Hardwood Characteristics

Hardwood, Laminate, and Vinyl flooring are all unique and can consists of many traits that can vary caused from sourcing of the material, the manufacturing process, and simply the natural differences found from one type of lumber to the next. Due to these unique qualities, your newly installed floor may vary from samples and pictures shown or can have differences in the milling from what you expected. To help inform our customers ahead of purchasing, below are some common examples you can expect from this extraordinary material.


  • Changes in Color: Over time, a floors colors will change with exposure to artificial and natural light. These changes are normal, and to be expected. To avoid the appearance of discoloration, you should occasionally move area rugs and furniture to promote even light exposure. Some wood species color changes are more dramatic than others. For example, Brazilian Cherry and Tigerwood become deeper and redder with light exposure over time. Brazilian Cherry can even start out a golden color before darkening to the reddish-brown tone that it is known for.
  • Display Boards & Sample Pieces: Display boards and sample cuts are available for most products to help a customer view an item ahead of ordering. These displays and samples are produced and sorted by the manufacturer of the floor with boards typically pulled at random. These samples work well to help show a small area of the product, although these are unlikely to show all traits of the product itself. Because of this, samples will not be able to show every color tone, natural trait, milling design, or other wood characteristics that the item may provide. It is common for customers to receive their order and have additional traits from what were seen in the sample pieces or display board. Manufacturers will not allow returns because of this, so it is important that the customer fully understands the wood species and grade they are choosing ahead of placing an order. For a better representation, it is recommended customers order a full carton/bundle ahead of ordering to being able to see a much larger area that is likely to show more of the wood traits.
  • Natural Movement: Seasonal moisture and temperature levels will cause planks to expand and contract and can even do so during natural acclimation before installation. Though this may give the appearance of gaps or cracks in your floor during installation, this is not considered a product defect by the manufacturer. Maintaining a home between 35%-55% relative humidity will help assure the minimum amount of movement due to the floors' moisture content. For floor care after installation, we recommend you follow the guidelines set by the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association). Engineered, laminate, and vinyl flooring are manufactured with better stability to combat these issues, but can still be susceptible to these same issues and must follow the same moisture guidelines.
  • Natural Variations: Just as no two trees are identical, no two wood planks have identical grains, hues, and textures. Naturally occurring wood can have knots, mineral streaks, and other natural characteristics that will vary in design. Colors can vary from one lot to the next with one order being more consistent, while the next shows a higher percentage of differences. These are all natural traits of the species and are unavoidable with wood flooring making each flooring project one-of-a-kind. Nature Wood Floors is not responsible for differences in appearance from one lot to the next, too much or not enough color variations or characteristics, or samples/displays being different from the final product. 
  • Board Lengths: Flooring will come in a variety of lengths with most giving dimensions for where the lengths can fall between. (For example; 1'-7' Random Lengths). Whatever lengths are given for a product, a typical result for products will see the majority of lengths that fall in the middle of the length range, with only a small amount or possibly no pieces being of the minimum or maximum length. For example, when given 1'-7' lengths, most of the boards will likely fall between 2'-5'. Same guidelines would apply for longer length options. Products are allowed to NOT give you a length specified in the description. For Example: Ordering a 1'-7' Random Length product and not receiving any 6' or 7' lengths, or ordering a 2'-10' Random Length product but not receiving any 9' or 10' lengths. This may happen and still be acceptable. This is because the purpose of the mentioned lengths is to give you a certain average range. Just because there are no 9' or 10' lengths does not mean you are not getting the average that is expected. In this case, if you still have a good amount of the lengths that fall around 5'-8', then you are still getting the expected average above the standard 1'-7' option.

Certain species or grades that are meant to have a more natural characteristic look may have a lower average length than other species or higher-grade products. For Example: A Select Grade may give you a 4' average, but a #2 Common in the same lineup may only give you a 2 1/2' average. Same is applied when comparing different species. Pine trees grow very tall, which helps the result of flooring have a longer length average. But when compared to Walnut trees, which grow much shorter, they will give a lesser average length even in the same grade when compared to each other.

