6 Popular Hardwood Flooring Species

As shown in a previous article “The Hardwood Flooring Advantage”, wooden floors offer a huge versatility and variety of choices in terms of patterns, colors, finishes, stains and species available, leaving lots of room for your personal taste and making it possible to find the perfect match to complement the interior decoration of your home.

Today I want to shed some light on 6 of the most popular species used in hardwood flooring and their characteristics. The main points of consideration are Janka rating, color, durability and use. Here are some of the most popularly used hardwood flooring species. I’ve listed them in no particular order:

American Cherry: With 950 points on the Janka scale it is one of the softest woods out there. Does that mean it won’t be a good fit for a high traffic area? No. Depending on the care and maintenance given to your hardwood floor, a soft but cared for species can withstand time and use much better than an expensive exotic import that isn’t cared for! American Cherry is also used for making cabinets and is very easy to work with. Darkens over time to become more rich in tone.

Beautiful Hardwood Floor

Beautiful Dark Hardwood Floor  1

Red and White Oak: Naturally pale in color, with hints of pink running through the Red Oak. Also used as the starting benchmark for comparing woods on the Janka hardness scale, it comes with a low hardness rating of 1290.

Since Red and White Oak provide a low level of hardness, they are easy to nail and saw yet provide good durability and shock resistance, making it the wood of choice across all kinds of applications.

Ash: With a Janka rating similar to Oak, Ash comes with a score of 1320. Providing beautiful and elegant, curvy and wavy patterns, Ash is a rather pale white/light brown species. Due to its unique graining, it adds a bit more excitement to a room than White Oak does.

Versatile Hardwood Patterns and Colors

Versatile Hardwood Patterns and Colors  2

Hard Maple: With a moderat e Janka score of 1450, Hard Maple is more durable than Oak and American Cherry. It’s uniform texture and high levels of shock, scuff and scrape resistance make it a popular choice for high stress uses. The creamy white color of maple that can reach into a light reddish brown color offers a wide variety of decorative uses for any room. Relied upon by early north american settlers for its hardy and abrasion-resistant nature.

Santos Mahogany: A popular exotic import but with 2200 scores on Janka it’s softer than Brazilian Cherry (see below). Well known for its color variations and warm, medium brownish/orange to dark brown color.

Wavy graining with open patterns and as many exotic woods, continuous exposure to light will have the color turn richer over time with a stabilization point at approximately 3 months.

Brazilian Cherry, also known as Jatoba: Well known for its rich, reddish brown color that turns into a dark burgundy over time with continued exposure to light. More on the higher end of the Janka scale with a score of 2820, it’s more of a difficult wood to work with, yet it glues, stains and finishes well. The upside is the long durability and resistance to wear, it’s even more durable than Mahogany. Very affordable for an exotic import!

Did I miss to cover your wood species of choice? There is a great resource I can recommend you check out and dig into – it covers a huge list of wood species, alphabetically sorted and in great detail: http://www.wood-database.com/wood-identification

I’d appreciate if you could share your favorite species of hardwood in the comments below!


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