Wood Products

Wood Products

Hardwood Floors Calgary

General Information on Wood Products

The most common types of hardwood that are used for flooring are Red Oak, White Oak, Maple, Birch, Beech and American Cherry.

These products are all graded for their appearance only. All hardwood within a particular species is of the same quality, that is, it is all the same hardness and stability. Grades refer to the appearance of the wood only. Higher grades are uniform in appearance and the lower the grade, the more variation you will see in the wood.

The names and number of grades varies from specie to specie, below is a chart of some of the most common that shows how they correspond to oak.

Some special grades are Quarter sawn and Rift, which refers to how the wood is milled and Millrun, which has not been sorted and may contain boards from all of the grades.

In Oak, Clear refers to very uniform in colour and appearance. Every board looks much like the others with a predominantly straight grain.

Select and Better is very popular as the colour is consistent but soft grain lends more character to the overall appearance of the floor.

#1 Common shows small pin knots and more variation as dark and light boards are allowed in the mix.

#2 Common provides a fine serviceable floor once it is properly filled. Many clients use this grade with a stain to even out the high degree of variation in colour.

Grading is done entirely by hand and as such shows variations from bundle to bundle. Moreover, grading rules are a guideline with room for movement so that one may find a #1 common that is closer to select, or closer to #2.

Less common, but gaining in popularity are the “exotics”, hardwood from South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

These are typically denser and harder than North American hardwoods and are usually dark in appearance ranging from deep reds to brown, purple or black. They are graded in the country of their origin in a manner similar to North American grading standards. Some are installed as the entire floor, while others are used as a feature strip, inlaid to accent a border or other design.

Some of the more common exotic species are Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry), Merbau, Santos Mahogany, Ipe, Purple Heart, Wenge and Ebony. There are of course many more, just follow the links on our website.


Prefinished flooring is hardwood that has had the finish applied in a factory prior to installation. It roughly follows the grading rules outlined above, but many of the companies producing these products have created their own names and have blended grades to come up with a more marketable product. (For example: Colonial or Natural for a product that may be a combination of #1 and #2).

These finishes are very consistent and can be very durable. Mixed with titanium oxide or aluminum oxide, many carry a 10, 15 or even 25 year wear warranty. But beware, there are some products on the market that have inferior finishes that can wear off shortly after they have been installed. Choose only reputable brands backed up by a N.W.F.A. member company.

These products can be solid hardwood or engineered, hardwood veneer bonded to a plywood core for stability. The solid products should be nailed down and the engineered floors can be nailed, glued or floated, depending upon your application. Check with us as to the product most suited to your project.

Prefinished hardwood provides a strong and blemish free finish as well as a floor that is more convenient to the homeowner. As no sanding on site is required, there is less dust, no “off-gassing” of noxious fumes and should there be damage in the future, boards can be replaced without sanding the entire area to achieve a consistent appearance.

Drop by our showroom to discuss your flooring needs with one of our friendly and highly qualified staff.

Smith Bros Floors – Wood Floors Calgary

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