hardwood flooring

Types of Hardwood Flooring

types of hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring has become popular in many modern homes because it:

  • enhances the appearance of many décor themes, 
  • is easy to clean, and 
  • is quite strong and durable. 

There are many types of hardwood floors and your choice depends on what attracts you the most while fitting your home suitably.

The different types of hardwood flooring are normally rated on the Janka Hardness Scale. It is named after Australian researcher Gabriel Janka who developed the scale in 1906 which developed into an industry standard for determining the hardness of wood.

Here is a brief guide on the different types of hardwood flooring to help you make a decision when seeking something appropriate for your home.

American Walnut

american walnut

Walnut is a rich dark chocolate-brown color. It is a softer kind of wood with a Janka rating of 1010 and has a characteristic look with swirled grains. Thus, it has a striking appearance that feels luxurious. 

However, its soft nature makes it more susceptible to scuffs and dents, and thus it is unsuitable for high-traffic areas of the home.

American Walnut is a good choice for people who favor dark to mid-tone wood floors. The color variations of American Walnut from one board to another are slight, and thus it offers a smooth and consistent appearance.

They typically offer a warmer and cozier feel. Experts have noted that the supply of American walnut is becoming increasingly tight, and it may tend to be more expensive than ash and oak.



While it is still not as popular as it was at the start of the century, cherry has been making a comeback, particularly among homeowners who favor the look of dark wooden floors. Cherry has a light reddish-brown hue and carries visible swirling grains.

Many people still favor cherry flooring because it resembles some exotic tropical hardwoods, and these are hard to come by as a result of global supply chain challenges.

However, cherry is more expensive because of its attractive and enviable appearance. It is also quite photosensitive and it may darken within the first few months after you install it. 

Also, cherry is slightly softer compared to some hardwoods with a Janka scale rating of 950. Therefore, to prevent scuffing and denting, it is a good choice for lower-traffic areas of the home.



With a Janka scale rating of around 1450, maple is a highly durable choice of hardwood flooring and suitable for most areas of the home with high foot traffic. Maple is a fairly light-colored flooring option, and it has light cream, tan and beige hues.

Maple carries a pattern of fine grains with the occasional dark specs and streaks that add some visual interest to the wood. It is a type of hardwood that fits many styles such as transitional, eclectic, and contemporary themes.

You should beware of the reality that maple can be difficult to stain, except for neutral finishes.


oak hardwood

Oak is quite a popular species of hardwood flooring, usually falling into the categories of either red oak or white oak. Red oak has warmer tones that produce floors with reddish or rust undertones, complimented with a vast amount of grain variation.

White oak has a cooler gray-green hue with more uniform grains, though with decidedly less grain variation and character compared to red oak.

Both varieties of oak are great flooring options, bearing a Janka hardness rating of 1360 for white oak and 1290 for red oak. 

As a result, oak is durable and the naturally strong grain pattern can mask various abnormalities like dents, scratches, and nicks among other small mishaps. 

Also, the light hue of oak means that it can be stained virtually using any color.



Ash has an excellent Janka scale rating of 1320, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. It has a light grain pattern that works well with many modern designs. Ash is also known to take on stains well, meaning you can customize it to your preferred appearance.

Experts indicate that ash is becoming cheaper and more available because it has become susceptible to the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle species from Asia.




Hickory boasts an impressive Janka rating of 1820, meaning that it is highly durable and well-suited for high-traffic zones. It has mocha tones that range from creamy beige with subtle hints of red and warm brown streaks.

Hickory features large knots and hues that vary wildly from one board to another, making it well suited for rustic themes and country décor. The grain within hickory is therefore varied and complex, making it ideal for display in long, wide planks.



Mahogany flooring is a hardwood that has a Janka score of between 800 and 900. Thus, it is a strong material capable of taking some use without consistently denting from accidental hits and drops.

Also, mahogany is revered for its appealing wavy grain, richness, and warmth. It often evokes the feeling of old-fashioned wealth that matches beautifully upholstered leather chairs.

Mahogany often has to be imported and thus is considered an exotic variety of wood. This makes it a bit more expensive than other hardwood counterparts.


 teak hardwood

Teak is another exotic wood species full of natural oils that make it shine even with a minimal finish. The warmth and radiance of the teak species make it a perennial favorite, and the high Janka rating of 2330 means it is a tough and durable option, ideal for a house with lots of kids and pets.

Beware that illegal teak harvesting has caused massive issues with deforestation that are still ongoing. So, make sure you only buy teak from certified sources with the necessary accreditation.


There are many types of hardwood flooring like maple, cork, oak, cherry, teak, mahogany, and hickory. Be sure you check out their different qualities, benefits, and drawbacks so that you end up with the right choice for your home.

Remember to be mindful of features like the cost, hardness, ease of maintenance, and how their appearances change over time. These will determine how your home looks and the sort of experience you have with the hardware flooring you choose.

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