When deciding which look one would like to achieve, the grade of the hardwood flooring selected will have a major effect on the overall look of the space. It’s often overlooked, but is a critical component of pulling together the vision you have for your space. Typically hardwood comes in 3 different grades, every supplier has a name to identify these grades that varies but the premise is still the same; authentic, distinctions, and select and better.  Mercier uses this exact terminology to identify the different grades they offer, Lauzon uses a system that is similar, they’ve both made it easy to identify and  understand which grade will be most appropriate for your space.

Authentic Grade

Hardwood flooring grade

Lauzon, Ambiance Collection, Hickory, Country,Natural


Hardwood grades that look as close to cutting down a tree and creating logs as it gets, is a quick way to describe an authentic graded piece of hardwood. There is no major selection process that occurs, the boards will typically contain all the natural occurrences that is associated with hardwood; filled knots, mineral streaks, checks, and more pronounced variation in appearance, from board to board. Authentic is great for spaces that are centered on created a worn look or rustic quality, like cabin or cottage styled interiors. The above image is a photo of Lauzon’s grade entitled country, which I would please somewhere between Authentic and Distinctions.

Distinctions Grade

Hardwood Flooring grade, Mercier, Westminister,

Mercier, World Attraction Series, Westminster


When it comes to hardwood flooring in the distinctions grade, again you will find that your floors will have mineral streaks and knots, but they will be lesser in occurrence and smaller in size. You will get the occasional check, here and there, and the variation from board to board will be less noticeable than authentic grade hardwood. For most applications hardwood floors graded distinctions is a great choice, especially for those who will be selecting a darker stain, it will not be as important to have very clean boards, as many of the natural occurrences in the hardwood will be masked by the stain anyway.

Select & Better Grade

Hardwood flooring grade, Select and Better, Lauzon, Bianco

Lauzon, Designer Collection, Hampton Series, Hard Maple, Bianco

As the name of this hardwood grade implies, the boards here have been selected to have little to no mineral streaks, knots or checks, only the cleanest boards will be used to create a uniform appearance over all.  Select and Better is a good grade to choose if the hardwood will be a light color, or natural, it will look the most polished, and will fit in well with contemporary or modern spaces.