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 which are cut from different tree species. First, the tree is cut into logs then the logs are sawed to make planks. Then, flooring manufacturers can 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.
With over ten different hardwood flooring types in the market, how do you establish a dream hardwood flooring species for your residential or commercial property?
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 wood flooring species and exotic wood flooring species. Some of the domestic wood species in the USA include walnut, ash, birch, American cherry, maple, and red oak. While exotic tree species are amendoim, Brazilian cherry, bamboo, tigerwood among others.
Each tree species has its pros and cons when evaluating hardwood species flooring options. The species have a unique cellular structure that makes them have different physical properties. And although they are all hardwood floors, their quality varies. 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 a 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.
Oak is the most abundant wood in the USA. It is the flooring you will find in most homes in the 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 hides flooring dents and scratches more than other types of 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; namely white oak and red oak. Red and white oaks are so-called because of the bark color and not wood, although red oak wood has pink undertones. Red oak’s tinted and natural color is not easy to define, it has some light pink, red and cream and therefore 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 in terms of color choice. 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 a stable hardwood flooring option. Its natural wood color is gray to golden brown. White oak is popular among homeowners and designers who want to avoid the red of red oak wood flooring.
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 it has been overtaken by red oak wood. Hickory is becoming very 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.
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.
Surprisingly bamboo is a grass and not really a tree yet some species are as hard as wood from hardwood tree. Moreover, it is affordable. On top of that, 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.
Popularly referred to as American Black Walnut, it is one of the popular flooring options that provide a classy look. It has a Janka rating of 1010, and 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 put off using area rugs for 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 also referred to as Ipe. The wood has a high Janka rating of 3600 and as such, 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; namely 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 will darken as a result of exposure to light in the first six months. If you intend to use area rugs, then 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 which includes 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.
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.