Your Guide to Wooden Flooring Grades and Finishes  

Oozing with charm and character, it’s unsurprising wooden floors have remained a popular choice with homeowners. However, the choice of wooden flooring has increased dramatically over the years. These days, you have a choice of multiple grades and finishes which you can find at major flooring retailers such as Lifestyle Flooring UK.

If you don’t know much about the different flooring types on offer, it’s easy to get confused by the different finishes and grades advertised. So, to help ensure you make the right choice for your home, below you’ll discover a brief guide to the different grades and finishes on offer.

Understanding the different grades

First up, let’s look at the different grades you can choose from. They include:

  • Prime
  • Select
  • Natural
  • Rustic

These are the four main grades on offer and you’ll often seen them referenced as letters. They reflect how the flooring will look, taking into account various features. Some of the features included are knots, sap and colour variations. 

Prime is the highest grade of wood you can invest in. Also referenced as AB, it is cut from the logs centre. This means it tends to have a uniformed look, without much in the way of natural features like knots. There are also little colour variations in this grade of wood. So, if you’re looking for a smooth, blemish free wooden floor, you’ll want to ensure you’re choosing Prime grade wood.

Select grade wooden floors are also referenced as ABC. The colour variations in this grade are more noticeable than the Prime grade floors. You’ll also find a few more imperfections such as sap and knots. 

Natural grade floors are also referenced as ABCD. These have more natural details than the Select grade floors. They also contain more sap, and bigger sized knots. Holes can naturally occur in this grade, so manufacturers often fill them with coloured wood filler. So, although they do have more detailing than the other two grades, these floors still provide a somewhat uniformed look. 

Finally, rustic grade floors are also referenced as CD. This style of flooring has a lot of imperfections and significant colour variations. It is suitable for those looking to add real character into the home. Rustic grade floors also provide a much warmer feel and present the most natural wooden effect of any other grade. 

Choosing the best finish

Now that you’ve learnt more about the different grades on offer, what about the different finishes?

You’ll have a staggering amount of choice when it comes to choosing a wooden floor finish. The most common include:

  • Oiled
  • Lacquered
  • Brushed
  • Hand Scraped
  • Whitewashed
  • Distressed

So, let’s look at what each of them means in terms of appearance. 

Oiled floors come with an oil coating which protects both the surface and the inside of the planks. It leaves behind a matt finish and provides remarkable protection against wear and tear. This type of finish performs well in high-traffic areas. It can sometimes require a little more maintenance than other finishes, but this is worthwhile when you consider the entire plank is protected and not just its surface. It means the floor will last for many years to come, providing great value for money.

Lacquered flooring is coated with a high-quality lacquer which sits on top of the plank’s surface. It gives a smooth, clean-cut appearance with a somewhat glossy finish. Some lacquered floors also come with a high-gloss finish if you’re looking for something a little shinier for the home. The only downside to this type of finish compared to oiled, is that it will show up damage easier. This means you may need to sand it down more frequently. 

You’ll also come across brushed and hand scraped finishes. These are provided alongside either the oiled or lacquered surface. With the brushed finish, the wood has been brushed to eliminate the softer grains on top. This leaves behind more of a rustic effect, with numerous knots, sapwood and mineral streaks exposed. Hand scraped floors have been scraped by hand before an oil or lacquer coating is applied. It is very similar to the standard brushed effect, only it results in no two planks ever being the same. 

Whitewashed flooring adds a very modern look. It is basically a mixture of water and white paint. It tends to provide a more rustic feel, while also opening up the room. This style of finish would look especially ideal in smaller, darker rooms.

Finally, distressed finish wooden flooring is purposely treated to produce a more worn affect. Natural imperfections are often added to produce a rustic, authentic feel. Floors with this style of finish tend to have a lot more character and charisma. 

You have so many options when buying a new wooden floor. Choosing the grade and finish are just a couple of factors you need to decide upon. The above are the main factors to consider when choosing between the different grades and finishes on offer. 

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