What is Cabin Grade Hardwood Flooring?

Have you decided to upgrade to hardwood floors? It’s an enormously popular design choice, but some people are a little put off when they start shopping. That’s because genuine hardwood flooring can be quite expensive. This is mainly because it is constructed from a natural resource rather than being engineered. However, it’s not necessary to let the price of high-quality, genuine hardwood flooring deter you from your dream of having beautiful floors in your home. Perhaps the answer is to choose cabin grade hardwood flooring. What is cabin grade hardwood flooring? Why is it so much more affordable than other types of hardwood flooring? Keep reading to learn more!

How Is Hardwood Flooring Graded?

You know how the eggs at the grocery store are all Grade A? This grade is bestowed on these eggs because they are the most attractive specimens. The less-than-perfect eggs are put to other uses.

It’s kind of the same with hardwood flooring. The grading system looks like this:

  • AB: Prime grade
  • ABC: Select Grade
  • ABCD: Natural grade
  • CD: Rustic grade
  • Cabin: Utility grade

Each piece of hardwood flooring is assigned an appropriate grade based on its imperfections or lack thereof. Boards that have consistent uniformity overall typically will be graded higher than those that have lots of variation to their appearance. In general, the most uniform and attractive boards come from close to the heart of the tree while the area closer to the tree’s layer of bark is more likely to contain imperfections.

Defining Cabin Grade Hardwood Flooring

As you can see from the list above, cabin grade flooring is considered the lowest of the flooring grades. You also may hear it referred to as tavern or shop grade. This is because this hardwood flooring looks extra rustic.

Guess what? That extra-rustic aesthetic may be just what you’re looking for. Simply because these boards aren’t uniform in terms of color and length doesn’t mean that they can’t be made into a fantastic floor that looks amazing in the right setting.

Things like knots, wormholes and mineral stains all can make cabin grade hardwood flooring look different and unique. It doesn’t make them ugly, and this flooring can certainly make a statement in any room.

Why Choose Cabin Grade Hardwood Flooring?

For most people, choosing this type of hardwood flooring really comes down to two factors: cost and aesthetics.

In most instances, cabin grade hardwood flooring can be purchased for less than half of what you might pay for first-quality hardwood flooring.

Imagine being able to have hardwood flooring for less than half of what you might have been expecting to pay.

For many people, it’s a dream come true.

That is especially the case when you consider that your cabin grade hardwood boards probably came from the same tree that yielded boards that were rated AB Prime grade. The only difference is that the cabin boards came from the outer layers of the tree.

However, those boards were milled just like the AB prime grade ones, and they are covered in the same finish.

When you consider these factors, you’ll begin to see that it’s hard to go wrong with cabin grade hardwood flooring.

Of course, some people are less concerned about saving money and are keener about achieving a certain aesthetic in their home. They just love the mosaic look of the cabin grade hardwood flooring. The contrasts between light and dark, the unique characteristics and patterns in the wood, all combine to make a one-of-a-kind floor that still has incredible durability and value.

Why Does Cabin Grade Flooring Look Different?

The unique characteristics in cabin grade flooring usually come from factors such as:

  • Mineral coloration
  • Wormholes
  • Knots
  • Heartwood

When mineral coloration affects the look of flooring, it usually is an attractive, soothing gray color. This discoloration happens because of the high amount of minerals in the soil where the tree was grown.

Wormholes may be seen when insect larva burrows into the outer layers of a tree’s trunk. With the uneven distribution, these are a natural ornamentation that can make your hardwood flooring look much older than it actually is … in a good way!

Knots provide interesting shapes and textures in cabin grade flooring while the use of heartwood can bring interesting color contrasts.

Altogether, these factors can create some really attractive flooring.

A Word About Board Length

If you compare first-quality hardwood flooring with cabin grade hardwood flooring, you will quickly discover that the lengths of these boards vary widely.

While the first-quality flooring boards are closer to a uniform length, usually just over about two feet long, the lengths of the cabin grade flooring tend to be much less predictable. Most of them are less than two feet long, and many of them aren’t even half that size.

What’s going on?

It’s just another facet of the unique characteristics that you get with a cabin grade hardwood floor. Not only will you see tremendous color contrast and extra texture but also you’ll see a great variety in the lengths of boards.

This is another factor that makes each cabin grade hardwood floor distinctive and unique.

Some installers and DIYers are annoyed by the varying lengths. They say that it makes it hard to come up with a design or that it is just more work.

Others actually prefer the shorter board lengths because they have far less tendency to bow. Plus, there is a lot of flexibility in terms of design with all of those unique boards.

Tips to Keep in Mind with Cabin Grade Hardwood Flooring

If you have decided that cabin grade hardwood flooring is right for you, then it’s critical that you buy enough of it to complete your project. Because these boards are imperfect, you or your installer are bound to find that some of the boards just don’t fit or are unusable for some other reason.

Consequently, it’s sensible to buy approximately 20 percent more flooring than your project needs when you are working with this type of flooring.

It’s also a good idea to carefully plan the layout of the boards. If you come across boards that are usable but not as attractive to you as most of the others, then reserve them for the closet or a spot that will be covered by furniture.

Professional installers further recommend that you open several boxes of flooring at once during installation. Some boxes of boards may not match boards from other boxes very well. Placing a full box of “odd” boards together can make one spot on the floor unintentionally eye-catching. However, if you open several boxes at once and mix boards from each box together, the whole look will be more cohesive.

Let’s Talk Quality

While cabin grade hardwood flooring is not the same thing as first-quality hardwood flooring, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting an inferior product.

Things like factory mistakes or boards that have rotten or shattered ends are never included in cabin grade hardwood flooring. This means that you should be able to use and enjoy your incredibly affordable hardwood floor for decades to come.

Talk to Atlas Floors

Hardwood flooring can beautify and add value to any home. That’s why we’re so passionate about helping people upgrade their spaces with gorgeous, genuine hardwood.

At Atlas Floors, we sell every grade of hardwood floor, from Prime to Cabin. This means that we can satisfy anyone’s needs whether they are more influenced by price or aesthetics.

Talk to us today about how accessible and affordable it can be to upgrade your home with hardwood flooring.

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