Hardwood remains one of the most desirable flooring materials, as its durability, warmth, appearance, and ability to add to your home’s resale value is unparalleled.
But when it comes to selecting a type of hardwood flooring, many factors need to be considered. Apart from the wood’s colour and grade, you should also give careful thought to the species, as each has its particular benefits.
Oak, birch, mahogany, and maple are among the most sought-after and widely-used varieties due to their exceptional hardness and strength. But before making your selection, let’s look at their features so you can make a more informed decision.
A Guide to Hardwood Flooring’s Most Popular Species
Are you planning to install new hardwood floors? Here’s a quick look at the most popular varieties of hardwood – oak, birch, maple, and mahogany – used to make attractive and long-lasting floors.
Oak is one of the most common woods used to make hardwood flooring because of its longevity and durability. Available in red or white, oak is well suited to most flooring needs. It features graceful swirled grain patterns throughout and complements a wide range of decor styles, including rustic, contemporary, and traditional. Its golden tone and caramel hues give oak a distinct look and add character to both residential and commercial spaces.
Here are some important features of oak flooring to consider.
- Highly resistant to dents and scratches
- Ideal for high-traffic areas, such as kitchens and offices
- Excellent moisture resistance
- More affordable than other types of hardwood
- Available in a wide range of visually appealing colours and grain patterns
- Easy to clean and install
- Denser and more stable than other varieties of hardwood
- Doesn’t hold mould, which makes it a good choice for allergy sufferers
- Cannot be repaired or refinished
With a Janka rating between 1260 and 1470, birch is a heavy-duty variety of hardwood flooring. It features a cool mix of golden, brownish and red tones, and its grain pattern is smooth, thus giving your floors a nice even look. There are four types of birch: yellow, sweet, paper, and flamed, with sweet birch being the hardest and paper birch the softest.
The best thing about birch flooring is that you won’t have to repair or refinish it thanks to its toughness and durability. It’s suitable for floors that will receive moderate to heavy foot traffic.
When choosing birch, consider the following points.
- Smooth finish and dense texture
- Shock resistant
- Suitable for rustic, modern and contemporary decor
- Moisture resistant
- Uniform texture
- Straight, closed grain pattern
- Gives a unique look to the floor
- Excellent holding ability
- Needs proper care and preventive maintenance
This extremely popular hardwood flooring species offers the perfect combination of strength and beauty. It’s best suited to contemporary spaces due to its light natural finish, subtle grain pattern, and smooth surface.
Maple has a Janka scale ranking of 1450 and is suitable for most rooms. This tough wood can withstand decades of wear and tear. Its creamy blonde colour gives floors a subdued look that puts the focus on your furniture. Its light colour also helps optimize daylight, thus making it a good choice for either dark or small rooms.
Here are a few reasons why you should choose maple.
- Timeless appeal
- More affordable than other hardwood species, like cherry, mahogany and ash
- One of the hardest hardwood species
- Ideal for high-traffic areas, like kitchens, living rooms and kids bedrooms
- Harder than any average wood
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Naturally dust resistant
- Fewer grains make scratches and marks easily visible
- Doesn’t absorb stain well
Do you want to give your home or office a royal look? Mahogany offers the best of both words – durability and beauty. This hardwood species surpasses the hardness of oak. In fact, it is one of the hardest of hardwoods, preferred over other varieties for an elegance and beauty that often improves with age.
Consider the following features of mahogany before buying.
- Moderately priced compared to other exotic hardwoods
- Doesn’t fade
- Visually appealing
- Fine and attractive wood grain design
- Extremely durable
- Ideal for traditional, contemporary, and farmhouse decor
- Resistant to water and scratches
- Uniform texture
- Dust, pet hair and other debris are visible on the darker styles
To make the most of your hardwood floors, choose the wood species wisely. Oak, birch, maple and mahogany are preferred for their durability, appearance, and versatility. Thus, they are the most popular and most widely used. Hardwood adds natural warmth to floors and will enhance the value of your property with its longevity. If you’ve made up your mind to install hardwood floors, choose birch, oak, maple or mahogany to give your home a timeless look without losing out on durability.