Choosing the Right Wood Species for Your Floors

Sep 20, 2023

Discover the Perfect Wood Species for Your Flooring: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to revamping your home or selecting materials for a new one, choosing the right type of wood flooring can significantly influence the aesthetics and functionality of the space. Various wood species, each with its own distinctive grain patterns, hues, and characteristics, offer different looks and feels to suit any home style. In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into how to choose the perfect wood species for your floors.

Choosing the perfect wood species for your flooring is akin to selecting the ideal canvas for a masterpiece painting. It sets the foundational tone and texture upon which the theme of your home will be crafted. As wood flooring graces your abode with a touch of nature’s charm, understanding different wood species’ characteristics, strengths, and beauty becomes pivotal. This detailed guide is curated to navigate you through the nuances of various wood species, helping you make an informed decision that marries aesthetics and functionality in your living space.

Wood Species


Flooring is a crucial element in any home, offering both functionality and aesthetic appeal. With a plethora of wood species available on the market, picking the perfect one for your floors can be a daunting task. This post aims to assist you in making an informed decision by exploring the different wood species available and their unique characteristics.

Understanding wood properties

Before we delve into the details of individual wood species, let’s first understand the various properties that differentiate them:

  1. Hardness: It determines the wood’s resistance to wear and denting. The Janka hardness scale is a standard measurement used to define wood hardness.
  2. Stability refers to the wood’s resistance to changes in size due to variations in moisture levels.
  3. Grain Pattern: Different woods have varying grain patterns that contribute to the floor’s visual appeal.
  4. Colour: Woods come in a range of colours, from light hues to deep, rich tones.
  5. Workability: This property defines how easily a wood species can be installed, sanded, and finished.
Wood Species

Popular Wood Species for Flooring

Now that we are familiar with the different wood properties, let’s explore some popular wood species used in flooring:

Oak Flooring

Oak is perhaps one of the most popular choices for hardwood flooring, offering a classic, timeless appeal. There are mainly two types of oak used in flooring: red oak and white oak.

  1. Red Oak
    • Hardness: Moderate (1290 on the Janka scale)
    • Colour: warm reddish tones
    • Grain Pattern: Prominent grain patterns
    • Stability: Moderate
    • Workability: Easy to install and finish
    • Best for: traditional homes, high-traffic areas
  2. White Oak
    • Hardness: higher than red oak (1360 on the Janka scale)
    • Colour: light to medium brown tones
    • Grain Pattern: Straighter grain with a more uniform texture
    • Stability: Good
    • Workability: Fairly easy to work with
    • Best for: contemporary homes, rooms with moisture exposure
Wood Species

Maple Flooring

Maple flooring is known for its smooth, refined grain pattern and is a popular choice for modern interiors.

  1. Hard Maple
    • Hardness: High (1450 on the Janka scale)
    • Colour: creamy white to light reddish-brown
    • Grain Pattern: Fine, uniform grain pattern
    • Stability: Moderate
    • Workability: moderate; can be slightly challenging to stain.
    • Best for: modern interiors, commercial spaces
  2. Silver Maple
    • Hardness: moderate (700 on the Janka scale)
    • Colour: light to medium brown
    • Grain Pattern: Generally straight, but can be wavy.
    • Stability: Moderate
    • Workability: Fairly easy to work with
    • Best for: residential interiors with less traffic
Wood Species

Hickory Flooring

Hickory is known for its rustic appeal and is the hardest domestic wood species available for flooring.

  • Hardness: Very high (1820 on the Janka scale).
  • Colour: wide range, from creamy white to medium brown
  • Grain Pattern: Bold, varied grain patterns
  • Stability: Good
  • Workability: Can be challenging to work with due to its hardness.
  • Best for: rustic homes, high-traffic areas
Wood Species

Cherry Flooring

Cherry wood is appreciated for its rich colour and fine grain, making it a premium choice for luxurious interiors.

  • Hardness: moderate (950 on the Janka scale)
  • Colour: rich reddish-brown tones that deepen over time
  • Grain Pattern: Fine, straight grain with a smooth texture
  • Stability: Good
  • Workability: Easy to work with; takes stains well.
  • Best for: upscale homes, formal rooms
Wood Species

Understanding Regional and Exotic Wood Species

In addition to domestic wood species, you might also consider regional or exotic woods that bring a unique flavour to your interiors. Let’s take a look at a few popular options:

Brazilian Cherry

  • Hardness: Extremely high (2820 on the Janka scale).
  • Colour: rich reddish-brown tones
  • Grain Pattern: Fine, interlocked grain
  • Stability: Moderate
  • Workability: Difficult to work with due to its hardness
  • Best for: luxurious interiors, statement floors

Australian Cypress

  • Hardness: Moderate (1375 on the Janka scale)
  • Colour: varied, from creamy yellow to honey brown.
  • Grain Pattern: Unique, with prominent knots and varied grain
  • Stability: Good
  • Workability: Moderate
  • Best for: rustic interiors, rooms with a unique character

Tips for Choosing the Right Wood Species

  1. Consider Your Home Style: Different wood species complement various home styles. For instance, oak might suit traditional homes, while maple is ideal for modern interiors.
  2. Evaluate Traffic Levels: Choose harder wood species for high-traffic areas to ensure durability.
  3. Budget: Wood species can vary significantly in cost. Set a budget to narrow down your options.
  4. Environmental Factors: Consider the climate and moisture levels in your region before selecting a wood species.
  5. Maintenance: Different woods require varying levels of maintenance. Choose a species that aligns with your maintenance capabilities.


Wood Species


Choosing the right wood species for your floors is a critical decision in creating a home that reflects your style and caters to your needs. With a wide array of options available, considering factors like hardness, grain pattern, colour, and workability can help you make an informed choice. From the classic appeal of oak to the luxurious touch of exotic woods, there is a perfect wood species to complement every home style and preference.

As we conclude this extensive guide, it’s apparent that the journey of selecting the right wood species for your flooring is a personal yet profound choice. It’s about balancing the natural allure, durability, and unique touch each species brings to your home’s tableau. Remember, your choice will not just influence the aesthetic vibe but will also echo the tales of time spent in the warmth of your home. So, step forward with knowledge and confidence, and may your choice of wood species lay the foundation for a home that resonates with harmony, beauty, and timeless appeal.

Remember, the best wood species for your floor is one that not only matches your aesthetic preferences but also meets the functional demands of your space. Happy flooring!


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