Hardwood Flooring & Installation
StairSteps only supplies 100% Canadian hardwood flooring.
Our service area mainly focuses on the Oakville, Mississauga and Toronto area's. Although there are many different manufacturers and origins of hardwood flooring, if You are looking to install any Hardwood flooring we can give you the best product on the market today, and install it with accurately. We are extremely detail oriantated.
We are not a store. We are a professional installation company with vast experience in hardwoods. We know what brands and grades have met our previous customer's standards.
We understand that consumers are extremely vigilant with regards to the prices they are willing to pay when hardwood flooring is concerned. This is totally understandable, as we would feel the same way. But problems arise when retailers do not fully explain the grading system.
How Important Are Hardwood Grades
Notice the difference in board widths. The top-left board is the correct size at 3 1/4", the top-right board is 3/16" thinner at 3 1/16". This particular hardwood was rated "Select grade". These two boards were pulled from the same box.
So how can you tell if the hardwood flooring that you are considering is justly graded Select and better, or Select?
Is the grading system Standard across the industry?
Select and Select and Better grade's are standard amongst hardwood flooring manufacturers. The problem is that a manufacturer has the ability to determine these grades to a certain extent. For example a Select grade of one particular brand can be as good as, or even better than a Select and Better grade of another brand. Knowing and using different brands familiarizes one with that particular manufacturers standard and consistency. For example, we frequently use a Select grade Canadian hardwood that has an exceptional drying and milling process, yields several 6 to 7 foot boards in every box and carries a price tag cheaper than all "Real" Select and Better grade hardwood flooring.
What does this mean? Well, it means that you may not have to pay an unnecessary premium for hardwood flooring that carries a meaningless sticker on the box.
In our experience, grades that one should generally stay away from, are boxes that carry the names, "Rustic", "Country", "Mill", "Pioneer" and "Pub" to name a few. With that said you may find other grades which are not necessarily sub-par but are more subjective to ones taste. For example "charactor grade" has been known to have beautiful milling, but showcases more natural characteristics in the wood like Oak or Hickory knotts. Again this comes down to the manufacturer.
So as you can see it's not so "cut and dried", but hardwood flooring manufacturers that have been around for many years are typically doing something right.
Hardwood Flooring Grades
Select and Better grade is meant to be the "Cream of the crop" of Hardwood floors. With Select and Better grade hardwood flooring you should find the following true. Although, you must keep in mind, a manufacturer can place a select and Better sticker on it's product at his discretion. The grade posted is as only as good as the manufacturer posting it.
Select grade hardwood is a shade lower that Select and Better. Many of the Select grade boards are actually capable of making the Select and Better grade. But it will also contain boards that may have some slight defects.
In order for "Select" grade hardwood to consist of superior quality than the lower grades, it still must (or should) have a minimum of defects. In our experience the most common issue with regards to Select grade hardwood is the milling. Again keep in mind this will depend on the manufacturer as to what "Select" grade comprises of.
Here is where you especially have to "dot your I's and cross your T's". If you do not see a posted grade, you best be careful. If the grade is not either Select and Better or Select, than depending on the manufacturer, it will carry a name such as
In our experience, purchasing these types of grades are usually a problem. Mind you, there are some manufacturers who produce a suitable "C" grade, although you will not find any long boards and there will be at least some milling issues.
The moral of the "Hardwood Grade" story is, that it is extremely advantageous to have installed different brands and their varying grades. Only then, can someone truly know where the real value lies. And yes..... We have done that.