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One of the most popular and attractive flooring options in the home is hardwood.
Unlike some of its competitors, there are a plethora of hardwood flooring types to choose from, ranging from pine and oak to maple and cherry. Needless to say, each wood flooring type offers a unique set of characteristics that separates itself from other hardwoods.
Before you install your next hardwood floor, be sure to review our top 12 hardwood flooring types below. After, let us help you connect with a local hardwood flooring professional.
Wood Floor Types & Prices
Before we discuss the physical characteristics of the most popular types of hardwood, you should know how expensive wood flooring can be.
- Oak: $3/sf - $14/sf
- Mahogany: $8/sf - $14/sf
- Lyptus: $5/sf - $11/sf
- Ash: $7/sf - $18/sf
- Hickory: $3/sf - $6/sf
- Pine: $4/sf - $6/sf
- Cherry: $3/sf - $8/sf
- Brazilian Cherry: $4/sf - $9/sf
- Walnut: $4/sf - $9/sf
- Rosewood: $5/sf - $10/sf
- Maple: $6/sf - $14/sf
- Bamboo: $2/sf - $7/sf
Oak is the most common wood floor used in North America. Oak flooring is an option that is highly resistant to dents and deep scratches. This makes oak a very popular choice for those homeowners who like to avoid area rugs. Like many of the other types we will discuss, oak comes in wide variety of stain colors and almost always has an obvious grain pattern.
After years of use, oak floors can seem worn and old. A great way to combat this dated look is by refinishing them. See how much it costs with our wood floor refinishing cost guide.
Mahogany is prized for its beauty and color. On top of flooring, it’s used to make furniture, boats and musical instruments. Mahogany is a highly durable, water-resistant hardwood when installed as flooring. Mahogany advocates like to point to its classic and timeless look as they spread its popularity.
Many people mistake lyptus for mahogany. It's significantly harder than oak and is easy to mill and finish. Lyptus is available all over the world and is increasing its market share every year. The best part about lyptus is that is looks like mahogany, but it’s less expensive. Until people start to really notice the difference, you might as well give it a try.
When you see a light-colored hardwood floor, more often than not, it’s ash wood. For those property owners who really like a hard wood, ash is the way to go. Some feel it’s the toughest and hardest wood on the block. Ash can be differentiated from hickory by white dots in the darker summerwood. It’s often less expensive than comparable hardwoods.
Hickory is more common in rustic or log homes as it has one of the hardest exteriors discussed in this post. Therefore, it is ideal for homeowners who expect a lot of foot traffic over the years. Families with three or more children would get great value from hickory wood floors. Visually, hickory has a close grain without much figure. Flooring pros say hickory floors go with any and all designs.
Believe it or not, pine is not really hardwood. It’s a character wood. It’s quite popular due to its pin holes and knots. Pine is very soft, so for those who want hardwood, but are unsure as to the rough touch on the feet, pine would be a great option. The original character floor is not the cheapest wood on the block, but it’s not the most expensive either.
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Cherry is a type of wood that darkens as it ages. Like other woods, it can produce a great finish and is easy to maintain. Likewise, it can also be easily scratched.
Cherry flooring has been used for many years in the construction industry and is one the most common hardwoods in America. Cherry hardwood is very hard to work with, but it looks as good as any other type after it’s sanded.
Brazilian cherry wood is really called Jatoba. It has a rich burgundy color and is also found in Mexico and Peru. Like Ash wood, Brazilian cherry is a very hard wood. We would recommend hiring a professional to install Brazilian cherry as this tends be a very difficult project for any DIYer.
Walnut wood will make your home really shine, but that sight will come with a price. Walnut is very strong and durable, as it should be given the price tag. The wood is light to dark chocolate brown in color. European walnut is lighter in color and slightly finer in texture than American black walnut.
Rosewood has some of the most unique grain patterns. Its colors range from light yellow to purple. Rosewood has been popular for centuries in furniture making and has recently been turned into flooring planks. Believe it or not, you should be able to catch a hint of roses while standing on rosewood. No other wood flooring comes with a unique fragrance like rosewood.
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular and widely known types of wood is maple. The curly grain is so hard, it’s often used for bowling alleys. If maple wood can hold under those conditions, it can last in any home in America.
Its grain pattern is more subtle than many other woods and can’t absorb dark stains very well. With time, maple wood forms a yellow exterior.
No, bamboo is not exactly hardwood, but many people associate it with as such. Though it’s harder than most hardwoods, bamboo is actually a form of grass. Bamboo comes in only two shades: the natural light-colored tint or it can be boiled, often called carbonized, for a darker look. Though there are only two shades, due to their overall abundance, there are tons of color options available
There is no shortage of choices when it comes to hardwood flooring. While many of the differences would go unnoticed to the untrained eye, there are distinct characteristics that make each type ideal for your remodeled home.
What type of hardwood flooring did you go with? If you are still deciding, check out our wood floor refinishing cost guide.