Wood choices from Schmidt Custom Floors

7 Species, 7 Strengths, 7 Custom Choices

Different Wood Species have always been used for Hardwood Flooring purposes in homes across the United States. Finding the right wood to compliment your home's furnishings and style can often be difficult. The woods' hardness, character, color and width are all factors in making your custom decision. Due to red oak still being one of the most sought after wood species, the hardness of any wood is usually compared to the Janka Hardness Rating of Red Oak.

Red Oak

Red Oak: (Rating 1290)
The most popular domestic wood species for hardwood flooring, Red Oak is known for having moderate to heavy graining with moderate color variations. Coloring of Red Oak ranges from light creamy reddish pinks to shades of brown. Red Oak varies from White Oak due to the fact that it has pinkish undertones, whereas White Oak has golden/brownish gray undertones. Top solid Red Oak Natural options right now can be found in a variety of grades and widths.

White Oak

White Oak: (Rating 1360)
White Oak is a domestic wood species similar to Red Oak, but harder on the Janka Hardness Scale (Red Oak is 1290). Natural Coloring of White Oak ranges from golden/browns with gray undertones. Because of the harder grain White Oak flooring takes stain colors very evenly. White Oak hardwood flooring features generally moderate linear graining with moderate color variations and has exceptional stability. Because of the great durability and stability of White Oak it has been used for flooring and in boat building and wine barrels for centuries. White Oak is a fantastic way to add a touch of traditional atmosphere to your home without introducing the hints of red you would find in a Red Oak Natural.


Ash: (Rating 1320)
Ash is known for color variation from pale white to light/medium brown. Graining is bold and can appear straight, curly or wavy. Ash flooring is very similar to White Oak, but adds a bit more excitement to a room with its more unique graining.


American Cherry: (Rating 950)
American Cherry Wood Flooring is a softer wood species than some of the others but you would find it hard to find another wood species that has such wonderful graceful graining and color. This wood species has a very distinctive charm and is popular because of its natural color variation from board to board and its warm natural color. Because of the unique graining and coloring of American Cherry flooring, many homeowners like to use it in wider planks. Planks 5" and wider will show the natural beauty of American Cherry, but won't look too busy, like it might in a 2-1/4" strip. American Cherry flooring will darken with age to a deep reddish brown color. Homeowners who like American Cherry also have a tendency to look at Natural Hickory flooring because of similar interesting grain patterns.


Walnut: (Rating 1010)
Also known as Black Walnut or American Walnut, this wood species usually has fine, straight graining and coloring is a rich, almost chocolate brown. Homeowners like the natural color of Walnut flooring and the warmth it automatically adds to a room. There is some color variation from board to board, as the sapwood can range from light tan to medium brown Walnut hardwood flooring can be a character grade showing knots and other grain variations. Walnut is a softer wood species on the Janka Hardness chart and sometimes homeowners opt for Brazilian Walnut flooring, with a hardness rating of 3680. This exotic variation of Walnut has similar coloring and is highly recommended in higher traffic areas.


Maple: (Rating 1450)
Found mostly growing in the northern regions of North America and Canada, Maple hardwood flooring is a very pale, creamy white color with slight shade differences from board to board. Depending on the grade chosen, Maple flooring can contain minimal to a lot of brownish/black mineral streaks, Clear grade maple has the least of this streaking. Maple graining is very light and fine and many times barely discernible. Grain will range from uniformly straight lines to curly patterns. Some cuts of Maple flooring will contain graining called "birdseye." Birdseye is a distinctive pattern of small marks that resemble tiny eyes. It does occur in a few other wood species, but is most common in Hard Maple. Maple hardwood flooring is renowned for being a very hard wood species.


Hickory: (Rating 1820)
Hickory is one of the hardest domestic wood species and is highly popular because of its natural color variation and unusual graining. Coloring for Hickory Hardwood flooring can range from creamy whites to medium browns (with even darker browns in some rustic grades). Hickory is most popular in wider planks (think 5" and wider) because more narrow strips of Hickory can start looking pretty busy with all the unique and interesting graining and variation within the boards.

When deciding on your home's wood species, keep in mind that even the best wood flooring will react to the presence of moisture. In the dry winter heating months, moisture leaves the wood causing the floor to contract, which can leave unsightly gaps between each plank. In the summer months when the humidity is higher the wood will absorb excess moisture and expand and the gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks to cup, or buckle. This is why it is important when installing a wood floor to acclimate the wood to the home's living conditions 4 to 7 days or more prior to installation and to leave the proper expansion gap around the perimeter and at all fixed objects. It is also important to keep the home's relative humidity level at between 30 - 40% or what the manufacturer recommends. Doing this will help minimize any movement within the wood flooring over the lifetime of the boards.

Are you ready to get started on your next project? Please call us 970-663-7402 to schedule a free in home consultation.