Nature Wood Floors is not responsible for replacing material or refunding a customer because the average lengths was not what they expected or if a product did not come with enough of a certain length. This is a natural product which makes every order random with lengths and averages varying from order to order.

  • Width Variations: Wood planks can have width variations among the boards you receive. For example, a floor may be labeled as a 5" wide plank, but some boards may come in at 4 15/16" or 4 7/8". There may also be boards that start at a certain width on one end, but are off by a 1/16", 1/8", or even a 1/4" width on the other. This can happen for multiple reasons with the most common happening because of slight miscuts during the milling process or a difference in moisture levels in the wood that cause the boards to either expand or contract. This tends to occur more frequently in wider plank sizes, denser wood species, and lower grade wood products. These differences are common among wood floors and are NOT considered a defect by the manufacturer. No returns or refunds will be given based on a width variation claim. An experienced installer understands how to work with these differences and can limit them with specific board placement and using certain boards at walls where cuts are needed. Areas that may have differences or gaps after installation are expected to be filled with a matching wood putty to the species of the wood.
  • Nominal Measurements: Nominal is a common term mentioned in the hardwood flooring business and is used with all products from Nature Wood Floors. This allows for lengths, widths, and thickness to differ slightly from what dimensions are described in a products specification. (For example: a 5" wide board may actually be 4 7/8" wide or a 1'-7' Random Length product ends up having a 9" piece in the lot). Lengths may have a short length beyond the given dimensions which can be considered part of the installation waste you expected. Width differences can sometimes affect repair jobs when trying to replace damaged wood with a new product that is not from the original mill. The thickness can also be less than the stated product. This is commonly caused when a board starts off a certain thickness, but then is milled, sanded, and possibly textured to now have a thinner finished product.
  • Tongue & Groove: Tongue & Grooves assist in the installation of your flooring product. These can consist of a traditional Tongue & Groove that slides into one another or may be a clicking system that is more common on floating floors. It is important to understand that Tongue & Grooves are unique to their own product and can NEVER be assumed that one Tongue & Groove can work with another product. This is also true in any situation where new material is needed to combine with previously existing material, even if it is from the same manufacturer. This is because manufacturers may decide to improve their tongue and groove system or may need to update their milling equipment which can change the size or design of the previous tongue and groove. If you are wanting to combine two separate products or are wanting to combine new material with previously existing material, it is recommended that customers order a sample ahead of placing an order to confirm the milling profile.
  • Natural Waste: Hardwood flooring is a natural product and no matter how high of quality a product is, you can always expect a certain amount of waste that needs to be factored in. 5% is allowed for boards with waste that can consist of certain milling or finish defects. When measuring your product, be sure to allow for 5% of milling or finish defects, as well as an additional 5% for cutting waste during installation. Damage occurred during transit cannot be foretold, so it is also part of the 5% expected imperfections in the wood. Freight claims can only be made when the shipping damage, plus defects, goes above 5% of the ordered material. In which case, shipping damage must be noted on the delivery receipt when signing for the material.
  • Moldings & Stair Parts: Products such as Moldings, Trim pieces, Stair Parts, and other accessory items are available and made to blend with a particular flooring product. These pieces are commonly produced at a different location, or even a 3rd party company, which means they are not made at the same time as the flooring. Lumber used is likely to be sourced differently causing natural color and character variations. The stain and finishing process may also be done differently from how the flooring is done, which can cause additional color or texture differences. Because of this, accessory pieces are allowed by the manufacturer to have noticeable variations, textures, and even slight differences in size when compared to the floor. (Ex: Stair Nose slightly thicker or thinner than the floor thickness). Colors may end up having a different tone than the floor, while still blending with the color variations you receive in the flooring boards.

    Accessory pieces can also vary in dimensions or profile design from one order to the next. This  is considered common and acceptable by the manufacturer based on the amount of different molding manufacturers there are, and their right to update molding profiles as they see fit. If placing an order that you are wanting to combine new material with previously existing material, customers are NEVER to assume the moldings ordered will match with previously ordered moldings. Always ask one of our reps before placing an order if you are wanting to combine two separate products or want to combine new material with previously existing material.