Guide to the Most Popular Wood Floor Species

When you are planning to invest in a new wooden floor for your home or office space, you have a lot of aspects to consider and a lot of decisions to make. Real wood floors come in a variety of types, colours, grades, textures, undertones, installation profiles, plank sizes, lengths and heights, patterns, and so much more. And even further - real wood floors are available in an impressive variety of wood species. Every wood specie has its specifics and comes with a distinctive natural colour and undertones, texture, density of its wooden structure, grade and more.

Most people choose the wood species for your floor based on how they look, however, it is also important to consider other specifics of the wood species that will determine a lot more than their appearance - the installation of the floorboards, their hardness and durability, their flexibility, how easy it is to sand them, how well the finishing and staining products soak into the wood species' pores and more. There are dozens and dozens of wood species used for manufacturing real wood flooring, however, only a handful of them are falling on the homeowner's radar. In order to help you make a better and well-informed choice, here is how ten of the most beautiful and interesting wood species compare.

Cherry Wood Flooring

Cherry wood flooringCherry wood flooring is mostly known for its distinctive and beautiful shade of red. This is, indeed, one of the most unique and distinctive wood species in terms of appearance. Therefore, it is also one of the most popular wood species. Cherry wood flooring looks amazing in a residential setting and most traditional and classic interiors. This type of flooring is a great choice for the kitchen or living room and it adds a lot of warmth and cosiness wherever it is installed. Cherry wood flooring is available in several varieties, the most popular out of them all being American cherry. Besides its red and pink hues, cherry also has a tight and wavy grain.

The naturally lustrous finish of the cherry wood floor adds a touch of elegance and timeless beauty. Cherry is on the softer side when compared to a lot of other wood species. However, besides being a softwood, cherry still manages to maintain good stability and solidness and is a reasonably durable and hard-wearing flooring material. One more important thing to know about cherry wood flooring is that this wood specie is on the lower end regarding photosensitivity, which means that natural colour may fade over time when exposed excessively to direct sunlight. Therefore, it is recommended to always have your cherry wood floor finished with a strong protective finish with a UV filter added to it. Cherry wood flooring is on the more expensive side compared to other wood species.

Walnut Wood Flooring

Walnut wood flooringOne more very popular wood flooring with a very distinctive and unique look is walnut wood flooring. Walnut wood species are also available in multiple varieties, the most common out of them being American walnut. What makes walnut wood flooring so distinctive is its rich and deep brown colour that often has purple undertones. The addition of a dark swirling grain makes walnut wood flooring even more unique and even a more interesting addition to every room. Just like cherry, walnut is a softwood, therefore it is not the best at hardness and solidness you can get out there.

However, a normal level of use and high traffic and ensuring a high-quality protective finish will allow you to enjoy your walnut wood floor for many decades. One more advantage of walnut wood flooring and other similar softwood species is that they are very easy to sand and they soak finishing and staining products perfectly. Walnut wood, unlike cherry, has a strong resistance to light damage and you will be able to enjoy its original rich and deep brown colour for many decades without experiencing fading and bleaching. Walnut wood flooring is one of the most expensive types of real wood flooring you can get on the market.

Oak Wood Flooring

Oak wood flooringSpeaking of popular wood floor species for residential homes, hardly anything can beat the popularity of oak wood flooring. It is safe to say that the majority of real wood floors around the world are probably made out of oak. Understandably why, because oak is a great wood specie with many advantages and it comes at a reasonable price. Oak wood flooring is well-loved and appreciated for its classic look that never goes out of style and complements pretty much every interior - cutting-edge modern, traditional and classic, you name it, oak flooring matches it.

Oak flooring blends well with a wide range of furniture styles and colour palettes and its medium brown colour makes it easy to maintain. There are two main varieties of oak wood specie, both of them being very popular. Red oak wood flooring is significantly lighter and its colour features reddish or pinkish undertones. White oak, on another hand, is naturally pale brown and often features grey undertones. Both types of oak wood flooring feature a mid-range hardness rating, which makes them durable and hard-wearing and easy to sand and refinish all at the same time.

Maple Wood Flooring

Maple wood flooringMaple is one of the most unique and distinctive wood species, mostly because of its grain that really stands out and sets it apart from the rest of the wood species. With an uniform texture and very light colour, maple is definitely a great choice for modern and contemporary interiors and minimalistic styles. Maple wood flooring is also super durable and hard-wearing. In fact, maple is one of the hardest wood species according to the Janka hardness rating system.

Maple flooring is a perfect choice for high traffic and busy areas, also for commercial premises, because it does not scratches and scuffs that easily and it maintains its original flawless appearance for a very long time, especially if you maintain it properly. Maple wood specie is also known for its resistance to heavy impacts. Choose a maple wood flooring if there are young kids and pets in your home. Despite coming with amazing hardness, thanks to its light colour, maple takes stains very easily and evenly. One more advantage of maple wood flooring is how affordable it is compared to the rest of the popular wood species.

