Read these 5 Hardwood Species Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Hardwood-Flooring tips and hundreds of other topics.
Janka Hardness Scale Rating: 1300
Beech is an ideal hardwood flooring for high-traffic areas and commercial flooring. It resists denting and is extremely shock-absorbent. Good news if you plan to be on your feet a lot in the room(s) in question. At one time, beechwood was not looked upon as a wise choice since it doesn't stand up well to air-drying. However, with the advent of kiln-drying, that concern is no longer a deterrent.
Beech's sapwood is most often a pale white, American beech's heartwood is generally a reddish-brown. Sometimes you'll find a silver sheen to the wood as well. The grain's fine and uniform texture is what makes it resilient to wear.
Janka Hardness Scale Rating: 1450
Sugar maple is often considered the creme-de-la-creme of wood flooring. Not only is it beautiful, but it's sturdy, dense, hard -- and therefore scuff- and scratch-resistant. Maple is often used in flooring that get a lot of abuse, like bowling alleys, for this reason.
Think of a bowling alley when you think of maple's color as well; its sapwood is that same creamy white. The heartwood can be the same, or sometimes has a light reddish-brown hue. Although the wood has a closed grain and medium texture, some unique pieces may have "figuring" (scrolls, curls, other markings). These planks are often selected for higher sale due to their interesting patterns.
Janka Hardness Scale Rating: 380-420
The domestic versions of pine are an excellent choice for lower-traffic area wood flooring. Since pine absorbs preservatives quite well, it can be reinforced either through prefinishing or on-site finishing. Contrary to what you might think, pine doesn't give off the same smell as it does when it's in its natural habitat, or left preserved, as with Christmas trees, for example.
Expect the sapwood to be yellow-white or yellow-tan. The heartwood is a light orange- to red-yellow, but can also be a yellow-brown color. The grain is most often straight, with a medium and sometimes uneven texture.
Janka Hardness Scale Rating: 1820
One of the harder species of wood flooring available, Pecan or Hickory wood is ideal for busy areas of your home, such as the kitchen. It retains a smooth finish under friction. This species also stains well, should you choose to alter its sapwood's natural blond color. (The heartwood of pecan is reddish-brown.) Expect a straight grain, with a few irregularities and a coarse texture.
Janka Hardness Scale Rating: 1320
White Ash comes from North America, and is perhaps best known for its use in baseball bats! It is this same elasticity and strength that makes ash a great choice for hardwood flooring. In addition to flooring, ash is commonly used to make fine furniture and tool handles.
You can expect the sapwood of white ash to be a creamy white; the heartwood can be light tan to dark brown. While the grain is most often straight, there can be an occasional wave within it. The texture is coarse, giving it a nice look for rustic rooms.