When searching for the cheapest hardwood flooring for your house or outbuilding, there is another type that you might miss. Uncommonly advertised by flooring manufacturers or displayed normally. Salespeople rarely steer customers toward it. Yet it is a real, 100-per cent hardwood flooring and is inexpensive. In fact, relative to the high cost of hardwood flooring, it is extremely cheap.

This hardwood flooring is not for everybody and usually not for every space in a home. It is called rustic grade hardwood flooring.

Rustic flooring explained

Rustic grade flooring is usually different from other hardwoods that are identified merely as rustic. In the flooring industry, rustic most often state appearance, not a composition. Nearly any type of flooring, even non-wood-flooring, can be tagged with this rustic designation: laminate, luxury vinyl plank, even ceramic tile in plank form. When any flooring has a wood look usually with a heavily distressed appearance, this always means that it will have that designation: rustic.

Rustic grade hardwood flooring is different. This term is used by the flooring industry to designate hardwood that falls below the natural grade flooring, which is compatible for all residential indoor installations. Rustic grade hardwood usually is called #2, tavern, or cabin grade flooring. Its flooring quality is poorer than natural grade flooring. Its random lengths can sometimes be shorter than regular raw material flooring, which itself can be short.

Quality of rustic flooring boards

The main feature that separates rustic-grade from natural-grade solid hardwood and especially from veneer-bonded engineered wood flooring is its flooring imperfections. Rustic grade tends to have a huge number of knots, knot-holes, and other open spaces.

Rustic grade flooring may also have grease, pencil, or Sharpie marks, deeply engrained dirt, and watermarks that need heavy sanding to remove.

Structurally, rustic grade hardwood flooring may have broken tongues, broken grooves, split ends, and severely warped boards.

Where to install rustic grade hardwood flooring

Rustic grade hardwood flooring is not recommended for all areas of the house. In fact, true to one of its alternate names, “cabin-grade”, this type of flooring is normally installed in spaces other than primary residences. Rustic grade hardwood flooring may be acceptable for primarily residential use for some people. More homeowners, though, will find it primitive in their living rooms and bedrooms.

Generally, you would never want to install rustic grade wood flooring in any room where people usually walk in bare feet or with socks. Typical locations and uses include:

•Home gyms

Rustic hardwood flooring dimensions

Rustic grade hardwood flooring is found in the same dimensions as natural grade flooring, such as 3/4-inch by 2 1/2-inch. Other common widths for rustic grade hardwood are 3 1/4-inch, 4-inch, and 4 1/4-inch. Plank-width rustic grade hardwood flooring can be found, but the cupping of imperfect boards will be more obvious than with narrower boards.

Lengths of rustic grade hardwood floorboards can change from brand to brand, and even within just a single brand. But this is for sure: Rarely ever will you find a bundle of long and having the same form floorboards.

Nested bundle rustic grade boards come as short as 10 inches and sometimes as long as 6 feet. Quantities of lengths should be equalled out within the bundle so that you do not have far more of one length than the other. If your nested bundle is composed of only shortboards, it will ruin the appearance of the flooring. It will take time to install and the finished project will look chaotic. Make sure ahead of time that you have a lot of long, medium, and shortboards.

Groups of random short and longboards are called nested bundles within the flooring industry. Nested is an appropriate term because when you look at the bundle from afar, it looks to be a set of longboards. Only closer will you notice that some of these apparently longboards are composed of two, three, or even four shorter boards set on-end