Types of Hardwood Flooring

Learn about the different types of hardwood used for flooring with this guide. Make sure you know what’s going in your house!

Finding the Best Type Hardwood Flooring for Your Space

Looking for the best hardwood flooring for your space? Before you choose a product based on style and color alone, make sure you are knowledgeable about each type’s different performance and functionality.

Take into account the factors that will affect your choice, from climate and placement to your space’s requirements for durability. Making an informed decision will help you create the flooring design that complements your space’s style and function, saving you maintenance and replacement costs.

The Different Hardwood Flooring Species

There is a wide range of hardwood flooring species on the market. Choosing hardwood with an aluminum oxide finish will help ensure longevity, scratch-resistance and simple upkeep. From traditional choices to more exotic species, discover the differences between some of the most popular varieties so that you can make the most informed choice for your hardwood flooring product.

Ash

This light-colored species features a distinctive swirling grain and a medium hardness that can hold up to heavy traffic. A great option for durability and affordability, there is a wide range of different types of ash hardwood on the market to choose from. Because of its light color, ash hardwood does require more frequent cleaning.

Bamboo

Bamboo is not technically a hardwood species since it is a form of grass, however, this flooring type provides the look of hardwood but is a sustainable, environmentally-friendly option. While an attractive option with a smooth texture, this flooring is not ideal for humid or damp areas. Although it can scratch easily, bamboo can be sanded and refinished.

Birch

Birch features a light color and very fine, straight grain that holds stains very well. It is an affordable choice because of its abundance. Birch is best for areas with minimal moisture because it is prone to expanding and contracting when humidity levels and temperatures change. A soft wood, birch hardwood is susceptible to scratches and dents.

Cherry

One of the most popular species used for hardwood, cherry is available in varieties which include American cherry, Brazilian cherry and others. Brazilian cherry is a one of the most durable varieties of cherry. Cherry hardwood features a pink to reddish-brown hue and wavy grain that adds natural elegance to a flooring design but also ranges on the more expensive end of hardwood species.

Cork

Produced by peeling away the bark without destroying the tree, cork flooring is a renewable, green flooring option that has become increasingly popular in recent decades. Cork provides a comfortable walking and standing area with excellent thermal and acoustical properties. With proper maintenance, cork also offers great durability.

Douglas Fir

Douglas fir offers an attractive, uniform look with a straight and pronounced grain throughout. Featuring orange and brown hues, this hardwood species has an attractive rustic look that complements many design styles. Although a soft wood, it is relatively durable and can be a long-lasting choice with proper care. This species price is average amongst hardwood types.

Hickory

One of the hardest and strongest species of hardwood, hickory is a popular choice for its durability. Since this wood is so hard, cutting planks and installing this hardwood flooring type can be more time consuming. Featuring distinctive grain patterns, this species ranges from medium tan to reddish-brown. Comparatively, this species’ cost falls around average.

Maple

Maple features a flowing grain pattern that makes it one of the most distinctive types of hardwood. A popular and affordable choice, this hardwood species has a light color and uniform texture that works great with stains if properly sealed. One of the hardest species, maple doesn’t scratch or dent easily and is a great option for high-traffic areas.

Mahogany

Typically a dark reddish-brown hardwood, choose mahogany for a rich look that features fine straight-grains. While mahogany can be a more expensive hardwood flooring choice, its durability and hardness ensure that it will offer long-lasting beauty.

Oak

One of the most popular species for hardwood, oak offers a timeless appeal that looks great with many styles of décor from traditional to contemporary. Red oak features a unique grain pattern and reddish hue. White oak varieties are pale brown with a straighter and tighter grain. Oak is also a great option for its durability.

Pine

Pine is a rich yellowish-brown color that works well with stains. It features interesting knots and swirls in its grain pattern. A softer hardwood choice, pine is susceptible to scratches and dents that require more maintenance. Because of its abundance, pine is an affordable hardwood species.

Walnut

Another popular hardwood species, walnut has a deep brown color and attractive open grain. With high resistance to light damage, walnut is a great choice for spaces that receive a lot of sunlight. This species is also lightweight and ideal for upper stories. A soft hardwood, walnut does scratch and is not the best option for high-traffic areas.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Wondering whether solid or engineered hardwood is the best choice for your space, but not sure what that means exactly? Solid hardwood adds to the visual appeal of a space and also adds value. Made from a piece of wood ranging from 18 to 20 mm thick, solid planks are made with a tongue and groove construction. The hardness and durability of the solid hardwood depends on the specific qualities of the wood species. Even if you choose a softer species that is more susceptible to scratches and dents, solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished to restore its original beauty. While it can be a durable choice, solid hardwood also swells and contracts when humidity and temperature levels change.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Featuring natural beauty that is often chosen over the wood-look varieties of laminate flooring, engineered hardwood is less expensive than solid hardwood floors and can be a great option for a number of reasons. Engineered hardwood is constructed with three to four layers of wood glued together to produce a 14 mm thick plank. To remove wear and tear, the real wood surface layer (which is about 4 mm) can be sanded and refinished a limited number of times. Engineered hardwood is less prone to changes from temperature and humidity conditions which make it a versatile choice for a number of spaces.

Learn more about the ideal hardwood type for your space by stopping in our showroom or contact us today to schedule a free in-home estimate!

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