Different types of hardwood produce very different looks for your floors. If you see a hardwood floor you like, but you have no idea what kind of wood it is, it does make it difficult to purchase the same type for your home. There are some distinguishing characteristics among the most popular hardwoods used in flooring. Knowing what they are, as well as their valuable properties, will help you make the best decision.
Oak is one of the oldest and strongest hardwoods. It is very difficult to dent or mark it up, making it the ideal hardwood for homes with kids and a lot of foot traffic. You can identify oak by its thin and narrow striations interspersed with large whorls and small- to medium-sized knots.
Hickory has wider striations than oak and often has slightly pointed waves in some of the boards. It has a tendency to make most stains look ashen in color, although bare hickory can mimic the lightness of pine. Many of the boards will also have a dual tone to them, i.e., half light, half dark. Hickory flooring is cut in wide planks and it is not easy for an inexperienced homeowner to install. If you choose hickory flooring, hire a professional to install it. (Contact National Carpet Mill Outlet or another company for more information)
This hardwood is very popular in the Midwest, where forests riddled with maple trees grow. It has a nice warm but muted color, and the planks are often narrow with equally narrow striations. You might see a knot or two, but it rarely has waves. Because it is so common, the boards are easy to repair and replace, should something destructive enough affect your floor.
Taken from the cherry tree, the wood is somewhat fragrant and rosy in color. When it is stained, it becomes a light to dark red wood, which many people favor for the color alone. Since cherry trees are not known for their width, the striations in the wood are very narrow, almost touching. Cherry tends to be one of the more expensive hardwoods because dozens of trees have to be harvested to create enough planks for one floor.
Popular for its striped, tiger-like appearance, this hardwood resists water and termites. Such properties make it invaluable to homeowners who live on a flood plain or in warmer parts of the U.S. where termites love to burrow into homes. It maintains the same properties as oak and other hardwoods, but the added benefit of liquid resistance makes it much easier to clean and care for.
Selecting Your Favorite Wood and Features
If you have a couple varieties of hardwood in mind for your floors, but you still cannot make up your mind, consult with a hardwood flooring specialist. He or she can help you narrow down your choices by price, finish, style and features that best suit your life and lifestyle. If you do not like it once it is installed, most hardwood flooring stores are willing to replace it with something else.