Choosing Your Wood

Three Factors that Affect Floorboard Quality

With so many wood flooring products on the market, it can seem daunting to know which product will be right for your home. You probably know that the type of wood flooring you choose can have a huge impact on the décor. However, there is more to consider than just the appearance when choosing your hardwood flooring.

Consider these three factors:

  • Milling
  • Dimensions (length and thickness)
  • Wear-Layer

As a homeowner, it’s not your job to pick quality products (unless you buy your own prefinished product). But just being aware of these issues will allow you to ask educated questions and find out if your professional is using quality products.


Milling is the process of cutting trees into hardwood flooring. A good mill will have tight specs, which will give the flooring a nice tight tongue and groove and also a uniform thickness and width. In addition, better milling will minimize overwood.  Overwood occurs when individual flooring boards don’t match up in height to the boards around it. All flooring will have some overwood. The more overwood your floor has, the more labor will go into sanding unfinished wood or making bigger bevels for prefinished woods. In other words, purchasing better-milled materials upfront can reduce labor costs during installation.

Length and Thickness:

The average length of the flooring boards is mostly a aesthetic issue. Too many “short boards” can make a floor look busy. Some rustic or “common” styles use the busier, short boards. Ultimately, it’s up to you. For traditional and contemporary hardwood floors, good average lengths can range from 30” to 45.”  As far as thickness goes, the industry standard for unfinished wood is 3/4.” For prefinished products, the preferred thickness is still 3/4,” but there are some good options that are 1/2.”


The wear-layer is the amount of wood that can be sanded. On solid products, this is measured from the top of the flooring to the top of the groove. If the wear-layer gets too thin, the wood can break at the groove. On engineered products, the wear-layer is the thickness of the top veneer. Inexpensive products often have paper-thin veneers that tend to check and split within a few years time. Many of the high-quality engineered products are 5/8,” however, they have quality wear-layers because they use 4-6mm rotary-sawn veneers.

  • What our customers have to say…

    “We so appreciate Jim’s professionalism, honesty, respect, eye to detail, and woodworking skill. He is a perfectionist not only with the install but also with the cleanup at the end of each day. Our beautiful new floors have dramatically changed the look of our home and everyone who comes to visit will comment on the change. We are extremely happy with our new floors.”

    Ron and Carol Halverson, West Fargo, ND

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