Hardwood Floor Species

Over the next couple of weeks we will be posting a series of blog posts about hardwood floor. We’ll be posting about types of wood cuts, wood grades, hardwood flooring installation and other topics. Our goal is to provide some helpful information for those wanting to learn more about the various types of hardwood flooring.

For our first post, we will explain the various species of hardwood floor.

Red Oak

Red Oak FlooringRed Oak is by far the most used species in flooring in North America. Red Oak is widely available, takes a stain easily and is stable. There are variances in red oak depending on the region. Southern Red Oak grows faster than Northern so it will have a more pronounced grain pattern as the growth rings are much larger due to the longer growing season. (Red Oak Janka Hardness Test – 1290)

White Oak

White Oak FlooringWhite Oak flooring is harder than Red Oad (Janka Test – 1360). White Oak flooring has less pronounced finer graining and warmer golden brown tones. White Oak flooring is also more stable. Because it is harder, it accepts stain color more evenly than Red Oak flooring does.


Maple FlooringMaple is found mostly in Northern regions in North America and Canada. Depending on the grade chosen, Maple flooring can contain minimal to a lot of brownish/black mineral streaks, Some cuts of Maple flooring will contain graining called “birdseye.” Birdseye is a distinctive pattern of small marks that resemble tiny eyes. Maple hardwood flooring is a very hard wood species (Janka Test 1450) but because it contains hard and soft cell structures, staining a darker color can come out blotchy.


Walnut FlooringWalnut has fine, straight graining. Colors are rich, almost chocolate brown. Homeowners like the natural color of Walnut flooring and the warmth it automatically adds to a room. There is some color variation from board to board, as the sapwood can range from light tan to medium brown. Walnut character grade shows knots and other grain variations. Walnut is a softer wood species (Janka Test – 1010)


Hickory FlooringHickory is one of the hardest domestic wood species and is highly popular because of its natural color variation and unusual graining. Coloring for Hickory hardwood flooring can range from creamy whites to medium browns. Hickory is most popular in wider planks, 5” and wider) because more narrow strips of Hickory can start looking pretty busy with all the unique and interesting graining and variation within the boards. Similar to Maple, Hickory can be tricky to stain. (Janka Test – 1820)

American Cherry

American Cherry FlooringAmerican cherry wood flooring is a softer wood species (Janka Test – 995). This wood species has a very distinctive grain pattern. Because of its natural color variation from board to board and its warm natural color, it is a popular choice. American Cherry flooring will darken with age to a deep reddish brown color.

Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian Cherry FlooringBrazilian Cherry is also known as Jatoba. This exotic wood species is known for its extreme color variation and is very hard (Janka Test – 2350) It is the most popular exotic wood species choice for hardwood flooring. Color patterns include reddish/brown tones, reddish/blonde highlights and occasionally deep red selections. The coloring of Brazilian Cherry also gets richer and darkens with exposure to light to create a beautiful work of art in your home


Bamboo FlooringBamboo is a type of grass. It is considered an environmental friendly product because it matures quickly – 3 to 5 years. Bamboo is very hard floor (Janka Test – 1380). Natural bamboo is blonde in color. When heated, the sugars in the bamboo will carbonize which will turn the color dark brown. Stranded or Woven bamboo is made with resins and compressed under high heat and pressure. While bamboo can be stained in a factory setting, it is not suitable for staining on site.

Looking for new hardwood flooring in your home? Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.

Posted February 20, 2015
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