- a.) National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association. In 2000, NOFMA changed its name to -- NOFMA: The Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association.
- b.) Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA).
NOFMA moisture content standard- flooring is manufactured at 6-9% moisture content with a 5% allowance for pieces outside that range to 12% moisture content. This standard is in place so that users of the product will know what to expect and are able to acclimate the product appropriately for the conditions in which it will be permanently installed. The 6-9% range was selected because this range is consistent with the average humidity levels in a majority of the geographic regions of the United States.
NOFMA configuration standard- 3/4” and 1/2” thick flooring is manufactured to the shape of the NOFMA standardization drawing. NOFMA supplies its members with a metal flooring Go/No-Go flooring gauge to check this configuration. There is also a standard for 3/8” thick flooring, but no member is manufacturing this product at this time. The flooring gauge measures tongue and groove match on the sides (or side match), flooring thickness and flooring width. This standard helps to ensure that the tongues fit snugly in the grooves, and each piece of flooring is consistent in face width and thickness, within certain tolerances. These standards address issues such as overwood, loose match (can cause noisy floors) and gaps caused by inconsistent widths.
NOFMA grading standard- Flooring is separated by appearance characters described in the Official Flooring Grading Rules. Flooring is considered “on grade” (meeting the grading standard) if 5% or less in feet is in the wrong (does not conform to the description for that grade). Grade primarily addresses issues that affect how a floor will look after it is installed. Included in grading standards are issues related to natural characteristics as well as manufacturing marks (sticker stain, for example) and issues such as average length and end-squareness.
The combination of these three standards is what determines the suitability of a wood flooring product to a particular end use.
MFMA Grading Rules recommends the maintenance of 6 to 9% average moisture content following manufacture. The rules also state that:
Flooring shall not be considered of specified grade unless the lumber from which MFMA-RL flooring is manufactured has been properly kiln dried.
MFMA flooring configuration standard includes 1/2”, 23/32”, and 33/32” thick flooring. This is different from the NOFMA standard 3/4” configuration. However, NOFMA recognizes these as optional thicknesses for its members that manufacture maple flooring. MFMA also has provisions that allow for finger jointed flooring assembled from standard pieces to be included under its specification umbrella.
The MFMA installation standards illustrate and describe typical systems and the components required in the installation of sports floors. The association also has provision for finish testing and conformance to their performance standard of site-applied finish. A list of conforming finishes, grading information, performance criteria, and other information is available on their website www.maplefloor.org.
All the above relates to unfinished solid wood flooring.
What about Engineered and solid factory finished flooring? What are the industry standards?As for engineered wood flooring, the Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association has established an ANSI standard for engineered wood flooring manufacturers. This standard addresses issues specific to the manufacture of engineered wood floors and it is recognized by NOFMA as the appropriate industry standard for these products.
Factory finished solid wood flooring products are addressed to some degree in the NOFMA Official Flooring Grading Rules. However, at this time no factory finished flooring manufacturer describes its products by the terms used by NOFMA. Instead, the majority of factory finished solid producers describe their products as conforming to their own proprietary guidelines. The wise purchaser of these products will become familiar with the manufacturer’s proprietary standards to avoid unpleasant dispute resolution later on. The fact that most producers have their own set of standards for factory finished products does not exempt those products from more generally accepted industry standards, however. With factory finished flooring the NOFMA’s standards for moisture content, configuration of tongue and groove, width consistency, and the “up to 5% allowance for out of character boards” are still applicable standards. The NOFMA standard for thickness variance (“overwood”) also applies, but many industry observers believe the NOFMA overwood standard needs revision since the current standard varies with the NOFMA grade description. Under this section the most lenient overwood standard for factory finished flooring is 0.020”. Until the industry feels further standards are necessary, the proprietary items of-appearance or grade, finish performance, allowed finish irregularities, allowed “overwood/underwood,” allowed crook and bow, and edge configuration-are all established by the individual manufacturer.
As a user of solid unfinished wood products you should expect the flooring to be manufactured to the industry standard. With products manufactured by members of the MFMA or NOFMA, you can be assured of proper manufacture. And, you have the assurance that when problems are identified by the associations’ representatives as manufacturing-related they will be settled. With factory finished products the industry standard as it relates to moisture content and configuration is established, but when issues arise about finish, the directives established by the individual manufacturer prevail.