Species, Colours, Styles And More: The Hardwood Varieties

When buying hardwood flooring, much more than merely colour of the wood should be considered.

Any buyer should take time to think about the kind of hardwood they are going to be installing, as they will want the wood to last long, not show signs of wear, and look great for many years to come.

Before buying, consider the density, hardness, availability and how the wood species will perform in the area you are flooring. As every species of wood had its own properties, and stains are available to change the colour of the wood, always know what you are buying before you do. In this article we will explain the differences between some of the most popular species of wood used for hardwood flooring here in Canada.

Oak Hardwood Flooring

While oak is a very commonly used flooring known for it’s distinctively warm colour and long grain, many people are unaware of the two varieties: red oak, and white oak. Red oak is generally much warmer coloured, ranging in tone from caramel to a deep mahogany, and has distinctive grain that almost looks like jagged lines. White oak is much more neutral in contrast, with paler more subdued tones and straighter, tighter grain. Oak is a fairly durable wood, scoring 1360 on the Janka hardness test, but is susceptible to colour changes with light.

Walnut Hardwood Flooring

Walnut flooring comes in a variety of subspecies and colours, but is most known for the dark and elegant varieties. Designers love walnut hardwood because of it’s ability to create a sultry atmosphere when paired with lighter coloured furniture. Walnut however is quite a soft wood, getting only 1010 on the Janka hardness test, so it’s best used with a heavy finish in order to provide more durability.

Maple Hardwood Flooring

Maple hardwood ranges in colour from a pale, light brown to a deeper, chocolatey brown. Maple grain is generally long, tight and straight, making it easy to match décor with. However, the most popular style of maple is in light shades, as it helps lighten and make rooms more spacious. As maple is very durable, (scoring 1450 on Janka test) when paired with a good finish it can last generations.

Acacia Hardwood Flooring

Acacia wood is known for it’s interesting variations in colour which can occur within a single plank of wood. The resulting patterns of colour and grain in an acacia hardwood floor are loved by those seeking an interesting and unique flooring. Acacia colour can range from soft caramel to deep brown, but is most often seen in a warm, slightly orange brown. As mentioned, the grain in acacia wood varies hugely, with waves, curls, spots and colour changes in each plank, so it can be a difficult wood to pair furniture with. However, if you’re looking for something which will make your home look unique, it’s definitely worth considering. It is also an incredibly durable wood, though it is prone to warping.

Maple Hardwood Flooring

Pine Hardwood Flooring

Technically not a hardwood at all, pine makes for a very soft floor. Pine was historically an inexpensive way to floor homes, and can be found in many places still. Recently it has made a comeback in the modern home as antique flooring reclaimed from old houses. Pine is generally reddish brown, though sapwood pine can be much lighter in colour. Pine grain has many knots and flaws, and is quite popular because it’s never the same. Before considering purchasing pine, make sure you know what species you are getting, as they vary wildly in hardness.

Ashwood Hardwood Flooring

Ash wood tends to be quite light and pale, and is a very hard wood that looks similar to oak. As it holds stain well, it can be stained to a variety of colours. The grain is long and patterned, but less apparent than oak. Due to it’s hardness it is a good idea for those looking for flooring which will not scuff easily.

Cherry Hardwood Flooring

Available in a variety of colours and stains, it is a finely textured, satin like wood which adds elegance to any room but is particularly perfect for dining and living rooms. However, cherry is very light sensitive and will quickly lose its original colour. In addition, North American Cherry tends to be very soft. It’s Brazilian cousin however, is one of the hardest varieties of wood out there, so be aware of which variety suit your needs.

Additional Articles

Patterns Galore! Hardwood Grain Patterns Explained

Patterns Galore! Hardwood Grain Patterns Explained A very important thing to consider when buying hardwood flooring is the grain pattern you wish to use in your home. While wood has naturally occurring grains, knots and patterns, the way the wood you are...

read more

Select Custom Flooring To Beautify A Small Space

Select Custom Flooring To Beautify A Small Space Designing a small space can be a challenge, as it is necessary to make careful choices to avoid making the room appear smaller than it already is. Other than your choice of wall colour, no other design...

read more

Flooring For Elderly And Seniority

Flooring For Elderly And Seniority Choosing The Right Flooring For The Elderly And Seniors It is important to choose the right floors for the elderly for many good reasons, one of which elderly and senior people tend to fall. Choosing the right floors...

read more