Choosing the right species of wood flooring for you is strictly a matter of your style, budget and personal preference. More than 50 domestic and imported species of wood flooring are available to achieve a unique look. Check out the species gallery.
Do you like light woods like ash or maple? These species generally make a room appear more open and airy.
Do you like medium woods like hickory or oak? These species generally make a room appear more warm and cozy.
Do you like dark woods like walnut or mahogany? These species generally make a room appear more stately and refined.
Imported species can offer even more color options.
Once you decide on a look, you should consider how your floors will be used. Are you a retired couple living alone, or a busy family with young children and pets? Each wood species is rated for its hardness and durability using something called a Janka scale.
The Janka scale gives a good indication of how likely a wood is to dent or show other wear. For example, domestic black cherry is ranked at 950 on the Janka scale, while Brazilian cherry is ranked much higher at 2,820, nearly three times the hardness of the domestic species. The domestic black cherry would be a good choice for the retired couple since their floor will see less traffic, while the Brazilian cherry might be a better choice for a busy family with young children and pets.
Source: National Wood Flooring Association
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Natalie A. Gauci
Licensed Interior Designer working in the Tampa Bay, Florida area.