How to Choose Which Hardwood

Oak, White? Red? or Brazilian Cherry?

Choosing Hardwood Flooring Species – Harder wood species are more durable and more resistant to wear, while providing an elegant, warm flow to your home.

 

Below see the comparison of species of woods, based on the following:

  1. Hardness – the property of wood flooring that relates to its durability.
  2. Grades – to see options in the quality levels available
  3. Dimensional Stability – expansion and  contraction in temperature and humidity.
  4. Costs – related to each other

Quality Woods: (in order of our preference)

Species

Expense

Pros

Cons

Best for

White Oak

See Grades>

Floors has a nice heavier grain pattern, is a durable wood that can be stained to look like the exotic woods but not at the lofty price. Can be Dark or Dramatic – right in line with trends in flooring colors. Lifetime of superior performance and easy to touch up. Takes stains great. Can simulate exotic woods with stain and finishing very better durability.Farmed for this purpose. Has an average dimensional stability, so we recommend not using in bathrooms.  Although there are sealant systems made just for keeping the moisture out.  Ask our technicians, or Dave what is currently on the market and what wood, if not Oak would he recommend for bathrooms.If you are going for a grain look of an exotic, you should buy the exotic woods. Can replace more expensive woods because take stains well for achieve exotic wood colors.

Red Oak

See Grades>

Fluctuates in price around same price as White Oak Nice Hard wood.  Should be used with Natural sealant or light stain.  Has reddish tint. There are commercial bleaches to achieve certain grey and light colors that can be applied to the red oak pigment. Was more of an older look in today’s homes.  Colors will be tinted Red unless wood is bleached first, which adds a little on to cost. Natural sealants or light colors.  Used when red tint is the goal.

Maple

 More expensive than Oak but Less expensive than exotic woods Has a nice look in the grain in which you are buying for the wood grain so good with clear sealants/finishes Does not take stain evenly, best for natural floors only. Furniture and warmer climates

American Cherry

 Can be about $.50 higher per square foot than oak on any given day  People buy for the look. It’s smoother and has a reddish tint. Drastically darken over time. Floors covered with area rugs or exposed to direct sunlight will have this problem. These woods are softer and will dent very easily – even without a pet or children. Best if you have seen the floor and are seeking the smooth natural distressed look over time.

Brazilian Cherry

The color can be achieved with a red base stain with a bit of brown tint and a clear grade oak. (no knots)  The Grain is very nice.  You will be using this wood for the grain again. darken over time Floors covered with area rugs or exposed to direct sunlight will have
this problem

Species

Expense

Pros

Cons

Best for

Mahogany 

 Expensive Exotic Wood  Mahogany has a generally straight grain and is usually free of voids and pockets. It has excellent workability, and is very durable. Mahogany also resists wood rot. Darkens over time and is not easily shaped into complicated designs. Floors covered with area rugs or exposed to direct sunlight will have
this problem

Walnut

 Around the same price as Mahogany  The grain is very attractive grain and in most cased is showcased. Costly as exotic woods and is in less in demand due to the economy Oak can be made to look like Walnut with a “knotty” rustic mill. The color variation can be matched by leaf
ving areas of stain applied wet and the other areas rubbed out.

Bamboo

Very inexpensive inexpensive  the long strips are glued together with Formaldehyde and dangerous to sand.  Also it is shipped in a color and can’t be stained.  Finishes have a hard time sticking to this wood.  Finish bubbling and other issues might occur in time.

Teak

Very expensive Very hard and is normally used for outdoor furniture.  Quite pricy to use on flooring  Great in bathrooms and has a beautiful look

Pine

Less expensive  Extremely Soft. Not recommended for areas of heavy traffic or for homes with children and large pets.  Not suitable for flooring. Doesn’t stain well.When stained looks very blotchy. Pine looks best natural and you are limited in color.


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Oak Grades – ‘Imperfections’ in the wood

Oak comes in three grades. These grades have to do with the degree of “perfection” of the wood. Fewer knots and less color variance determines the wood’s grades. They Are:

Grade Appearance Description
Clear Best Best grade, with the best appearance and most uniform color.
Select Good Limited character marks and unlimited sound sap.
No. 1 Common Variegated Light and dark colors. Knots, flags, worm holes, and other character marks. Other imperfections must be filled and finished
No. 2 Common Rustic A serviceable, economical floor after knots, worm holes, checks and other imperfections are filled and finished. Red and white oak species may be mixed.

Dimensional Stability

Dimensional Stability refers to a measure of how much wood expands or contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. The chart below lists’ hardness and dimensional stability for various wood species.

Domestic Species Hardness (Janka) Dimensional stability
Ash (White) 1320 Above Average
Beech 1320 Above Average
Birch 1320 Above Average
Cherry (Black) 950 Above Average
Douglas Fir 950 Above Average
Heart Pine (Antique) 1225 Above Average
Hickory/Pecan 1225 Above Average
Maple (Sugar/Hard) 1450 Average
Mesquite 1450 Average
Oak (Red) 1290 Average
Oak (White) 1360 Average
Pine (Southern Yellow) 1360
Walnut (American Black) 1010 Excellent
Imported Species Hardness (Janka) Dimensional stability
Brazilian Cherry 2350 Average
Cypress (Australian) 2350 Average
Jarrah 2350 Average
Mahogany (Santos) 2200 Above Average
Merbau 1925 Excellent

The list of wood species is long.  Here are some others that we can provide at your request:

Domestic Species

White Ash American Mahogany Beech
Maple Birch Bird's Eye Maple
American Cherry Mesquite Chestnut
Red Oak Douglas Fir White Oak
Antique Heart Pine Yellow Pine Virgin Heart Pine

Imported Species

Cameron Merbau Brazilian Cherry
Padauk Australian Cypress Purpleheart
Doussie Sapele Ipe
Teak Iroko Wenge
Jarra Santos Mahagony Others

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