Hardwood for flooring comes in several different grades. The grades are indicators of the type of grain and the number of imperfections in the wood. For example, the highest grade of wood has no knots, no machining marks, and a very consistent grain pattern. Alternately, the lowest grade of wood, typically known as cabin grade, has knots and other imperfections. The lower grades with imperfections are often desired for use in rustic interior design schemes. Engineered hardwood is often used as well for many practical as well as economic benefits. However, engineered hardwood is typically in higher grades of wood. Can you get cabin grade engineered hardwood?
Engineered hardwood planks are made of layers of hardwood sawdust or chipped hardwood that is formed into plies. The top layer of the plank is the hardwood veneer. So, you might have plywood layers of chipped white oak with a veneer of cherry. That would make the entire floor look cherry; it’s a very affordable way to get a great hardwood floor because so much less of the expensive hardwood is needed. That’s why most engineered hardwood is clear grade; it’s easier to find sufficient amount of high grade wood if you only need thin veneers. Cabin-grade engineered hardwood is not unheard of, though. You can find cabin-grade engineered hardwood from several different suppliers.
Why Cabin Grade?
Cabin-grade engineered hardwood is popular for several different reasons. The engineered hardwood is popular because it is less likely to cup or warp when humidity changes. Also, it typically costs less than solid hardwood. Cabin-grade wood is desirable because the imperfections look rustic, which works well with certain design schemes. Long though to be undesirable, cabin-grade wood is surging in popularity. The surge in popularity is driven by new emphasis on rustic and authentic types of hardwood flooring.
That includes hand-scraped hardwood flooring or wire-brushed hardwood flooring. Hand-scraped hardwood flooring mimics the style of smoothing the surface of wood before sandpaper was invented. A draw knife was used to plane the surface of the wood to make it smooth. Wire brushing could also be used; however, the wood veneer for an engineered hardwood floor is very thin. You’ll need to make sure that you buy it hand-scraped or wire-brushed because the veneer can only withstand so much removal.
Cabin-grade engineered hardwood is not always very easy to find, but many manufacturers make it, and more are beginning to produce it.