Most Popular Hardwood Flooring Species

Solid hardwood floors are commonly referred to as hardwood floors and are one of the oldest flooring trends that are still alive. There has been a lot of innovation to make other types of floors such as concrete, tiles, and engineered hardwood as well, but still millions across the globe love to have solid hardwood floors. There are a lot of reasons for their popularity and still being in trends, including their beautiful appearance, warmer feel, durability, and their ability to last for centuries. But not all hardwood floors are loved and liked by people equally, there are trends in hardwood flooring that keep changing from time to time.

Hardwood flooring comes from different types of trees. These types or groups of plants are called species. Each tree species has its distinct properties, such as color, texture, grain structure, and how it feels. These are a few things that make one hardwood flooring species better or worse than the other. When you are deciding on your hardwood floor, it is important to know about the hardwood flooring species that you can have. This would provide you a better insight into what results at the end of flooring you would get. You can use this insight to get better results or results that you require.

In this article, I have discussed some of the most popular hardwood floor species. All of these hardwood species are divided into two different groups, one is domestic hardwood species, a group that contains tree species that are native to the North American region, US, and Canada, while the second group contains hardwood species that are not from North America and are imported from the other parts of the world such as Europe, Asia, and South America. Local or domestic hardwood species that are very popular are given below.

Domestic Hardwood Species

Domestic hardwood species as you know are the ones that are native to North America for hardwood, or the ones that are already present in the woodlands. All of these hardwood species are a very good option for flooring. The biggest benefit of installing a hardwood floor made up of domestic hardwood species is that these are easily available and you can buy them from wherever you live. Not only this, but comparatively the domestic hardwood species are more affordable as well. They are mostly found in abundance which means there is no lack of supply of the materials (Timber) that is then converted into floors. This abundance in availability makes them very affordable in comparison to an exotic or imported hardwood species.

Not only this but also the domestic hardwood species are more popular in homes in the US and Canada than any imported hardwood species. Below is a list of a few domestic hardwood species that are most popular and more common in houses across America, and Canada.

Red Oak

Red Oak is also known as Northern Red Oak, it comes from a tree species that is scientifically known as the Quercus rubra. Timber from this tree is cut and shaped for many different uses including making hardwood flooring planks. It is the most commonly used hardwood species for flooring in North America. It is liked by people because of its durability, hardness, density, and ability to resist damages, scratches, and dents over its surface. The color, grain structure, and texture of red oak hardwood flooring are also very beautiful and a reason why it is used on the floors more often. Below are some of the pros and cons of Red Oak hardwood flooring. Below is a list of a few pros and cons of Red Oak hardwood flooring that would give insight into why it is the most popular flooring species in the United States and Canada.

PROS:

  • It is a domestically grown and native tree species, which means timber is readily available. This increased availability of Red Oak hardwood flooring contributes towards lowering the floor pricing. For a lot of people who want an affordable yet strong hardwood floor, it is a great choice.
  • Red Oak hardwood flooring has a Janka Hardness rating of 1290, which means it is very strong and can hold heavy pressures without bending or breaking. It also has a higher density, which makes it less susceptible to scratches, water damages.
  • Its strength and hardness make it strong and durable; it also protects it from damages, which means it would require less frequent maintenance and repairs in the future. This would significantly reduce the cost of maintaining the floor. So, if you want a floor that would require less frequent maintenance, it is a great option to choose.

CONS

  • Red Oak hardwood flooring tends to fade its color over time. This is because of the light absorption by the floor’s wood. It is a natural phenomenon that causes a change in the color of the hardwood floor. The color change is slow but with time passing, it becomes more obvious.
  • This flooring species has some level of protection against both scratches and water damages. But as time passes, the surface of the floor becomes weaker, which means it gets scratched easily. These scratches allow the water to reach heartwood and damage the floor planks. It also attracts multiple insects that eat the floor from inside.

White Oak

White Oak hardwood comes from a tree species scientifically known as Quercus alba. It is a tree that is similar to red oak but has its texture, color, and shade. It is also native to North America and is readily available for use on floors. White oak hardwood has more strength and density as compared to red oak hardwood. Not only this, but it also carries more weight as well. White oak hardwood can survive on floors for decades if it is properly maintained. It is also one of the fastest-growing flooring trends in America as well. The reason behind its popularity is the beautiful look and feel of the white oak floors. When finished these floors look even better. Contrary to their name, white oak is darker than red oak hardwood. It is often used as a dark hardwood floor as well. Below are some of the major pros and cons of white oak hardwood flooring.

