Traditional wood flooring Species
It comes as no surprise that solid wood floors are the golden standard for flooring applications in the Charlotte NC area. With proper care, solid wood floors will age gracefully, add character to any room and value. When installing solid wood floors in your home, there are several wood species you can choose from, each with their unique look and characteristics. There are two main types of wood species to choose from for flooring – traditional and exotic. Traditional wood floor species include Red Oak, White Oak, Hickory, Ash, American Cherry, Maple, and Walnut. Popular exotic species include Brazilian cherry, Santos Mahogany, Tigerwood, Brazilian Teak and Brazilian Walnut. In this section, we’ll go over the most popular traditional wood species.
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Red Oak Flooring
If you like traditional looking wood floors, Red Oak flooring might be the perfect option for you. With hues going from soft pinks to rusty browns, Red Oak flooring is a long time classic. With Red Oak flooring, hues and colors go from cream to reddish browns for a distinctive look that cannot be mistaken with other types of wood species. The grain of red oak is prominent which helps hide scratches and scrapes, and makes the color of each plank a little different from one another.
Red Oak is a fairly hard wood specie with a Janka hardness rating of 1290. On the Janka scale, the higher the rating, the more resistant the wood specie is to damage from normal wear and tear. Red Oak flooring is quite durable, hence its popularity. Because it is abundant in the USA, red oak is also more affordable than exotic species of wood.
White Oak Flooring
Interested in a more modern look than red oak? Then white oak flooring is a great option for you. White oak flooring has grey and brown undertones with clean grain making it a good match for contemporary homes. White oak can also be a good choice for rustic home settings with brushed and antiques white oak.
The linear sap streaks that characterize white oak create a deeper sense of length or width, depending on how planks are installed. While solid wood floors are not water proof, white oak which is a closed grain type of wood, offers some degrees of resistance to moisture and has been used in kitchens and half baths successfully. Just like red oak, white oak is durable and resistant to dents and scratches. White oak has a Janka hardness score of 1360, which is harder than red oak, American walnut and cherry and white ash. White Oak is a good match for high foot traffic areas. Cost wise, white oak can be found in many parts of the world, including the USA. For this reason, it is not as expensive as species of exotic wood.
The look of hickory wood flooring is unmistakable from other wood species with its rustic characteristics. On the Janka scale, hickory wood ranks at 1820. It’s a lot harder than red and white oak. Because it is so hard, hickory wood flooring offers more scratch resistance than most wood species available and is ideal for kitchens and other spaces with heavy foot traffic. One obvious characteristic of hickory flooring is the variation in colors, spiraled and wavy grain. Each plank will most likely look different from the next one which might look too busy for some people. To make up for the variety of grain patterns within the hickory wood specie, manufacturers often cut hickory planks wider to minimize its “busy” look. Hickory wood flooring is often found in cabins and lodges which tend to be rustic.
Ash Wood Flooring
Ash trees are native of Northeast of the United States and is commonly used to mill planks for flooring. Ash’s hardness is mid-range on the Janka hardness scale with a hardness of 1320 (between red oak and white oak). Its use is appropriate for high foot traffic areas as it provides scratch resistance properties.
Ash wood flooring has more neutral tones than other wood species. As shown, colors vary from light cream to dark brown with beautiful grain patterns and swirls. The most common colors for Ash wood flooring is gray and brown and it comes in pre-finished and unfinished grade. Ash trees have been affected by Emerald Ash Borer, an insect that bores through this specie of trees and decimating its population.
There are 3 main reasons to consider ash for your wood flooring. First, it has some natural elasticity. As a result, it dampens and absorb sounds better making a quieter wood product for flooring. Second, the lighter color of Ash flooring helps in brightening up darker rooms thanks to its lighter undertones. Finally, Ash’s grain patterns are simply beautiful and works great for modern and stylish spaces.
American Cherry Wood Flooring
American cherry wood flooring is an American classic. Its colors range from light brown to pale brown with pink / reddish undertones. The graining for American Cherry wood flooring is wavy and fine with flake patterns. In terms of durability, it only ranks a 950 hardness on the Janka scale. For this reason, it is better to have American Cherry wood installed in areas where there is not as much foot traffic. Brazilian Cherry wood flooring has a hardness that is three times that of American Cherry flooring. Because American Cherry wood flooring has beautiful natural coloring, it is recommended to not stain it and keep in its natural state.
Maple Wood Flooring
Maple is one of the hardest species of domestic wood available, which makes it a great choice for high foot traffic areas. This specie of wood is typically a lot lighter than other species and has a much more subtle graining. The clean look of Maple wood flooring is unique with a smooth overall look. Maple wood flooring comes in several colors including reds, beiges, browns and grays. Something to keep in mind with Maple wood flooring, it does not do very well with humidity and heat.
Maple wood is abundant in North America and therefore will cost less than exotic species and some domestic species of wood.
On the Janka hardness scale, Maple wood flooring scores 1450 which is higher than oak flooring. It is often used in bowling alleys and gymnasiums. However because it is naturally light in color with minimal graining, scratches will show more easily than on darker species of wood.
Walnut Wood Flooring
Walnut is a softer specie of hardwood that is known for its beautiful rich colors with deep and lighter reddish browns. The beauty of Walnut wood flooring is amplified by its knots and wavy grain variations. Walnut ages gracefully with rich and warm dark brown colors. In terms of durability and hardness, Walnut is rated at 1010 on the Janka scale. It is a tough hardwood with medium density, but scratches and dents easier than some other wood species. However the dark coloring of Walnut helps concealing imperfections and small scratches. If you like the look of Walnut flooring, but need something more durable and more resistant to scratching and dents, Brazilian Walnut is great option. It rates at 3684 on the Janka scale.
If you live in the Charlotte NC area and are interested in having solid hardwood floors installed in your home, we would love to hear from you and have the opportunity to earn your business. Call us today or fill out our online request form to request a free in-home consultation.