Value Grade Flooring

At least one of two factors can get hardwood labeled as "value grade flooring": appearance or milling. Value grade flooring has certain advantages, specifically the price. Sold 50-percent lower than standard-grade hardwood, value wood flooring is often $0.89 to $1.19 per square foot.

Finding value grade flooring, however, is a difficult task, as most retailers do not carry it. Even at distributors like Hurst Hardwoods, the selection of value grade flooring varies. Dependent on what or what does not meet a manufacturer's standards, a monthly list is issued from a mill of which species and types of hardwood are being sold as value grade. Popular lines of value grade flooring include The Timberland Collection™ by Bruce Hardwoods and Robbins and Hartco products by Armstrong.

When it comes to appearance, value grade flooring is dotted by knots and mineral streaks and has noticeable color variation, including greens and black. Other variations include splits, checks, and windshake in the face of the hardwood.

Poor milling, however, can get hardwood sold as factory seconds, and such flooring is difficult to install. Voids on bottoms, tree bark edges, missing tongues, or irregular edges may make boards not fit together, or they can result in an uneven floor surface.

Putting a Label on It

Value grade flooring is also labeled as "tavern," "character," or "cabin" grade or "factory seconds," and all terms pertain to the same type of product, except when used for prefinished flooring. Character grade prefinished flooring is often distressed by the manufacturer, and even with visible knots and streaks, this hardwood costs more than value products. Cabin or tavern grade prefinished flooring, on the other hand, is a value product. The wood may have been relegated to value grade flooring before or after being finished, but in either instance, the product is not up to the manufacturer's standards.


Because of visual and structural variations for value grade flooring, purchasing a larger quantity than what you expect to use is recommended. At least 10-percent more should be purchased, if not another box. Although value grade flooring is installed like any other hardwood, the product does not have a warranty from the manufacturer.