PROS

  • White Oak hardwood floors are one of the strongest floors, they can easily last for decades with proper maintenance and care. It has a Janka Hardness rating of 1360, which makes it harder, denser, and stronger than even red oak hardwood flooring as well.
  • White Oak hardwood floors are also better when finished as they provide a darker look. This darker look prevents the color change that is more common in the red oak hardwood flooring. If you choose this, it would mean you will get a beautiful floor that can survive for the long term.
  • It is also one of the most durable flooring options as well. It requires low maintenance. It also has more protection against water damages and pests. White Oak is also an easily available hardwood species, which also makes it a more affordable hardwood species as well.

CONS

  • As you know that White Oak hardwood species has a higher density, this higher density provides better resistance against the weights and pressure and prevents the floor from breaking. But it also creates a problem, due to higher density, White Oak hardwood floors are heavier.
  • The high weight and hardness of this species make it one of the hardest species for the flooring to work with. It requires more force to cut floor planks, also, installing and finishing these floors can also be more difficult.

Maple

Maple is not a single tree species, but it is a genus of multiple tree species that are used for hardwood flooring purposes. Most species of this group are native to the United States and Canada, which means the hardwood for the flooring is easily available. Maple hardwood flooring is known for its distinct look and feel. Maple hardwood floors have a warmer touch and a softer feel. It is also one of the strongest hardwood flooring species that you can find in the United States of America. Hard maple species can reach as high as 1450 in Janka Hardness rating while the softer Maple hardwood species reach between 600 to 700 in Janka Hardness rating. It is one of the most popular hardwood flooring species in the United States because it provides better colors, texture, and durability options. Not only this, but it is also comparatively cheaper than any other hardwood flooring species with such a high Janka Hardness rating. Below is a list of a few pros and cons of Maple hardwood flooring.

PROS

  • Maple hardwood flooring provides a better choice when it comes to a variety of colors, fine texture, shade, and durability. This is because there is more than one type of tree in this group. Some trees of this group provide softer hardwood, while others provide extremely hard and dense hardwood. This enhanced variety is something that makes this group one of the most sought-after hardwood flooring types.
  • As it is one of the hardest hardwood species, it means it can withstand better wear and tear over the years. This makes maple hardwood flooring an extremely durable hardwood flooring species that can last longer and require less maintenance or repair.
  • Many maple species are native to North America, which means they are easily available in abundance. This easy and abundant availability makes them one of the most affordable hardwood flooring options. So, if you choose a maple hardwood floor, you would be choosing a hardwood floor that has a premium scale look and is also extremely strong to last for centuries to come. 

CONS:

  • Some Maple hardwood species are softer, which means they are less durable and cannot be used in all parts of the homes. These softer maple species cannot sustain heavy pressure or weight over their surface and can easily break or bend.
  • Softer maple species also acquire more damages on the surface which increases the frequency of repairs and maintenance. Based on these reasons, we can say that if you want to choose maple hardwood species, choose the ones with higher Janka ratings. 

Hickory

This type of hardwood comes from a group of trees known as the hickory. This genus contains 18 different tree species and all of them are used for making floor planks. 12 out of these 18 species are native to the United States. Hickory hardwood flooring is considered one of the strongest hardwood floorings as it has a Janka hardness rating of 1820. This means it can hold the heaviest weights and high pressure over its surface without breaking or denting. Its extreme hardness and beautiful color shade make it one of the most desired hardwood species in the United States. It is one of the oldest hardwood flooring trends that are still alive. Below is a list of a few pros and cons of hickory hardwood flooring species.

PROS:

  • Hickory is one of the hardest tree species in the world, which means hickory hardwood is also the strongest one. It can sustain the high pressures, and weights over its surface without bending, denting, or breaking.
  • It can also prevent scratches due to weight, force, or pressure. These are the few properties of Hickory hardwood flooring species that make it better than any other hardwood species. This is also a reason why it is still one of the most popular flooring species in the United States.
  • Apart from being highly durable, strong, and long-lasting, it is also one of the hardwood species that require the least amount of maintenance. It has a harder surface that protects it from damages. This protection means you will not have to worry about your floor getting damaged. Increased protection also reduces the frequency of maintenance and repair. 

CONS:

  • With time passing, Hickory hardwood flooring changes its color. The reason behind this color change is the same natural phenomenon that causes a change in color in many other hardwood species as well. Due to its lighter appearance, the color change in hickory hardwood flooring is more apparent.
  • Apart from color change, another issue with the hickory hardwood flooring is that it is very hard to work with or install. The reason behind this is its higher stiffness and hardness. The hickory hardwood flooring planks are very difficult to cut and shape. They require more force and experience. You cannot install them on your own properly.
  • Another drawback of hickory hardwood flooring is that despite being easily available in the markets, it is still very expensive. It is considered a luxury flooring species, especially those hickory hardwood species that have a darker tone.