Wood Flooring Shorts

Wood flooring shorts can be sold in any grade. When the customer wants only 3’+ longer flooring, then the shorter flooring taken out of the lot has to be sold separate and at a lower price. There is also flooring available at 6” to 9” shorts, which can be in both Select and also Common Grade.

Whether it be Select Grade or Common Grade, the grading of the flooring does not have to do with the integrity of the flooring itself. That is, the durability of the floor is the same no matter what grade it is. The grain that runs along each board is the same, no matter what grade it is. That grain is tight in some areas and wider in other areas, evidenced when you stain the floor. When you stain a floor some of the very same board is darker than other areas of the board. This is due to the fact that part of the board that had open (“wider”) grade received more stain and so it ends up being darker. The part of the board that is lighter is tighter-grained flooring, and not as much stain penetrated the wood. If you look at wood under a microscope, it looks like a honeycomb. As you move the microscope along the board, you will see that the “honeycomb look” of the wood is narrower in some places than others. This makes for what we call open or tight grain features as you go along the board. This is how nature produces wood. It also shows why one end of a board can expand and contract differently than the other end of a long board. This is because the grain is not the same throughout.

Wood flooring shorts are most likely to be found in more narrowly cut flooring; that is, flooring 1 ½” to about 6” wide. This is because it doesn’t make much sense to have an 8” wide plank that is only 12” long where you’d effectively end up with a square tile.

In general, using wood flooring shorts as part of your installation will require a little more labor and filling.


“Cabin” or “tavern” grade prefinished flooring, however, has the same qualities as unfinished factory seconds. This flooring may, in fact, be graded as unfinished hardwood, and the finish is later applied. This is not always the case, and finished hardwood that does not meet the manufacturer’s standards will also be given a “value grade” label and sold as economy flooring.


Economy flooring has certain advantages. The cost per foot may be 50-percent less than the manufacturer's standard prices, for example. For installation, however, economy flooring does not come with a warranty, and because of irregularities, more than one box, or at least 10 percent more, of hardwood needs to be purchased.