Listed below is a quick guide to each grade’s classification:

  • A means “Modern Grade,” which translates to the wood with nearly zero to minimal knots and color variation, alongside having no sapwood at all.
  • AB is “Prime Grade” and it is the closest quality in clear-looking wood floors next to Grade A. It is a combination of prime grade planks with some small knots of 10-15 mm in size, a bit of color variation, and up to 10% sapwood.
  • ABC or “Select Grade” offers the natural look of wood, which means that visually, there are knots measuring around 25-50 mm in size, natural color variation, sapwood, and some cracks with wood fillers.
  • ABCD, which is the “Natural Grade,” is among the most common grades available. It is a combination of clean-looking boards and some natural grades, thus providing unique characteristics throughout the boards.
  • CD, which is the “Rustic Grade,” is the lowest timber grade available. This means that there is a near-endless amount of knots that come in various shapes and sizes, cracks, color variations, and other imperfections. For those who like wood flooring products with a lot of character, the CD is the grade for you.

Finding the right combination of wear and species grades can help you create the perfect wood flooring product. With a mix of natural and modern characteristics, those who want to maximize their options will surely benefit from choosing various wood floor grades.


Ua Floors: Your Hardwood Flooring Experts

You can expect different effects depending on the wood flooring grade that you choose. Modern and Prime Grade flooring, for example, will likely deliver the most uniform look in wooden flooring, which won’t be as jarring upon first glance, as opposed to Rustic or Utility Grade wooden floors. But if you want to achieve a natural look, you can always opt for grades like ABC or ABCD, and see how much variation goes best in your space.

Ua Floors, your global engineered hardwood flooring supplier, sources a wide range of hardwoods through sustainable and eco-friendly practices to provide you with a high-quality flooring product. Choose from our curated collection of flooring products, whether it’s Prime, Select, Natural, or Rustic Grade, and we’ll meet your needs.

Contact us today for any questions or inquiries.