Wood Species Commonly Used for Flooring

By: Debbie George

January 11, 2018

Flooring

Here are WoodCo’s top nine wood species that are commonly used for milling into solid or engineered wood flooring.

American White Oak

A very popular choice for a wood floor, it takes stain well and ranks high on the Janka Hardness scale. Due to its hardness, it is a popular choice for high traffic flooring areas. Available in different cuts, Plain Sawn, Quarter Sawn, Rift Sawn and Live Sawn. These cuts each refer to the way the boards were cut from the log, which gives the board each a unique appearance.

Plain Sawn, also known as flat sawn, is the least expensive cut of white oak as it creates the least waste. This plank will have the commonly seen flame or cathedral pattern on the face.

Quarter Sawn white oak boards will contain 'flake' marks in the grain.

Rift Sawn is the most expensive but also the most stable cut of white oak. These boards can be identified by the very straight and tight grain. Quarter sawn and rift sawn are commonly sold together as a rift and quartered white oak floor.

Live Sawn, also known as Euro cut, is cut the same way that oak logs are cut in Europe, this gives the boards a mix of the three previous cuts. You will get the plain sawn in the center of the board and out towards the edges you will get some rift and quartered grain patterns.

Lumber Cuts

European White Oak

Our European White Oak comes from western Europe, meaning it comes from some of the same forests that French white oak grows. European oak has a high tannin content in the wood which means it takes stain very evenly and allows you to achieve more colors than on an American white oak. These logs are cut using the live sawn technique, which give you plain sawn, quarter sawn and rift sawn grain all in the same board.

French White Oak 

The same as European White oak, except these logs are from forests in France only.

Hickory / Pecan

Various species of Hickory and Pecan (Carya genus) are typically mixed together and simply sold as Hickory. (Hickory, 2018) Hickory is a very dense wood, making it resistant to denting which is ideal for high traffic areas. Hickory has a lot of sapwood which gives each board a lot of contrast between the darker heartwood and the light sapwood.

Mesquite

A very dense wood that is known for its hardness and deep reddish-brown coloring. Mesquite trees grow irregularly and stay small which means that floors made from mesquite tend to be narrow planks or are cut into end grain blocks.

Reclaimed Long Leaf Pine 

Long Leaf Pine is also known as antique heart pine. America was built on long leaf pine; this species is now extinct making it only available as reclaimed wood. http://www.americanforests.org/magazine/article/the-long-road-to-recovery-for-the-longleaf-pine/

Reclaimed long leaf pine is available cut as vertical grain or plain sawn in the center with straight grain toward the edges. Due to the fact it is reclaimed you can expect to see original weathering, nail holes and bolts depending on what grade you choose.

Reclaimed Oak

A mix of both reclaimed red and white oak. Due to the fact it is reclaimed you can expect to see original weathering, nail holes and bolts depending on what grade you choose.

Reclaimed White Oak

100% reclaimed white oak, due to the fact it is reclaimed you can expect to see original weathering, nail holes and bolts depending on what grade you choose.

Walnut 

Walnut has a rich brown coloring to the wood along with a beautiful grain pattern. Walnut does contain some sapwood, so the boards will have some lighter streaks in the grain. This wood is less dense than other woods commonly used for flooring and is not always recommended for high traffic areas.

If you are looking for a species not listed here, please reach out to our wood flooring experts at (855) 864-7867 to discuss your wood flooring project. 

Bibliography

Hickory. (2018). Retrieved from Wood Database: http://www.wood-database.com/pignut-hickory/