Wood Varieties and Grading

When investing in hardwood flooring, it is essential that you understand the different varieties, as well as grading system. Hardwood flooring can be expensive but quality floors will last a lifetime, meaning they are an excellent investment. However, remember that not all hardwood floors are created equal so arming yourself with knowledge is the best defense in buying quality.


Although the color, finish, and style are also important factors in the decision-making process, we wanted to focus on varieties and grading. Remember, with so many different varieties of wood flooring, you want to choose what fits each specific room. For instance, dark wood is typically more formal but it also shows traffic more than lighter wood does. The following can be used to help you decide.

Reddish, brown color with consistent grain, Beech is durable and great when it comes to shock absorbency
Ranges from light yellow to a dark, brownish red color. Birch is strong but softer than red oak.
Douglas Fir
With a yellowish tan color, Douglas fir is semi-soft, meaning it does tend to dent.
Yellowish brown, pine naturally has knots and swirls. Additionally, pine is naturally resistant to insects.
Red Oak
The favorite choice for hardwood flooring, red wood has a red tone with a coarse grain. The wood is dense and stiff, wearing extremely well.
White Oak
This color oak is more on the golden brownish side with similar grain to red oak. However, white oak is the stronger choice of the two.


Keep in mind that each variety will be priced differently. Additionally, the style of the cut will have an impact on pricing too. Typically, choosing wood varieties native to where you live is the best way to save money. Of course, you can scour through wholesalers, finding excellent bargains that way, as well.


Finally, along with the variety of the wood, you should know how the grade system works. The hardness of the wood is vital in your decision. Remember, while Douglas Fir is gorgeous, it also dents. The rating system is called Janka, which measures the amount of force needed to drive a .444-inch steel ball into the wood, to the point where one-half the diameter of the ball ends up embedded. The goal is to purchase wood with the highest number, meaning it is a better species.