Selecting a Hardwood Species

Selecting a Hardwood Species

The first thing to think about before purchasing wood flooring is, "Which hardwood species is right for me?"

Wood products are known for their natural beauty, but when selecting a type of wood for your next flooring project, it is important to also consider the level of durability by understanding the difference between wood types. Each type and species of wood has an individual cellular structure that creates unique physical properties that determine suitability for different uses. The hardness of wood varies with the direction of the wood grain.

The higher the number, the harder the wood. These ratings were determined using the Janka Hardness Test  which measures the side hardness measure of the  force required to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter into the wood. This is one of the best measures of the ability of wood species to withstand denting and wear. It is also a good indicator of how hard a species is to saw or nail.

Scale rating has become the industry standard for determining whether a given wood is suitable for flooring material. Red Oak, which has a Janka rating of 1290, is the industry benchmark for comparing the relative hardness of different wood species.

The majority of hardwoods and many softwoods are durable enough to withstand normal flooring use - especially with proper installation and finishing. However, no matter the Janka rating,  all wood will dent or mar with a hard enough impact.Hardwoods are deciduous trees that have broad leaves, produce a fruit or nut and generally go dormant in the winter. North America’s forests grow hundreds of varieties that thrive in temperate climates, including oak, ash, cherry, maple. Each species can be crafted into durable, long lasting flooring, and each offers unique markings with variation in grain pattern, texture and color.

Schmidt Custom Floors is available to help you decide which species of wood will work best in your home and for your lifestyle. If you need additional information, or would like to schedule an appointment with a flooring specialist, visit our Contact Us page.