Say you have been thinking about investing in hardwood flooring for your home. But as you visit the store, you are overwhelmed by the variety of textures and species they offer. The colour, texture, hardness and other properties in hardwood all vary based on the species you choose. Apparently, hardwood species are very similar in appearance and for a layman, telling them apart just by looking at the floor planks is near impossible.
This post discusses in detail the five most widely used and popular hardwood species that you can invest in for your floor.
This is a domestic hardwood species and abundantly available, making it one of the affordable hardwoods you will come across. Oak is loved far and wide for its classic looks and warm colour. There are several practical benefits of choosing oak, which makes it such a widely used flooring option:
- It is an economical choice.
- The strong graining texture of oak wood can camouflage minor scratches and dents better than other hardwood species.
- Versatile enough to blend and complement different furniture and home décor style.
- Staining and finishing an oak floor is much easier as it can absorb stains well.
- Red oak and white oak are the most popular sub-species for flooring purpose. They can be recognized by the gold and brown tones in white oak and pinkish undertones in red oak.
- Using the right finish and stain, make oak the perfect choice for homeowners with pets.
Maple is harder than oak with 1450 rating on the Janka Hardness Scale. It is noted for its distinctive graining and lighter colour compared to oak. It is a native hardwood species of Canada and Northern U.S. and has a uniform graining and texture which is appealing to many. Apart from the looks, the durability of maple makes it an immensely popular choice. Some of its advantages are:
- The uniform look makes it a great choice for modern and contemporary homes.
- It does not scratch or scuff easily and is even resistant to high impacts. Thus, it does not dent easily.
- Maple does not require a daily maintenance routine to keep it in the best shape possible, hence it is a very hassle-free choice.
- Staining maple is very easy and many homeowners opt to stain maple hardwood to mimic darker and exotic wood species that are way more expensive. However, without a proper sealant, the stain can look blotchy.
- It is an affordable hardwood because of its native origin.
Maple tends to turn yellow over the years, particularly if it is exposed to sunlight consistently. Using a high-grade water-based polyurethane sealant can prevent this.
Hickory looks like oak due to its colour and distinct graining but is much harder than oak with a 1820 Janka rating. Hickory even has numerous colour variations and distinct knots in the wood which adds a unique character to your floor. Also known as Pecan, Hickory is a good investment because:
- It is one of the hardest species of American hardwood there is.
- Its hardness ensures scratches and dents are minimized and if they do appear, they cannot be detected easily.
- It is a great choice for any home or commercial space with high traffic.
- It is an ideal choice for log cabins and rustic style homes.
- Hickory is more expensive compared to oak and its hardness is a drawback in a certain way as it is difficult to cut and hence adds up to the installation cost.
Hickory dust and chips are used for barbecue recipes. It adds a great flavour to meat and fish when used for smoking.
Ash is a light colour wood which is an almost whitish hue in certain cases. It is the perfect choice for a chic styled upscale home. The wood grains are in contrasting warm tones that impart a dramatic look to ash flooring. According to the Janka scale, the hardness rating for Ash is 1320. It is noted for several reasons:
- Ash can hold and absorb stains very well.
- Distressed and textured look suits the dramatic graining and colour of ash and is a popular style choice.
- The shock resistance of ash wood is particularly high.
- It can withstand heavy traffic but at the same time, it is soft enough to be comforting under feet.
- However, since it is light coloured, hickory gets dirty easily and requires frequent cleaning compared to other flooring options.
- American cherry
This is one of the most popular hardwood species that is widely used for flooring purpose. There are several types of cherry wood and American cherry is the most popular one. It is also called black cherry for its red and pink hues and tight wavy grains. It is a very beautiful flooring option but compared to other choices, it is rather soft with a 995 Janka rating. Some benefits of choosing this wood species for your home flooring are:
- Since it is a soft hardwood, it can maintain its dimensional stability easily.
- The uniform, straight grains and satiny texture make it an ideal complement to lustrous finishes.
- Even without a stain, the true beauty of American cherry is very appealing and if you want a darker hardwood flooring that is natural, this species is a good choice.
- It is photosensitive and darkens with consistent light exposure. Your flooring will become redder over the months and it is best to leave it bare for at least 6 months after installation so that this colour-change is uniform.
The various hardwood species available these days have distinct characteristics which you should be aware of. The above-mentioned species are the most popular choices and you can find them easily at any reputed flooring stores in Canada.