Most people have seen so many oak floors that they’ve come to expect oak to be the only species available for hard wood flooring types. Oak does account for most of the types of hardwood floors sold in the United States. Other species used for hardwood flooring types, namely maple, pecan, birch, beech, various pines and fir are available, although it may take extra effort to locate sources for these species. More exotic species, like domestic cherry or walnut, mahoganies and other tropical woods, can also be custom manufactured or bought from specialty suppliers – with an increase in cost.
How To Choose The Wood Flooring Types For Your Requirements
Choosing the best species and hard wood flooring types is purely a subjective matter that concerns your own tastes in color and grain. In some locations, say a heavily trafficked hall, some soft wood flooring types (like pine or fir) may not last, so you may want to use a hardwood like oak or maple. For the same reason, gyms and courts are almost always made of maple. High-moisture areas, basements or below-grade slabs, will do better with hardwood flooring types that are moisture stable or with laminated or parquet flooring. In most cases, however, color and grain requirements will govern the selection of types of hardwood floors available for that use.
Selecting The Right Grade Of Hard Wood Flooring Types
Most suppliers will have a chart available that describes the characteristics of most soft and hard wood flooring types, and their typical applications. I’d recommend starting your selection process for the best types of hardwood floors with color. If you like warm wood tones and flamboyant grain, the red or white oak hardwood flooring types are a good choice. As you will see in manufacturers charts, the grades of wood flooring types has everything to do with grain pattern. Reddish hues dominate red oak hardwood flooring, while white oak is lighter with a tan to light brown color. However, expect considerable variation within a given lot of either red or white oak hard wood flooring types, and don’t be surprised to find an occasional white oak board in a bundle or red oak flooring, or vice versa.
White oak is slightly less moisture stable than the red oak hardwood flooring types, which means it will expand and contract more during seasonal moisture changes. For this reason, a white oak floor might be “noisier” than a red oak floor, snapping and popping a bit until the boards reach equilibrium moisture content. Red oak is more porous and slightly softer than white oak. Because of this, red oak absorbs more stain than does white oak, producing a very noticeable contrast between boards in the same floor. Also, red oak wood flooring types will consume a lot more stain and finish than white oak.
Red oak’s stain-absorption properties can be a plus with heavy pigmented stains, such as whites or greys. These stains consist of large particles that don’t penetrate deeply into the wood’s large pores. When a wide color variation is wanted or a pigmented heavy stain is being used, red oak will probably produce better results. White oak hardwood flooring types are more evenly colored to begin with, and it accepts stains more evenly, if sparingly. White oak isn’t as good a choice as red when a wide color variation is desired, but the final result will be more uniform.
Non Oak Based Types Hardwood Floors
Hard maples are also widely available types of hardwood flooring, mostly for gyms and sports floors but in residential applications, too. The light color and subtle grain pattern are a nice change of pace from oak. Two maple hardwood floor types are available, one grown throughout the South and lower Mid-west and the other in the upper Midwest. Both are similar in appearance – creamy white in color with tight, relatively subdued grain – but the northern variety is denser and harder. Maple hardwood flooring types are one of the hardest species used for flooring. Like white oak, it’s not very porous but accepts most finishes evenly. Because maple has low rot and moisture resistance, these wood flooring types are a poor choice for wet areas like bathrooms or below-grade applications.
Three other types of hardwood flooring that might turn up with a diligent search of suppliers are pecan, beech and birch. These three are similar to maple, in that they’re very hard and have dense, subdued grain. Depending on your tastes in color, any of the three hard wood flooring types would be a good alternative to the rather pronounced grain of red oak and white oak.