Before we begin talking about the most popular Hardwood Flooring options for your project we need to talk about the most common hardness rating used to compare how each hardwood flooring type will hold up for you.
Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a type of wood to withstand denting and wear. (Click image at left for full scale) It measures the force required to embed an 11.28 mm (0.444 in) steel ball into wood to half the ball’s diameter. This method leaves an indentation. A common use of Janka hardness ratings is to determine whether a species is suitable for use as hardwood flooring.
Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba)is the most popular hardwood flooring import from Brazil. Known for its hardness and durability, this exotic hardwood is a great choice in both residential and commercial installations. Jatoba wood features a tan/salmon color with black accent stripes that over time turns to a deep rich red color. Jatoba is a very hard wood measuring 2,350 lbf (10,500 N) on the Janka scale.
Tigerwood hardwood flooring is a very dense and heavy wood, with a Janka hardness of 2160 (67% harder than Red Oak at 1210) ORIGIN Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico. Tigerwood typically darkens over time, particularly when it’s exposed to sunlight. As the lighter reds darken, it typically becomes less contrasting and more subtle in color gradation. This phenomenon is typical of most hardwoods and is not exaggerated or abnormal in the case of Tigerwood hardwood flooring.
Santos Mahogany can have a Mahogany-like appearance, though it is typically much denser, harder, and stronger than true Mahogany. Some common uses of the wood include: flooring, furniture, interior trim Janka scale is 2,200 lbf (9,790 N)
Alder Hardwood for flooring is moderately lightweight and demonstrates moderate strength in across many applications. With alder hardwood as flooring there is no visible boundary between heartwood and sapwood. Red Alder hardwood, a relative of birch, is almost white when freshly cut but quickly changes on exposure to air, becoming light brown with a yellow or reddish tinge.
Pecan is an often overlooked hardwood. Pecan trees are common in the south-central United States. Pecan hardwood is rated at 1820 on the Janka scale making it much harder than Hard Maples, both Oaks, and even Black Walnut. Pecan Hardwood Flooring would be worth exploring.
American Hard Maple is one of the most popular materials used in both hardwood flooring and cabinetry today. The Sugar Maple is one of the hardest and densest of the maples. However there are several Maple species used in hardwood flooring. It is common to see some of the hardest pieces coming from smaller logs and this is why you will see Hard Maple in narrow hardwood flooring strips like those in a bowling alley.
American Red Oak and White Oak are the two most popular species used in hardwood flooring toady. This trend is changing though with the introduction of more cost affordable options for the exotic imports.
American Beech, while the sapwood is generally pale white, the heartwood of the American beech is mostly reddish brown. There is often a moderate to high color variation between boards. The grain of the wood is straight, and mostly closed, with a fine, uniform texture. Janka Hardness: 1300 American beech is thirty percent harder than teak, almost identical to red oak in hardness (under one percent), four percent softer than white oak, ten percent softer than hard maple, thirty-two percent softer than Jarrah, and just over fifty-nine percent as hard as Santos Mahogany’s ranking of 2200.
While Bamboo is not a member of the hardwood flooring family it must be included when researching the best flooring for your project. Bamboo is considered the most eco-friendly product on the planet when it comes to flooring. This is because of its almost overnight replenishment rate. Bamboo flooring gives you the combination of flexible design options with very durable surfaces.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Remember that while most hardwood flooring comes in ¾ inch thick tongue and groove planks it is also possible to get these beautiful finishes in an engineered product. Engineered wood flooring is most easily related to a plywood type product. By using multiple ply’s of wood you get a more stable product. You may also see a savings because you are not paying for the entire ¾ inch thickness of hardwood. Most engineered wood flooring is approximately 3/8 inch thick making it more flexible since you should not need to trim door bottoms to offset for the 3/4 inch flooring.