Hardwood Flooring Options

You may be thinking about adding a hardwood floor to your home, or maybe you've already decided for certain you are going to install one. But have you decided on the species of wood yet? Each different type of wood has different strengths, different colors, and different styles of graining. As the name implies, this type of wood flooring is solid wood all the way through, from top to bottom. It's similar to any other stick of lumber that sawn straight off of the log--no additional materials added. It's usually just called "hardwood floor".

Hardwood flooring comes either unfinished or prefinished. Unfinished hardwood tends to be a little cheaper than prefinished, but does require immediate light sanding, staining (optional), and sealing after installation. With prefinished, you can walk on it right after installation. With unfinished, you need to limit usage until it has been sealed. After sealing, you will need to wait at least 48 hours for the sealant to dry. Even then, additional coats may be required. With unfinished, the advantage is you can stain it and seal it to your exact specification. With prefinished, the advantage is the quick turnaround time. Each different type of wood has different strengths, different colors, and different styles of graining.

Oak Flooring

The most popular domestic wood species for hardwood flooring, Red Oak is known for having moderate to heavy graining with moderate color variations. Coloring of Red Oak ranges from light creamy reddish pinks to shades of brown.

Pine Flooring

Pine is another very soft domestic wood species. It is known for small to medium to large knots and pitch spots. Pine flooring fits well in country settings and is often offered as a "reclaimed floor" and in wider than usual board sizes.

Maple Flooring

Maple hardwood flooring is a very pale, creamy white color with slight shade differences from board to board. Depending on the grade chosen, Maple flooring can contain minimal to a lot of brownish/black mineral streaks, Clear grade maple has the least of this streaking. Maple graining is very light and fine and many times barely discernible.

Bamboo Flooring

A bamboo floor is manufactured from the bamboo plant. The majority of today's bamboo flooring products originate in China. Moso bamboo is the species most commonly used for flooring.

Cherry Flooring

Brazilian Cherry is also known as Jatoba. This exotic wood species is known for its extreme color variation and high Janka Hardness rating. It is easily the most popular exotic wood species choice for hardwood flooring.

Mahogany Flooring

Santos Mahogany is the 2nd most popular choice of exotic hardwood flooring (after Brazilian Cherry). Like Brazilian Cherry, there is quite a bit of color variation, but it's a bit more toned down.

Teak Flooring

Cumaru is another common name for Brazilian Teak. This is one of the hardest wood species available for hardwood flooring. Initial color range includes tan to medium brown tones with limited reddish highlights.