What Are the Different Types of Wood Used in Hardwood Floors?

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Carpets and tile share ancient history but finished wood flooring only showed up about 400 years ago. Thanks to modern construction tools, homeowners today can find many different types of wood to adorn their floors.

With minimal maintenance, wood floors can last up to 100 years. Unlike carpet or vinyl, it doesn’t need to be replaced but simply sanded and refinished. It’s also great for a home’s environmental health as it doesn’t attract parasites or allergens.

To find out which wood flooring options are available to you, check out the guide below.

What Are the Different Types of Wood?

Some common types of wood floors include:

  • Fir
  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Maple
  • Cherry
  • Walnut
  • Hickory

Some of these options are more affordable, while others are more durable. Choosing between them depends on the needs of your space. Picking the wrong type of wood for your climate is one of the most common hardwood floor installation mistakes.

Exotic Hardwood Options

Exotic hardwoods are any types of wood boards that are sourced outside of the United States. Since they have to be imported, they usually cost a lot more. For example, you can find cherry, ash, and walnut in Brazil.

Shopping for exotic hardwoods, you can find some of the densest woods in the world that may not grow domestically. These woods can be an excellent choice for outside areas as they are too dense for wood-boring insects to chew through. 

Wood Flooring Budget

Usually, hardwood flooring cost plays a huge role in the decision-making process. The wood itself may run between $3 to $7 per square foot, but the installation is expensive. 

The price of the materials may also vary depending on the location of the home. For example, maple and oak are standard in North America and can be more affordable. In fact, the most expensive hardwood is often reclaimed hardwood.

The budget also varies depending on the Janka rating of the wood. For example, tough hardwoods like Brazilian walnut (with a Janka rating of 3680) are challenging to work with and jack up installation costs.

Finished or Unfinished?

You can choose between buying prefinished hardwood or unfinished hardwood to install in the home. Prefinished planks are easier to install, but their seams are more evident and susceptible to damage. Unfinished planks cost more for installation, but sealant covers and protects the seams.

Hand-scraped planks are another option to give your hardwood a more unique, rustic appeal. Of course, this requires more time and labor during the installation process, making it an expensive option. 

Deciding on a Type of Wood

The needs of the space, your budget, and your aesthetic all play an essential role in choosing between different types of wood. Although exotic woods can be more expensive, the hardness rating of the wood is what really drives prices up. Sanding and refinishing for maintenance can also be more costly with harder woods.

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