Is there a "Right Wood" for Hardwood Floors?

Rod Lorenz

People ask us all the time if there is a `right wood`for hardwood floors. They usually mean is there a right species and we always try to explain is that there is no right or best type for hardwood floors. There is only the best choice for you and what you want for the overall style of your home.

Each species of wood is unique, and we'll tell you why we generally recommend certain species.

Watch this video & learn how hardwood species can help you create different styles in your home.


Hardwood flooring can be made using a wide variety of wood species that can be found across the states and beyond. The two primary groups you can choose from are domestic or exotic species.

Domestic Hardwood

Domestic hardwood species are a good choice for those looking for versatility. Their other benefit is the fact that they can easily be adjusted to fit the ever-changing design trends in the country. The most commonly used species are oak, cherry, maple, ash, and walnut.

  • Red oak is the most prevalent domestic wood species in hardwood floors due to its unique grain that ranges from moderate to heavy. It also offers a wide range of colors.
  • White oak is comparable to red oak, but a bit harder and has more gray undertones. People mostly use it to create a more traditional look in their room.
  • Walnut adds warmth to a room with its straight graining and rich, chocolate brown colors.
  • Ash has one of the palest colors that makes it very similar to white oak. However, it has a more distinctive graining.
  • Maple offers a creamy white color that changes shades from board to board. It's the most popular choice in Wisconsin.
  • Domestic cherry offers a graceful color and graining that appeals to many.

Exotic hardwood species are prized for their hardness and are a great choice for areas of the home that receive the most traffic during the day, like the living room and the dining area. These species can also add that upscale look some people favor. The most commonly used species are Brazilian cherry, mahogany, teak, and amendoim.

  • Brazilian cherry is much harder than it`s domestic version and offers some extreme variations in color that lean more to a dark red hue. It also creates an exciting setting due to how it changes from light over time.
  • After Brazilian cherry, Santos mahogany is the most popular exotic species of wood. Color variations are a bit toned down, and the floors have more patterns.
  • Amendoim is entirely unique with its golden and reddish-brown tone that can rarely be found with other species.

Key Takeaways

As you can see, many things go into choosing the right wood for your hardwood flooring. However, you should remember that there is no right choice in general, only the right choice for you and your specific wants and needs for your home.

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