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What’s the Wood Species of Flooring?

Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2020-11-03      Origin: Site


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Do you know the wood species of flooring? Different species have different color tones, wood grain patterns, and overall durability.

The Janka Hardness Scale, named for Gabriel Janka, an Austrian researcher who developed the scale in 1906, is today’s industry standard for determining wood hardness. The higher the rating number, the harder the wood—and the more durable your floor.


Oak: This popular hardwood features two distinct types, both highly desirable for flooring options.

The most common hardwood flooring choice available today, red oak has a Janka rating of 1290 and is well suited for most flooring needs. Its warm tones range in color from creamy pink and golden red to rusty brown. It features graceful swirled grain patterns throughout and has a tendency to vary slightly in color and grain pattern from one board to the next. Red oak complements diverse décor styles, including classic, rustic, contemporary, and country.

Chosen for its fine grain patterns and cool hues, white oak is harder than red oak, coming in at 1360 on the Janka scale—making it a good choice for high traffic areas. White oak has gray undertones and no hint of red. Its grain and color vary only slightly, producing an overall floor effect of smooth elegance, which is suitable for many design styles.

Cherry: Prized for its warm brown hues and smooth grain pattern, cherry is slightly softer than some hardwoods, ranking 950 on the Janka scale—so best for lower-traffic spots, such as bedrooms and formal dining rooms. Cherry has a tendency to darken slightly over time, especially if exposed to bright sunlight. For optimal visual impact, consider installing wide flooring planks—up to 8 inches—to showcase this hardwood’s beautiful grain pattern.

 Walnut: Its deep, rich, chocolate tones and large straight grain patterns make walnut a top choice for drama and sophistication. With a Janka rating of 1010, Walnut is suitable for medium-to-light traffic, but may show wear in high-traffic areas after a few years. Color variations from board to board are slight, giving walnut floors a smooth, consistent look.

Hickory: With a Janka rating of 1820, hickory is very durable, ideal for high-traffic zones—in fact, it was once a top choice for school gymnasium floors. Hickory features mocha-tones, ranging from creamy beige with a hint of red to warm brown with dark brown streaks. With large knots and color that can vary substantially from board to board, hickory is well suited to rustic and country style.

Maple: Another highly durable choice, maple ranks 1450 on the Janka scale and is suitable for most rooms. It’s a fairly light-colored wood, with hues that include light cream, beige, and tan, and it often features a slight reddish tint. Maple has a fine grain pattern, with occasional dark streaks and specks that add visual interest to the wood. This hardwood complements many styles, including contemporary, transitional, and eclectic.

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