Choosing the right wood floor for your home involves more than just selecting a color or finish. One critical factor to consider is the grade of the wood. Wood flooring AC grades refer to the quality and appearance of the wood, impacting the overall look and performance of your flooring. Understanding these grades can help you make an informed decision that suits your aesthetic preferences and practical needs.

What Are Wood Floor Grades?

Wood floor grades categorize the wood based on its natural characteristics, such as color variation, knots, grain patterns, and other imperfections. These grades are established by industry standards and can vary slightly depending on the wood species and the manufacturer. Generally, wood floor grades are divided into several categories:

  • Clear Grade
  • Select Grade
  • No. 1 Common Grade
  • No. 2 Common Grade
  • Cabin or Utility Grade
  • Clear Grade
  1. Characteristics

Clear grade wood is the highest quality grade, offering a uniform appearance with minimal imperfections. This grade features few if any, knots and consistent color with subtle grain patterns. It is often used in high-end applications where a flawless look is desired.

  1. Applications

Due to its superior quality, clear grade wood is ideal for formal settings, such as living rooms and dining areas, where aesthetics are a priority. It provides a sleek and polished appearance that can elevate the overall look of the space.

Select Grade

  1. Characteristics

Select grade wood, also known as prime grade, has slightly more natural variations than clear grade but still maintains a relatively uniform look. It includes minor knots and color variations, providing a balance between a pristine and a natural appearance.

  1. Applications

Select grade is a popular choice for residential and commercial spaces that require a refined yet natural look. It is suitable for almost any room, including bedrooms, kitchens, and offices, offering a high-quality finish with a touch of character.

No. 1 Common Grade

  1. Characteristics

No. 1 Common grade wood, also referred to as natural grade, includes more pronounced natural characteristics such as knots, color variations, and distinct grain patterns. This grade showcases the wood’s inherent beauty and uniqueness.

  1. Applications

No. 1 common grade is ideal for those who appreciate the rustic charm and character of wood. It works well in casual settings like family rooms, dens, and rustic-themed interiors. This grade adds warmth and personality to any space.

No. 2 Common Grade

  1. Characteristics

No. 2 Common grade wood, also known as rustic grade, features even more prominent natural imperfections, including larger knots, color variations, and more irregular grain patterns. This grade embraces the raw and rugged beauty of wood.

  1. Applications

No. 2 common grade is perfect for spaces that aim to achieve a truly rustic or vintage look. It is often used in cabins, cottages, and country-style homes. The distinct imperfections add character and authenticity to the flooring, making it a focal point of the room.

Cabin or Utility Grade

  1. Characteristics

Cabin or utility grade wood is the lowest grade, characterized by significant imperfections such as large knots, cracks, and substantial color variations. This grade may also include shorter board lengths and more irregular shapes.

  1. Applications

Cabin or utility grade is best suited for non-formal areas or projects where cost-effectiveness is a priority. It is commonly used in workshops, basements, and other utilitarian spaces. This grade provides a functional and budget-friendly flooring option with a rugged appearance.

Choosing the Right Grade for Your Home

When selecting a wood floor grade, consider both the aesthetic and practical aspects of your space. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • Aesthetic Preferences: Decide on the look you want to achieve. If you prefer a clean, sophisticated appearance, opt for clear or select grade. For a more natural or rustic look, choose No. 1 common, No. 2 common, or cabin grade.
  • Budget: Higher grades like clear and select are more expensive due to their superior quality. If budget is a concern, No. 1 common, No. 2 common, or cabin grade may be more affordable options.
  • Usage and Traffic: Consider the room’s purpose and the level of foot traffic it will endure. Higher grades are suitable for formal areas, while lower grades are ideal for casual or high-traffic spaces.
  • Maintenance: Higher-grade floors are generally easier to maintain due to their smoother surface and fewer imperfections. Lower grades may require more frequent maintenance to address issues like scratches and dents.


Understanding wood floor grades is essential for making an informed decision when selecting your flooring. Each grade offers unique characteristics and advantages, allowing you to choose the best option that aligns with your aesthetic preferences, budget, and practical needs. Whether you desire the pristine look of clear grade or the rustic charm of No. 2 common, there is a wood floor grade to suit every style and space.