The appearance of the wood determines its grade. All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each affords a different look:
- Clear wood is free of defects, though it may have minor imperfections.
- Select wood is almost clear but contains some natural characteristics such as knots and color variations.
- Common wood (No. 1 and No. 2) has more natural characteristics such as knots and color variations than either clear or select grades and often is chosen because of these natural features and the character they bring to a room.
No. 1 Common has a variegated appearance, light and dark colors, knots, flags and wormholes. No. 2 Common is rustic in appearance and emphasizes all wood characteristics of the species.
- First grade wood has the best appearance, natural color variations and limited marks.
- Second grade wood is variegated in appearance with varying sound wood characteristics of species.
- Third grade wood is rustic in appearance allowing all characteristics of the species.
The angle at which a board is cut determines how the finished product looks. Wood flooring is plain-sawn, quarter-sawn or rift-sawn.
- Plain-sawn is the most common cut. The board contains more variation than the other two cuts because grain patterns resulting from the growth rings are more obvious.
- Quarter-sawn produces less board feet per log than plain-sawing and is therefore more expensive. Quarter-sawn wood twists and cups less and wears more evenly.
- Rift-sawn is similar to quarter-sawing but the cut is made at a slightly different angle.
Unique, one-of-a kind looks can be achieved with the finishing of the wood planks using techniques like: custom stains, finishes and textures like hand scraping, distressing, wire brushing, or cut saw marks. Other finishes include: installing varied with planks, installing using a herringbone or chevron pattern, installing at a 45degree angle or installing a medallion or boarder.
Customizing your wood floor is easier, and more affordable, than ever before. You can create a unique look by adding one or more of these finishing touches. No matter what your lifestyle, wood floors add value and comfort to any décor, but with all the choices available today, selecting the right floor can be daunting. Come in or schedule an in-home consultation and let one or our certified (NWFA) consultants assist you in the process.
Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly to remove dirt or grit that can scratch or dull the finish. When using the vacuum, be sure to use the hardwood floor attachment (not the beater bar). Our favorite tool is a microfiber dust mop.
Clean your floor with a mild solution or just plain water (never use abrasive cleaners); spray a mist directly onto wood floor and wipe with a mop. You should avoid wet mopping your wood floors. Save your mop bucket you do not need that much liquid to clean wood floors.
Using floor mats at exterior doors are helpful in trapping dirt, grit and other substances that can otherwise be tracked onto your floors. Areas rugs in high traffic areas will help reduce wear on finish. Avoid using rubber backed mats as they prevent your floor from breathing; with the exception of inside exterior doors to absorb snow and water.
Periodically rearranging your area rugs will allow the flooring to age evenly; UV sunlight will soften the tone of different species of hardwood to varying degrees.
Use floor protectors to minimize scratches from heavy objects. As a rule, the heavier the object, the wider the floor protector should be. Replace plastic furniture wheels with rubber wheels.
Maintain the indoor relative humidity level between 35% and 55% throughout the year to minimize the natural expansion and contraction of wood (see manufactures recommendations).
Use a damp cloth to blot spills and spots promptly. Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your floor.
Be careful with steam cleaning your wood floors, excessive moisture can damage the floor.
Finally, when the finish is showing wear have a professional wood flooring company buff or sand the floors.