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Cabin Grade vs. First Quality: Which is cheaper? View all Articles

This price comparison may surprise you....

It is important for our customers to realize that in many cases there is less than a 10% price difference in the total installed price of cabin grade versus first quality wood.

The primary reason for such a slight price difference is that when purchasing cabin grade wood, you need to buy 15% extra to account for culling the unusable wood compared to only 5% extra when purchasing first quality wood. Your installer will charge you, and rightfully so, for all the wood he handles, not just the dimensions of the space being covered. Also, in many cases there may be an additional charge by your installer for installing cabin grade wood.

So at the very least, you are buying 10% more cabin grade wood and also paying for 10% more wood to be installed.

The Numbers

For this comparison, we are using Bruce's Dundee Plank, our most popular wood in both first quality and cabin grade. We will compare an average 650 square foot installation using professional installers.

Bruce's cabin grade Dundee, which is actually called Timberland, Value Grade, or TW (tavern with warranty), these carry a 5 year finish warranty only. Other tavern or cabin grade wood usually carries no warranty at all.

The chart below shows the cost of using cabin grade for the 650 square foot installation using professional installers:

Material cost per square foot $2.79
Installation cost per square foot $2.50
Square feet, or room size 650
Wood needed to do the job (15%) extra 747.5
Total wood (remember, 22 sf per box) 748 sf
Total material cost (2.79 x 748) $2086.92
Total installation cost (2.50 x 748) $1870.00
Total cost $3,956.92

Running line, first quality, 25 year finish and structural warranty. Consistent color, no missing tongues or large knot holes. The chart below shows the cost of using the first quality for the 650 square foot installation using professional installers:

Material cost per square foot $3.79
Installation cost per square foot $2.50
Square feet, or room size 650
Wood needed to do the job (5%) extra 682.5
Total wood (remember, 22 sf per box) 682 sf
Total material cost (3.79 x 682) $2584.78
Total installation cost (2.50 x 682) $1705.00
Total cost $4,289.78

$4,289.78 - $3956.92 = $332.86 difference in fully warranted first quality Dundee Plank vs. Tavern Grade Dundee Plank.

Don't forget that many installers charge extra to install tavern or cabin grade wood. An additional $.50 or $374 would actually make the first quality wood cheaper.

Always Shop and Compare

There are times when purchasing a tavern or cabin grade wood floor can mean significant savings. You may find a $5 or $6 per square foot floor for only $2. The wood may be very clean and you are happy with the overall look of the finished floor. You also may be installing the wood yourself so the extra installation charge would not be a factor. But as our cost comparison shows, it is best to shop and compare. If you are only saving $1 per square foot for cabin or tavern grade wood, you might be happier with the price as well as the look of the first quality floor.

Also, be sure to check out the Carpet Express Blog for more great insight to the floorcovering industy. There you will find new product additions, an Ask the Experts section, and much more.