Tavern Grade Flooring

Tavern Grade FlooringTavern grade flooring may be your best bet for saving on hardwood. Grading, if you are not aware, is based on the appearance of the hardwood – not the physical quality – and tavern grade's patina of visible knots, mineral streaks, and color variation do not meet a manufacturers' expectations. As a result, tavern grade hardwood is priced significantly less than Clear, Select, and #1 and #2 Common flooring, sold at $0.89 to $1.19 per square foot.

Tavern grade flooring is seldom found in retail stores, although distributors offer products like Bruce's Timberland Collection™. Selections, however, vary monthly and are dependent on lists from mills.

While tavern grade hardwood typically has a greater-than-average abundance of character marks, lower quality may also be the result of poor milling. Such signs include voids, tree bark edges, missing tongues, splits, checks, or windshake. Some of these features, especially rounded edges or missing tongues, make installation difficult. Boards may not line up or, if they do, the surface of the floor is uneven.

Wood flooring shorts may also have a tavern grade. Often the scraps from higher-quality hardwood, shorts are eight to 12 inches long. A floor covered in shorts tends to have a choppy appearance, but these small pieces can be practical for lining closets or narrow hallways with hardwood.

Purchasing tavern grade flooring has advantages and disadvantages. On the positive end, the flooring is considerably cheaper than higher-grade hardwood and is perfect for those looking for a rustic character. On the other hand, tavern grade flooring often does not come with a manufacturer's warranty and, in order to compensate for unusable boards, a larger amount needs to be purchased – about 10 to 15 percent more. Before purchasing, inquire with the distributor or manufacturer why a particular shipment of hardwood is marked "tavern grade."

Tavern Grade Flooring

Grading for unfinished flooring is straightforward and based on standards set by the National Wood Flooring Association, but prefinished hardwood is based on manufacturers' descriptions, used solely for marketing purposes. Where does tavern grade flooring fall in all of this? For prefinished flooring, hardwood may be labeled tavern grade before or after a finish is added. Tavern grade products may also be called "character," but not always for prefinished flooring. If you are considering tavern grade prefinished flooring, make sure that the product you are buying is truly value and not intentionally-distressed hardwood.