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Choosing Hardwood Floors – Which Wood Species Is Best For You

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So you’ve decided to get new wood floors. Great! You’re so excited. But what kind of wood floors should you choose? There are many different species of wood and each one has different qualities – texture, color, hardness, etc. How do you decide? Here are some of the most common options to help you decide which one is right for you and your home.

1. Oak (Hard, Medium Colored, Distinctive Grain Pattern)

Oak is very abundant and therefore more affordable. It is very durable which also makes it a popular choice. It’s resistant to stains, dents, and scratches. It’s distinct grain pattern, which has waves of brown and beige peppered with small areas of black gives it added visual interest.

2. Ash (Hard, Lighter Colored, Distinctive Grain Pattern)

If lighter colors are more your style, ash is a cost-effective option as well. Hues can range from a pale brownish color to nearly yellow. Ash also has a distinctive, dotted grain pattern. Its durability makes it perfect for homeowners with kids or indoor pets. 

3. Mahogany (Hard, Darker, Resistant to Moisture)

Another durable species (so durable it’s used for musical instruments that last for generations) is mahogany. It’s rich, darker color, provides a luxurious and upscale look to any room. It’s also highly resistant to moisture, making it a safe option for bars and kitchens.

4. Cherry (Hard, Reddish Hue, Darkens with Age, Larger Planks)

If you lean more toward the rich reds, cherry is a beautiful option. From reddish to  almost maroon, this wood darkens as it ages. It can come from the U.S. or South America (Jatoba). Since its color can vary widely according to planks, it’s typically installed using larger boards to create a more uniform look.

5. American Black Walnut (Softer, Darker, Intricate Grain Pattern)

Known for its darker color and more intricate texture pattern, this species makes rooms look more upscale and sophisticated. Since it’s a slightly softer wood, you’ll want to protect it with rugs. It’s well suited for low-traffic areas like dens and bedrooms. 

The Janka Scale

The hardness of a wood is rated on an industry-wide standard known as the Janka scale. The Janka test measures the force required to embed a .444 inch steel ball into the wood by half its diameter. All you really need to know is wood species used in flooring should generally have a Janka rating of 1,000 or higher. Here is an example of the Janka Scale from the NWFA (National Wood Floors Association) website.

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Of course, there are dozens of wood species and they are available in different plank widths as well. But don’t worry, we have a beautiful showroom with samples of everything and we can walk you through your options in a stress-free setting. 

Give SVB Wood Floors a call at (913) 396-6769 or (816) 944-3150 when you’re ready to install wood floors in your home and we’ll be happy to help. We’ll even provide a free in-home estimate.