Utility Grade

Learn more about Utility Grade flooring.

The marks on the boards can be removed using acetone.

The lowest grade of all pre-finished flooring, this grade accepts anything; short pieces, sander burns, splits, large knots, pieces missing a tongue on one end, any and all of these can be in a box of utility grade wood. That being said, it is still pre-finished, solid wood at half the cost of unfinished wood flooring. Because of the large number of boards with a cut end, some homes may require the installation of these boards be in the middle of the floor. You will need to figure 20% waste and you should get a serviceable floor.

  • Expect the majority of boards to be less than 16 inches
  • Expect more waste if your installer does not use the boards with cut ends.
  • Please understand — This is not a $3 wood floor for $1.00, it is a $1 floor for $1.00

At the end of a run the manufacturer often finishes the open box with whatever color is running next. Plan on having one or two mixed boxes.

How much waste should I expect in the Utility Grade?
Who knows? — Although that answer may sound a bit forward, it is very true. Only the customer knows which defects will be thrown away and which will be used.

Knowing what the allowable defects look like will allow you to make an informed decision about how much wood you will need. The following pictures and descriptions will help you.

At a Glance

The following are pictures of open boxes of utility grade hardwood.


Sometimes, during the drying process of wood, a small check will appear.


As the defect name suggests, this is a chip in the wood board


This is a knot in the board.


This is a low spot in a board created by a planer. These are usually not visible until the finish is complete. Planer marks are more noticeable on dark floors.


Below are some samples of whole boxes of Utility Grade wood put together. As you can see, the minute defects create an incredibly unique and distinct looking floor. The grading marks wipe off easily with acetone.



A section of the board was removed from another board because of another defect. We suggest using these as starter boards. Some lots may have more cut ends than you can use as starters. The extras can be used in bedrooms & closets — If you are doing an install that does not have any bedrooms or closets, you should consider buying a higher percentage of waste.

Some lots may contain up to 50% cut ends.


Part of the wood that is torn out during sanding and/or planing.


Many trees are inhabited by worms. As a result, worm holes appear in the boards when they come off the mill.


This is a split in the board.



Because the average board length is an important part to the grading of wood, the majority of our Utility grade will be made up of shorts.