Hickory vs. Oak Flooring
When it comes to hickory vs. oak flooring, both offer incredibly durable, attractive flooring. Here’s some help selecting which hardwood option is best for you.
July 20, 2023 | By Bruce Product Expert
Choosing Between Hickory vs. Oak Flooring
You’ve decided to install solid hardwood flooring in your home. After visiting a home center like Lowe’s or Home Depot, you’ve narrowed your selection to hickory vs. oak flooring. But which is the better option for your home?
It’s hard to go wrong with either type of hardwood flooring. But here are some insights that might help you choose between the two.
Hickory Flooring Grain Patterns
Hickory is tough to beat if you’re looking for a wood floor with a unique personality. It’s known for its distinctive and varied grain patterns. In addition, the wood combines light and dark-colored sapwood and heartwood, giving it a distinct and unique appearance.
The specific pattern can vary depending on the cut of the wood, such as rift or quarter sawed. Individual trees also impact patterns.
Oak Flooring Grain Patterns
Oak hardwood flooring has long been a favorite among homeowners. It’s known for its distinctive and varied grain patterns. In addition, the wood combines light and dark-colored sapwood and heartwood, giving it a distinct and unique appearance.
Like hickory, the specific pattern can vary depending on the cut of the wood and the tree it came from.
In addition, the oak species can also influence grain patterns. For example, red oak features more prominent and dramatic patterns than white oak, known for its smooth, subtle patterns.
Hickory vs. Oak for Hardness
The Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a wood species to denting and wear. The test measures the force required to embed a .444-inch steel ball into the wood to half its diameter. The higher the Janka rating, the harder and more durable the wood is.
Hickory has a Janka hardness rating of 1820, making it one of the hardest domestic woods. This makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas, as it is highly resistant to wear and tear.
Conversely, white oak wood has a Janka hardness rating of 1360, making it a strong and durable wood. It is more resistant to dents and scratches than hickory but not as hard.
So, hickory is generally harder and more durable than oak. However, oak is more resistant to dents and scratches. As a result, the choice between the two depends on where the flooring is used. Plus, the level of wear and tear it is likely to receive.
For example, hickory would be a good choice for entryways where traffic is high. Oak would serve you well in living rooms.
Flooring Costs for Hickory and Oak
The cost of hickory and oak flooring can vary based on several factors. Factors include the specific grade and cut of the wood, the location, and the availability of the wood. Labor also contributes to your cost.
In general, hickory tends to be more expensive than oak. That’s because hickory is a harder and more durable wood and is, therefore, more difficult to mill and install. Plus, because hickory is less common than oak, its supply may be more limited. That also can add to its cost.
Oak flooring can vary in price depending on the species and the specific cut of the wood. For example, red oak is less expensive than white oak flooring. On the other hand, white oak is more scarce and has more pronounced patterns.
Your Installation costs will vary depending on the job’s complexity and labor cost. For example, a professional hickory or oak flooring installation can add to the overall cost.
Hickory flooring can cost anywhere from $5 to $12 per square foot. Oak flooring can cost anywhere from $3 to $10 per square foot.
However, these prices can vary greatly depending on the specific factors mentioned above. Getting quotes from different flooring providers is always recommended. You’ll get a better idea of what it will cost to install hardwood floors.
Why Choose Hickory Flooring?
There are several reasons why someone might choose hickory flooring:
Durability: As mentioned, hickory has a Janka hardness rating of 1820, making it one of the hardest domestic woods available. That makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas, as it is highly resistant to wear and tear.
Unique Appearance: Hickory is known for its distinctive and varied grain patterns, combining light and dark-colored sapwood and heartwood. This gives it a unique and distinctive appearance.
Color Variations: Hickory flooring comes in various natural colors, ranging from pale white to reddish-brown.
Versatility: Hickory flooring can be stained or finished in various ways to match any decor. It can be used in many styles, from traditional to modern.
Longevity: Hickory is a hard and durable wood that can withstand heavy foot traffic and daily wear and tear. It can last for many years with proper care and maintenance.
Eco-Friendly: Hickory is a natural and renewable resource. It’s a good choice for those wanting an environmentally friendly option.
Overall, hickory flooring is an excellent choice for those looking for durable, unique-looking flooring capable of handling heavy foot traffic. It also appeals to homeowners wanting a natural, rustic, or modern look to their home.
Hickory typically comes in wide planks to enhance its rustic appeal.
Why Choose Oak Flooring?
There are several reasons why someone might choose oak flooring:
Durability: Oak has a Janka hardness rating of 1290. So it’s a strong, durable wood that’s more resistant to dents and scratches than hickory. However, oak isn’t as hard as hickory.
Classic Look: Oak is a timeless wood known for its classic and elegant appearance. Oak flooring can add warmth and character to any room, making it a great option for traditional or modern settings.
Variety of Colors: Oak flooring comes in various natural colors, ranging from pale white to reddish-brown. The oak species can also influence grain patterns and color. For example, red oak has prominent, dramatic patterns. On the other hand, white oak is known for its smooth, subtle patterns.
Versatility: Oak flooring can be stained or finished in various ways to match any decor. It can be used in many styles, from traditional to modern.
Longevity: Oak is a durable wood that withstands heavy foot traffic and daily wear. It can last for many years with proper care and maintenance.
Eco-Friendly: Red and white oak are natural and renewable resources. So, both are good choices for those who want an environmentally friendly option.
Overall, oak solid wood floors are great for those wanting a classic, elegant look. Plus, you’ll enjoy flooring that can handle heavy foot traffic and daily wear. They also add warmth and character to a home. In addition, oak flooring can be used in a wide range of styles, from traditional to modern.
Bruce, Has You Covered with Either Selection
If you’re looking for real hardwood flooring, Bruce offers oak and hickory flooring. You can also select from engineered hardwoods capable of handling moisture better than solid hardwood flooring.
You can also use our flooring visualizer to help you select the right style and color for your hardwood. Just take a picture, upload it to the app, and see how the wood floors look in your room. Then, when you’re ready to buy, use our dealer locator.