Wood Floor Grading is carried out in the U.S. by The Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association (NWFA orNOFMA). Custom Design Floors is a proud member of NWFA. When deciding which hardwood floor you should invest in, a set of rules has been developed by this organization that is universally accepted and recognized within the industry. When you buy a floor that has been certified by NWFA, you can be assured that your expectations regarding quality, appearance, and performance will be met. The Association has been the official benchmark for grading of solid hardwood floors since 1909. The following is an explanation of grading of hardwood flooring, covering the four basic quality standards of grade, configuration, moisture content and average length.
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring Grades
Wood floor grading is primarily concerned with the surface finish of the product. It is this that will determine how the finished article will look, after sanding and installation. Things like knots, mineral streaks and manufacturing marks are covered and timbers are categorized into four grades; NOFMA Clear, NOFMA Select, NOFMA No.1 Common and NOFMA No.2 Common. In order from best quality:
NOFMA Clear - A mostly heartwood flooring product that allows all the natural heartwood color variations with minimal character marks and limited color variation. This combination features the infinitely variable grain patterns with the minimal distraction from character marks and color variation.
NOFMA Select - Contains all the variations in coloration produced by the contrasting differences of heartwood and sapwood. Also included are minimal characters such as small knots, worm holes, and mineral streaks, as well as slightly open characters. The combination creates a floor where the light sapwood and dark heartwood are combined with small characters and other small color interruptions.
NOFMA No.1 Common - A flooring product characterized by prominent color variation that also contains prominent characters (with size limits) such as knots, open checks, worm holes, alonng with machining and drying variations. No. 1 Common is a tasteful floor where prominent variation is expected.
NOFMA No.1 & Better This grade is a combination of Clear, Select and # 1 Common.
NOFMA No.2 Common - Contains sound natural and manufacturing variations including knot holes, open worm holes, and other open characters along with prominent color variations. Manufacturing variations include drying characters and machining irregularities. No. 2 Common is most desirable for applications where numerous notable character marks and prominent color contrast is desired.
NOFMA No.2 & Better This grade is a combination of Clear, Select, # 1 Common and # 2 Common (product of the run) and runs in length from 9" up to 15" long, although longer lengths may be added. The purpose of this grade is to furnish an economical floor suitable for homes, cabins, and general utility use.
NOFMA No.3 Common/Rustic This grade is used where character marks and worn appearance is desired. It contains natural variations in color and manufacturing imperfections. Unlimited knotholes, open holes, and open character, which can be readily filled, are admitted. A limited number of pieces with no tongue, or end matching are admitted. Slight deviation in thickness or width is admitted.
Most of unfinished hardwood floors that we sell comes exclusively from manufacturers that are NOFMA certified, so every bundle of hardwood floors should have the stamp with the grade. This way you can never be wrong of what you buy.