All hardwood isn’t the same, so it's essential to understand the properties, including color, grains, hardness, processing, and finishing, so you can determine if it's best for your hardwood flooring needs. There are about 800 species, with the most popular, for either solid or engineered flooring, being oak, maple, walnut, hickory, mahogany, and cherry.
Domestic vs. exotic species
This will be the first thing you’ll need to decide because it affects style, budget, and hardness. A domestic species is anything grown in North America. These floors are warmer and more traditional, such as oak (both red and white) or hickory, known as the hardest domestic species.
Exotic species, such as Brazilian Cherry, Tigerwood, Timborana, or Tiete Rosewood, are harvested in locales like Brazil, Indonesia, and Africa. These are ultra-hard, dark (and many, like Timborana and Tiete Rosewood, become darker over time), dramatic, and, according to some, more contemporary. They are also more expensive.
Popular wood floor species
You can narrow down your choice by deciding on color--do you want a light, dark or medium floor? Also, think about whether you want many knots, raised grains and swirls, or something more subtle. Even think of plank size and finish because some wood floors are more suited to these than others. Oak is the most frequently seen on floors, door trim, and furniture, whether it’s red oak or white.
Maple is a close second, being used for floors and furniture. It’s relatively light-colored and used in its natural (unfinished) shade. Walnut is a rich, chocolatey brown and is rarely stained., while cherry looks like cherries with its reddish-brown color. Intricate wood grains, mineral streaks, knots, and color variations underscore hickory, a species often used for wider floor planks because it shows the features off better.
Have more hardwood questions?
Consider Marion's Carpet & Flooring Warehouses, your one-stop source for a flooring store in Portland, OR. Visit one of our showrooms in Wilsonville or Portland, OR for unmatched wood flooring options and hardwood flooring installation services. We work with homeowners in Wilsonville, Beaverton, Portland, Vancouver, and Lake Oswego.