9 Hardwood Flooring Options (How to Choose Between Them)


Hardwood is the oldest and still the most desirable home flooring option. But when we think of it, only a few varieties generally come to mind.

However, you may be ‘floored’ by how many varieties of hardwood flooring are out there. Keep reading to discover nine of the best and find out which is right for your home.


Types of Hardwood Flooring



Here are the nine most popular types of hardwood flooring you will come across.


1. Cherry

This is the most popular hardwood flooring option. Among all its varieties, American cherry, also known as black cherry, is most preferred for its red and pink hues; tight, wavy grains; and lustrous finish.

Remember, cherry is a soft hardwood but retains good dimensional stability. It can also become sun damaged if installed in direct sunlight, and is the most expensive hardwood. Your best option is to use it in areas with the lowest foot traffic.


2. Walnut

Next to cherry in terms of popularity is walnut; primarily American walnut. This hardwood flooring is known for its rich browns, purple hues, and beautiful dark swirling grains.

Walnut is also a soft hardwood so is not a good option for areas with heavy foot traffic or homes with kids or pets. However, it has high resistance to sunlight so you can install it outdoors, such as on your back porch.

Also, as it’s lightweight, it’s easier to install it on upper stories. Note: it is almost as expensive as cherry hardwood flooring.


3. Oak

Oak has the widest variety of styles and is loved for its classic beauty. Oak hardwood flooring adds warmth and complements a wide array of furniture and decor.

You can either go with red or white oak. Red is lighter, with a neutral colour and reddish hues, while white oak is pale brown with gray or pink hues. Both are a little harder than cherry and walnut but are prone to scratching. (You can use furniture pads to prevent damage.) Oak is not as expensive as cherry or walnut hardwood.


4. Maple

This is the most distinctive of all hardwood flooring types due to its grain patterns. It is light-coloured and has an appealing uniform texture.

Another reason why maple is so popular is its durability. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is one of the hardest hardwoods used for flooring, so will not easily scratch or get scuffed. It can also resist heavy impacts and doesn’t need much maintenance. And if you do see dents or scratches, you can easily get rid of them.

Maple is so beloved because it stains extremely well, so can mimic other species, and is affordable.


5. Hickory

Few varieties of hardwood flooring are harder than hickory. With proper maintenance, it can last a lifetime, with minimal wear and tear.

You can find hickory in medium tan, light red brown, and, occasionally, in creamy whites. All colours have a dramatic graining.

This hardwood is a good choice for rustic-style homes and cabins. Since it is extremely durable, it is kid- and pet-friendly. Hickory is a little expensive, but not so much as cherry or walnut.


6. Ash

Ash is probably the most beautiful and chic of all hardwood flooring varieties. It’s fairly light in terms of colour; sometimes to the point of having whitish hues. However, its active wood grains give it a warm and natural look.

Ash is a medium-hard hardwood flooring, meaning it can withstand heavy traffic but is soft enough that it feels comfortable to stand on barefoot. It is affordable but is high maintenance.


7. Douglas Fir

If you like a uniform look to your floor, Douglas fir is the natural choice. Irrespective of the cut or the tree, each plank looks almost identical. With its mix of oranges and browns, it is a warm, comfortable, and rustic-looking hardwood.

Douglas firs are very tall trees, so produce long floorboards. They also produce the softest hardwood flooring but are the most affordable as a result.


8. Birch

Birch is abundant and hence extremely affordable. Its creamy or yellowish-white colour is coupled with clear but attractive grains that complement almost all decor styles. You can also stain it for an individualized look.

The disadvantage of birch is that it is an extremely soft and unstable hardwood. This means that not only can it dent and scratch easily but it is affected by temperature and moisture.


9. Pine

This is the most traditional hardwood flooring. When stained, it takes on a surprisingly rich colour. Along with its distinct grains, it also features interesting knots and pinholes. Pine also ages more gracefully than other types of hardwood flooring. It is affordable but soft and needs a lot of maintenance.

Hardwood is a popular choice of flooring but it is often difficult to choose from so many varieties. Now that you know your options, you can more easily pick one that suits your needs. Just be sure to shop with a reliable flooring store.

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