Get Floored: The Floor & Decor Blog

Why Grade Level Matters When Selecting Hardwood

There’s a lot to consider when you’re shopping for hardwood floors, whether you’re shopping by color and style or finish and durability. But what is also important is on which floor of the home you’re installing hardwood.

While shopping for hardwood floors, you’ll notice that there are both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floors. While both are real hardwood floors, they come with key differences, one of which is the grade level of the home that they are being installed. By understanding what the home’s grade levels are, you can understand what is best suited for your project.

What are Grade Levels?

Simply put, the grade level is essentially the floor/story of your home. The basement would be below grade, your first floor (living rooms, kitchens, etc.) are on grade, your second story and above (bedrooms, master bathrooms, etc.) are above grade.

Why Do the Grade Levels Matter?

Since floor levels experience varying degrees of humidity and temperature changes that can affect the wood, the type of hardwood you install matters.

Here’s the Point: Solid vs Engineered Hardwood

Engineered can go on any grade level, but solid cannot. While solid is suitable for on or above grade level, DO NOT install solid hardwood below grade level. Solid hardwood is susceptible to warping from moisture while engineered hardwood is not.

Hardwood Grade Levels

If you want to work with a professional to see which hardwood floors are best for your space, a friendly and knowledgeable associate is waiting to help at your local Floor & Decor. For more information about the differences between solid and engineered hardwood, read our hardwood buying guide.