What is the Best Wood for Hardwood Floors?

As a homeowner, choosing which type of wood for your floors can be one of the toughest decisions you’ll encounter. In fact, many homeowners wish they had done a little more research before making their final pick. With this in mind, we’re going to try our very best to give you an overview before you spend a heck of a lot of money on a flooring installation, you’re not really happy with.




How long are you going to live in your home?

It’s surprising how many often Americans move. The average is every 5 years. The reasons Americans move so often are many and depending on what part of the country you live in, it could be less than every 5 years.  Keeping this in mind can help you set your expectations of how long you want your floor to last and how much to budget. You may want the floor to last a hundred years or just long enough until the next move.

Are you a DIYer?

Some people have a garage full of tools and know how to use them. For some, their favorite tool is a credit card. Depending on the type of flooring you choose, installing your own floor might be harder than you thought. If you’re curious, here’s one way to find out  how handy you are.  As a caution, even though some of today’s flooring is relatively easy to install, your existing floor conditions, strange corners, floor unevenness & weather may make it extremely challenging.




Whole house or single room?

If you’re doing a single room and you don’t really care about whether it “ties together” with the rest of the house, choosing a floor should be easier. If you’re planning to change the flooring in a whole house with an open concept design, the flooring you choose is crucially important. It could be one of the most important decisions you make about how you home will look and feel for a very long time.

Get inspired

Even if you’re planning on hiring a designer or you’re determined to do everything yourself, it makes sense to review some design ideas before you get started. If you see a floor you love, ask the person where they got it. Sometimes even some beautiful outdoor furniture can spark an idea.


Visualize your new floor in your home.






If you have a smart device and you can take a photo, you’re in luck. Today, there are some flooring specialty retailers that feature a visualizer on their website. All you have to do is take a photo of the room and upload it. The visualizer will show you what your new floor will look like in your room with all your furniture in place.

Hardwood Hardness Rating

Hardwood is exactly that – hard. And the harder it is, the less likely It will “dent” when you drop something heavy on it. We’re not sure if anything will stand up to the spiked high heels from the 1950s but you’ve got a better chance with some of the exotic hardwoods or bamboo than anything else.





Douglas Fir660
Southern. Yellow Pine, Shortleaf690
Southern Yellow Pine, Longleaf890
Black Cherry950
Black Walnut1010
Yellow Birch1260
Red Oak, Northern1290
American Beech1300
Bamboo* – Teragren Craftsman II1307
White Oak1360
Australian Cypress1375
Hard Maple1450
African Padauk1725
Taun (Malaccan Cherry)1900
Santos Mahogany2200
Brazilian Cherry2350
Brazilian Pecan3540
Red Cumaru3640
Brazilian Ebony3585
Brazilian Walnut3680
Patagonian Rosewood3840


Janka Steel Ball Test

There are dozens and dozens of types of hardwood flooring. Each species has its own characteristics and one of the most important one is often how hard it is. The Janka Steel Ball Test is an internationally recognized standard for hardwood flooring. Have a look to see which type of hardwood flooring has the hardness rating to meet your needs.

Bamboo isn’t wood at all




Some bamboo floor products have a Janka hardness rating of over 5000. That’s extremely hard. Bamboo floors also come in a variety of different construction methods, flooring colors and finishes. One of the most popular is strand-woven bamboo. Believe it or not, bamboo is actually a species grass, not a species of wood at all. After it undergoes a sophisticated and complex construction process, extremely hard resin is added to produce a very durable product. Early challenges have been solved when it comes to bamboo floors. Although, some people still don’t like the look of bamboo.

The colors of hardwood




Natural hardwoods vary greatly in tone. However, picking one is not always simple. Different stain colors can totally change the natural color of the hardwood species. In addition, every brand or manufacturer has their own names for their custom color selections. Sometimes big box stores like Home Depot, include their own specific names. For example, chocolate brown stain on white oak looks very different from chocolate brown stain on red oak. This can make picking the color of flooring very confusing. Grain pattern can also affect the look. For example, quarter sawn oak has a very prominent grain pattern whereas maple has a more subtle grain. Some people also want their floor to match the color of their favorite type of wood for furniture.

Construction of wood flooring

Solid or engineered? Prefinished hardwood or sanded and refinished? There are some very traditional choices you can make. And then there are some high-tech choices with excellent performance and durability. It’s really all up to you . . . and your budget. When it comes to flooring going “old school” can be quite costly. Initially, everyone loves the idea of a solid hardwood floor using traditional tongue and groove. It’s an excellent choice. However, when you consider the quality, durability and maintenance-free advantages of today’s engineered wood floors it’s not always an easy decision. Today, the top layer of prefinished hardwood is amazingly scratch resistant.


Believe or not, there’s even more information about flooring if you’re interested. If you can, take the time you need to make this decision. Nothing can enhance the beauty of your home like the perfect floor. Call us today for a free estimate.


Dan Ratcliff

Dan Ratcliff is the CEO and President of Flooring Direct in Dallas / Fort Worth. Over the last two decades, he has grown Flooring Direct into a premier Shop-at-Home traditional & hardwood flooring company. With a true dedication to customer service and integrity, Flooring Direct has become DFW's largest highest-rated Dallas-local flooring dealer. Dan has lived in Dallas all of his life and was raised in Dallas with family roots and love for the community and local sports. It's with that sense of family that Flooring Direct has contributed to and sponsored children's organizations like Jonathan's Place and scholastic athletics like Plano's Girls Soccer.