Species is the type of hardwood, like oak, maple, cherry, hickory that is used to make hardwood flooring. Species can be either domestic, grown in the U.S., or exotic, grown elsewhere in the world, typically in tropic or sub-tropic areas.
Each species has its own natural visual characteristics in three areas:
- Color – naturally occurring or applied with stain
- Grain – refers to the lines visible on a cut board
- Texture – naturally occurring or added during manufacturing (See hand-scraped floors)
Each species used in hardwood flooring has a unique hardness rating, which indicates its natural resistance to normal wear and tear in a home. A species receives a hardness rating based on its resistance to indentation in a hardness test. The higher the rating, the higher the durability of the hardwood. Brazilian walnut has one of the highest ratings at 3684, while yellow pine has one of the lowest at 690. Oak is the benchmark standard for hardness at 1360.
All of the ratings appear ranked from lowest to highest on the Janka Hardness Scale. It’s a good idea to check this scale for the hardwood species you plan to buy. Depending on the amount of traffic in your room, you may want a species with a higher hardness rating.
For high traffic areas, like a living room or foyer, consider hickory, maple, oak, and ash, or an exotic wood like black acacia. For rooms with less traffic, like bedrooms and formal dining rooms, your hardwood options are more varied.Selected Wood Species Chart
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Armstrong (Bruce is an Armstrong brand) manufactures two types of Bruce hardwood floors: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Both floors are made of real hardwood, but they’re constructed differently.
- Solid piece of wood milled from lumber
- Can be re-sanded and refinished several times
- Installed over wood subfloors, on or above ground level
- Genuine hardwood layers bonded together for strength and stability
- Can be installed on any level of the home, including basements
- Can be installed over wood or concrete subfloors
- Can be sanded a few times (Recommendation: call a professional)
- Plank lengths are typically shorter than solid hardwoods
Bruce hardwood floors are installed using one of three options:
- Nail-down – attached with staples
- Glue-down – attached with adhesive
- Floating (Engineered wood only) – floor boards are not attached to the subfloor, but attached to each other.
Engineered hardwood with interlocking edges (Lock&Fold®) is the easiest to install and requires no nail, glue, or staples.
The installation option you choose will depend on where you’re installing your floor, whether it’s a solid or engineered hardwood floor, and whether you’re installing the floor yourself or hiring a contractor.View Flooring Installation Guides
Hire a Professional or Go DIY?
Not sure whether to install your hardwood floor yourself or hire a professional? These 3 questions can help you decide.
- Can you get professional results if you do it yourself?
- Do you have the time?
- How much money can you save?
Saving money on the installation by doing it yourself may be a good option in the short-term, but not in the long-term, if you wind up with a floor that develops installations issues and you have to call in a professional to fix them.
Selected Wood Species Chart
|Species||Characteristics||Janka Hardness Rating|
|With its rustic appeal, hickory is a popular choice for hardwood floors. It has an active grain pattern and dramatic board-to-board color variation. Hickory is harder than oak, which makes it ideal for active homes.||
|Maple is an extremely durable hardwood with fine, straight graining. Colors range from off-white to light tan with reddish streaks. With its clean lines and light coloring, maple hardwood is an excellent choice for traditional, modern, or eclectic decorating styles.||
|Oak is available in two types of hardwood: white and red. Red is the most popular flooring choice in North America. Red oak also has more color variation and a more pronounced grain pattern than white oak.||
WHITE OAK: 1360
|Ash is a strong hardwood, ranking just below oak on the Janka scale. Ash has a bold, straight grain and ranges in color from creamy white to dark brown. If you like oak, but prefer a quieter, more consistent graining pattern, ash is your best choice.||
|Birch is a moderately hard hardwood. Its colors range from light yellow to light brownish red. Birch has a smooth, fine grain, similar to maple. Birch is at home with any decorating style. Choose a high gloss for a modern or contemporary- style room or a hand-scraped treatment for a more rustic style.||
|Walnut is a medium-hard hardwood. It has a subtle grain pattern with large burls. With its rich dark tones, walnut perfectly complements a room with an elegant décor.||
|Cherry is known for its beautiful light brown color, smooth texture, and fine grain. It’s not as hard as other hardwoods, so be cautious when using it in high traffic areas. Cherry also darkens with age and exposure to bright sunlight.||