Selecting Wood for Your Custom Hardwood Floor

Selecting wood for your hardwood floor is often a confusing process if you don’t know what you should be looking for. The type of wood, it’s content of sapwood or heartwood, its durability, whether you’re using for indoor or outdoor applications-all these considerations matter when you’re selecting wood for your hardwood floor.

There are some general properties to understand before you purchase a wood floor. One such property is the amount of sapwood or heartwood in the product.

Choosing sapwood for your hardwood floor

Sapwood is softer and lighter, and can be more prone to damage. However, its loveliness and relative un-knottiness, plus its reasonable price, make it a popular wood. Sapwood is also more prone to warping than hardwood, so this should also be a consideration when choosing sapwood for your hardwood floor.

Choosing heartwood for your hardwood floor

Hardwood is the most durable wood, and is an excellent choice for many applications, especially hardwood floors. It is made from the outer bark of the tree and is usually darker. It can be more expensive than sapwood depending on the type of wood involved, i.e. whether you choose an exotic wood (more expensive) or a domestic wood (less expensive).

What is the most commonly used wood flooring choice?

There are many species and types of wood, but the most commonly used wood is oak. Oak is the standard that wood manufacturing companies tend to hold other species to, and they are rated on a “hardness” scale.

Choosing the color of your hardwood floor

Color is also a consideration when thinking about selecting a wood for your hardwood floor. There is a wide palette of natural colors, ranging from pink and tan (red oak) to white/beige (beech, hickory, birch) and orange, gold and brown (teak), plus everything in between.

Many woods have various colors; in general, the darker colors are usually heartwood, and the lighter colors are usually sapwood, although there are some exceptions. 

Diane Newsom
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