the Top 6 Hardwood Flooring types

Hardwood is one of the most sought-after flooring types because of its timeless beauty and durability. The boards of hardwood floors are made from pieces of wood that are cut from different tree species. First, the tree is cut into logs then the logs are sawed to make planks. Then, manufacturers process the wood into solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring or acrylic impregnated wood flooring.

There are many types of hardwood flooring. Some of the common hardwood floor species include oak, tigerwood, amendoim, pecan, walnut, teak, European white oak, bamboo, maple, acacia, ash, hickory, cherry, mahogany, Brazilian cherry, and birch.

How do you establish a dream wood flooring species for your residential or commercial property with over ten different hardwood flooring types in the market?

In this article, we review the top six hardwood flooring types.

How Different are Hardwood Flooring Tree Species?

Hardwoods commonly used in floor installations in the USA are classified into two categories. Namely, domestic and exotic wood flooring species. Some of the domestic wood species in the USA include walnut, ash, birch, American cherry, maple, and red oak. Exotic tree species are amendoim, Brazilian cherry, bamboo, tigerwood, among others.

Each tree species has its pros and cons. The species have a unique cellular structure that makes them have different physical properties. Although they are all hardwood floors, their qualities vary. Also, the grain patterns, color, and hardness of domestic and exotic hardwoods are different. Besides, the flooring wood species have different prices.

Janka Hardness Scale for Wood Flooring Species

The Janka Wood Rating System measures the hardness of wood to determine its suitability to a certain function. You can use this rating system when selecting hardwood flooring for your residential or commercial property.

Most Popular Hardwood Floor Species in the USA

Below is a hardwood flooring species comparison of the most popular floor species. The five include both domestic wood flooring species and exotic wood flooring species.

1. Oak

Oak is the most abundant wood in the USA. It is the flooring you will find in most homes in America because it is a practical flooring type. Oak is durable, and it is among the cheapest hardwood floor species. Besides, oak has more aesthetic advantages than hickory because it can be stained either dark, medium or light-colored. Its strong grains hide flooring dents and scratches more than other hardwoods, making it suitable for homes with pets and kids. What’s more, it hides stains more successfully than other hardwood floors.

There are two types of oak species used in flooring; white oak and red oak. Red and white oaks are so-called because of the bark color and not wood, although both have pink undertones. Red oak’s tinted and natural color is not easy to define; it has some light pink, red and cream; therefore, it is called red oak. It is more popular than white oak, and it is a favorite flooring option because it is stain-friendly, meaning that you have a wider variety of color choices. That also gives you an option to change the look in the future. It has a good Janka rating of 1290.

White oak is harder than red oak. It has a Janka rating of  1360, which means that it is a stable hardwood flooring option. Its natural wood color is gray to a golden brown. White oak is popular among homeowners and designers who want to avoid the red of red oak wood flooring.

2. Hickory

Hickory is the hardest wood flooring species available commercially, with a Janka rating of 1820. It is also referred to as pecan. In the past, hickory was a popular flooring option, but red oak wood has been overtaken. Hickory is becoming popular in manufacturing engineered wood. Using hickory produces a rustic outlook that is beautiful, and that is why it is still a popular flooring option. It has a creamy to medium brown color.

3. Maple

Maple has a natural creamy color. It’s lighter in color than oak and may appear yellow in a well-lit room. If you want to achieve a whitewash or grey look, maple will do it best. However, it is not as stain-friendly as oak. Homeowners who want a natural-finish floor use it to achieve the effect. Its sturdiness makes it resistant to scratches and dents. Maple is a popular gymnasium flooring type. There are many species of maple with different Janka ratings.

4. Bamboo

Surprisingly, bamboo is grass and not really a tree, yet some species are as hard as hardwood trees. Moreover, it is affordable. Also, it is an eco-friendly flooring type, and that is why it is growing in popularity. Bamboo is less expensive than oak, but prices can vary depending on different species. You can glue bamboo on concrete floors, and it works as a cost-effective flooring type, especially for condos.

However, you should only purchase bamboo flooring from a reputable supplier because some species will not hold up. Also, bamboo floors are not easy to maintain and may show dents and stains. They are also sensitive to water. In addition to that, bamboo cannot be sanded like oak flooring.

5. Walnut

Popularly referred to as American Black Walnut, it is one popular flooring option that provides a classy look. It has a Janka rating of 1010, and as such, it is not as hard as other flooring options mentioned in this article. Walnut is chocolate brown, which gives rooms a sophisticated and warm feeling. Exposure to light tends to make the wood lighter with time. Because of light sensitivity, you should use area rugs after the first six months until the color gets more stable to prevent color variations on the floor.

There is also another species of Walnut called Brazilian Walnut, which is also referred to as Ipe. The wood has a high Janka rating of 3600. Therefore, it is applicable for flooring high traffic areas. It has different color variations ranging from medium brown to medium tan and anything in between with grains mixed with varied patterns that create warm and stylish rooms. The color darkens over time.


There are two types of Cherry tree species used in flooring; Brazilian Cherry and American Cherry. Featuring a subtle grain, this hardwood is usually left in its natural form. Its natural color is reddish-brown. The color plus the properties of the wood make it a favorite because it makes a room feel warm.

American Cherry becomes redder the more it ages. It is expensive though it dents easily. Its Janka rating is 995. When used for flooring, the wood darkens after exposure to light in the first six months. If you intend to use area rugs, use them after six months to prevent color variations where the rugs are placed from the rest of the room.

On the other hand, Brazilian Cherry has a high Janka rating. It also has a high color variation, including deep red, reddish to brownish tones, and reddish to blonded tones. It is the most popular flooring choice among exotic wood species. Manufacturers use it in making wide planks because in narrow strips, the color variations can appear too busy.

Wrap Up

There are many hardwood flooring species to choose from. Hardwood flooring has remained a popular flooring type because of its warmth, glamour and luxurious look. More so, a hardwood floor comes in handy when you are selling your property because it attracts a higher market value than other flooring types.