Hickory Wood Flooring

Hickory wood flooringThere are not many wood species available on the flooring market that are harder and stronger than hickory. Indeed, hickory wood floors are a great choice for big and busy homes with many kids and pets running around, also for commercial and public areas. In addition, the distinctive natural pattern and grain of hickory flooring is very good at camouflaging all sorts of surface imperfections, which means that this type of flooring is really easy to maintain and keep in perfect appearance.

Hickory wood flooring is extremely durable and hard-wearing, resilient and hard to scratch. With minimal wear and tear, you will be able to enjoy a hickory wood floor for many decades. The usual natural colour of hickory wood specie is ranging from medium brown to light red-brown. However, hickory can also be found in a creamy blonde colour.

However, do not think that hickory is boring because of its light colour because what makes this wood specie really unique and distinctive is its grain that makes it really stand out. Hickory wood flooring is a great choice if you are planning to create a home with a rustic style interior. However, keep in mind that because hickory is so hard and strong, it is often more challenging to install it and sand it. Hickory is on the medium side when it comes to its price. 

Ash Wood Flooring 

Ash wood flooringAsh wood flooring is definitely the one that will add a lot of elegance and chic style to your home. It is a perfect choice for upscale and contemporary homes with its sophisticated appearance. Ask wood flooring is fairly light in colour, sometimes you can find ash wood flooring that is almost white. However, despite the light colour, ash is definitely not boring and bland. It has a very active wood grain that makes this floor very unique and distinctive. Ash wood specie has a medium hardness, which makes it durable and hard-wearing enough, but also easy to install and sand.

Thanks to its medium hardness, ash is also a great choice if you enjoy and desire the unique appearance of hand-scraped wood flooring. Ask wood specie also takes very well staining and sealing products. The only disadvantage of ash wood flooring is that requires a bit more maintenance than other wood species. Regular cleaning is recommended in order to prevent dirt build-up that is very visible because of the light colour of ash. Ash wood flooring comes at a more affordable price compared to other wood species. 

Douglas Fir Wood Flooring

Douglas fir wood flooring

Looking for a wooden floor with a really uniform appearance that will perfectly match your minimalistic interior style? Well, hardly anything will be more suitable than Douglas fir. Almost all Douglas fir wood planks look almost the same or at least very similar and there is hardly any colour and grain variation. The natural colour of Douglas fir is something in between orange and brown. It has a long and straight grain.

Because of its natural look, Douglas fir complements traditional and rustic interiors. Unfortunately, Douglas fir is one of the softest wood species, which makes it really prone to scratches, scuffs, and dents. Therefore, if you choose a Douglas fir wood floor, make sure to take good care of your floor and regularly refresh the durable and hard-wearing protective finish. Douglas fir wood flooring is on the more affordable side of the spectrum in terms of its price. 

Teak Wood Flooring

Teak wood flooringTeak is an exotic wood specie that is well-loved because of its amazing hardness and durability. Teak is definitely one of the hardest and strongest wood species out there, therefore, it is an amazing choice for big families with children and pets and also for commercial premises. Teak wood flooring will easily stand the test of time. As for its look, teak is definitely a sophisticated and unique choice. Teak wood specie naturally has a lustre and shine, therefore many people prefer to let it age naturally and do not finish it with strong protective finishes.

An oil finish is more than enough to let the natural beauty and lustre of teak wood flooring stand out. Therefore, maintenance of this type of flooring is a bit more challenging because the oil finish wears off quickly and regular re-oiling is required. However, this is nothing compared to the mix of traditional charm and upscale swagger teak wood flooring brings to your home. Teak is an exotic wood specie, which makes it more expensive than the rest in this list, mostly because of the additional import expenses. 

Birch Wood Species

Birch wood flooringBirch is one more popular wood specie that can be spotted in many homes. It is a well-loved type of wood flooring mainly because of its affordable price. For its affordable price, birch offers great value, functionality and style. It has a clear and attractive grain, which makes it a perfect style choice for minimalistic interiors. Naturally is a creamy white colour with yellowish undertones and it can make every room visually more spacious.

Birch also takes stains very well, which means you can tailor and customize the look of your floor easily. The only downside of this type of wood specie is that it is very soft. Regular maintenance is required in order to make sure you protect your floor from scratches, scuffs, and marks. Because of its porous structure, birch wood is very prone to expanding and shrinking when exposed to excessive moisture, humidity and temperature fluctuations.

Pine Wood Flooring

Pine wood flooringIn terms of appearance, pine wood flooring surely offers the most classic and traditional look of wood. Pine wood flooring comes in a natural medium brown colour and what makes it stand out is its unique natural pattern and grain of many knots and pinholes. This type of wood specie is also distinctive for the way it ages - pine wood floors get more and more beautiful over time if you let them age naturally.

Pine is also known as an eco-friendly and sustainable wood flooring option thanks to the fact the pine trees grow very quickly. One major downside of pine wood is how soft it is and prone to scratches and scuffs.

In addition, pine wood holds a good amount of sap, which makes it take stains and finishes really badly. Pine wood flooring is one of the most affordable types of wood flooring available on the market. 


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