When you choose wood, you're choosing one of the warmest, most time-tested, and versatile flooring materials. And one that looks better with time.
Types of wood
Many wood species are used for flooring. Each one has its own natural color, markings, and advantages.
Oak flooring comes in either white or red. The color of white oak runs from a creamy white or light brown to medium brown. It's a bit harder than red oak, has smaller markings, and has a more uniform appearance. Red oak is reddish brown, and its open grain makes it somewhat porous.
Maple flooring runs from pale white to light reddish brown. It has a uniform texture and closed grain and is very hard, harder than red oak.
Pine, considered a softwood rather than a hardwood like oak or maple, was commonly used in early American flooring because of its natural stability. Longleaf heart pine (on a par with red oak) and southern yellow pine are the hardest of all pines. Minor dents and dings will happen over time but tend to enhance a floor's character.
Bamboo flooring is similar to oak in dent resistance and is much more dimensionally stable than most wood flooring. Because bamboo is harvested from grass and rejuvenates itself to maturity in three to five years, it is environmentally friendly. It comes in both vertical and flat-grain patterns and in a light natural and a darker amber color.
Cherry is appreciated for its warm reddish coloring, straight grain, and smooth texture. It looks sleek when sanded and finished and is frequently used for cabinetry. Of medium density, it is dimensionally stable upon kiln drying.
Mahogany, an extremely durable high-density wood, has a deep reddish brown color and very fine graining. Mahogany encompasses a few different timber species. It was first discovered in the West Indies but now, due to sustainable harvesting, comes from Mexico, and Central and South America.
Teak, similar in strength to oak, is naturally resistant to insects, fungus, termites, and temperature shifts. Recently brought back into vogue through sustainable sources, it has a distinct shading that varies from yellowish brown to dark golden brown. Its grain runs straight, although its texture can be uneven.
Wood floors can be made from solid wood, from engineered wood, or from reclaimed wood.