Five Hardwood Flooring Species You May Not Have Considered, But Should

Although most people opt for pine, oak, cherry or maple hardwood flooring, there are dozens of other hardwood species available today. If you're looking for a floor that's a little out of the ordinary that doesn't look like all of your neighbors' floors, there are a few species you should consider.

Lesser known, but beautiful, hardwood flooring species

One way to compare hardwood species is by their density, which generally translates into durability. Density, in hardwood flooring, is measured with a Janka rating. The higher the number, the denser the wood.

1. Birch. This light-colored wood comes from North American trees. It has a very fine grain pattern with small, distinctive swirls. Birch ranges in color from an almost white to a reddish yellow hue. This is a wood of medium density, with a Janka rating of 1260.

2. Hickory. Hickory, another indigenous North Americans hardwood, is one of the densest woods on the continent, with a Janka rating of 1820. Hickory flooring gives a room a casual, rustic look, making it an ideal choice for kitchens and family rooms. This wood has natural color variations and a unique wide and curving grain pattern.

3. Ash. Ash is another light-colored North American hardwood. It varies in color from a very light tan hue to light brown. Ash is a wood of medium density (with a Janka rating of 1320) and is known for its tight, elegant grain pattern.

4. Beech. Of similar density to ash hardwood (with a Janka rating of 1300), Beech hardwood has very straight grain lines and a warm brown color with reddish highlights. This is a very versatile wood, as fitting for a formal dining room as for an active family room.

5. Chestnut. Once a very popular hardwood for flooring and wood trim in North America, chestnut became less widely used when these lovely trees where plagued by disease and died in the early 20th century. Today, most chestnut wood comes from Europe. This wood species has a beautiful, tight grain pattern and ranges in color from a light tan to a darker, reddish brown. Chestnut is also one of the densest wood species on the market, with a Janka rating of 3540.

While there's nothing wrong with choosing a pine, oak or cherry hardwood floor, if you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary, look to hardwood species like beech, ash birch and hickory. Your floor will be sure to stand out and shine for years to come.

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