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What Are the Best Lumber Species for Flooring?

When it comes to flooring, you want the best quality and look for your home. With so many choices out there, finding the right kind of lumber species can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you select just the right type of wood that perfectly suits your needs and lifestyle. So keep reading if you want to pick the ideal lumber species for long-lasting use!


Oak is a hardwood species that is commonly found in North America, and it is by far the most popular choice for hardwood flooring in the US. It has a lovely texture, and both its natural and stained hues are stunning.

Oak is quite strong and water-resistant, hence its widespread usage in boat construction. It performs well overall but doesn’t stand out in any one area.

If you’re interested in oak flooring, you may choose between two main species:

White Oak

The natural color of white oak is a neutral gray. It’s also a little stronger than red oak and still takes stains well, which may make it more attractive to individuals who don’t mind its natural color.

Red Oak

Red oak is the softer and warmer-toned of the two oak species. It may not take stains quite as well as white oak, although the difference is not significant, but it has a similar grain pattern.


Pine flooring is sturdy, and since it’s relatively easy to grow, it’s regarded as one of the more environmentally friendly wood flooring alternatives.

Pine’s aesthetic characteristics include softer tones and a consistent, linear grain. It’s also one of the greatest types of flooring for staining and is typically bought unfinished. Pine is a softwood.

Heart Pine

Heart pine is not a different species. Rather, it belongs to the pine tree’s heartwood, or core layer. Heart pine is much tougher than the outer layers, making it ideal for flooring.

Southern Yellow Pine and Eastern White Pine

Pine flooring is either constructed of eastern white pine or southern yellow pine.

These are often less expensive than the heartwood listed above. Yet, despite their lower Janka ratings, they are long-lasting when properly maintained.

Douglas Fir

Douglas fir is a popular softwood lumber species, and it is one of the easiest species to install when it comes to cutting and polishing boards.

It is also one of the most abundant domestic tree species, making it an environmentally friendly alternative.

Douglas fir flooring has two remarkable characteristics: It is astonishingly durable despite its light weight, and it is relatively water-resistant.


Teak has a lovely golden brown tone to it, and it offers excellent water resistance when it comes to flooring. However, it is relatively costly, not outrageously so, but it is on the pricier side of the spectrum when it comes to regular hardwood species.


Hard maple, commonly referred to as sugar maple, is a widely utilized hardwood in the U.S. for basketball courts due to its ability to absorb impact and the ease of upkeep.

Maple often has an even, fine grain and softer cream-colored tones.

One interesting fact about maple is that, unlike most other woods, its sapwood (the outer layer of wood) is more typically utilized for floors than its heartwood.


Hickory, the toughest American hardwood species typically used for flooring, is surprisingly inexpensive. It is often more costly than, for instance, oak, but only slightly.

Hickory is known for having some of the most unique wood floor patterns. Its grain is sometimes irregular, and the colors vary greatly from board to board. Many customers may not appreciate this, but the unusual grain of hickory is why it is so popular with those who prefer a rustic look.


Beech comes in both domestic and imported varieties. It’s reasonably priced and has excellent shock resistance, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. Beech has a very basic natural look, yet this is an advantage due to its ability to take stains. Consequently, this makes it an excellent choice for engineered wood flooring.

Brazilian Cherry

Jatoba, often known as Brazilian cherry, is not related to American cherry, as seen by its potency. Its Janka score is more than quadruple that of American cherry!

Jatoba resembles mahogany in appearance, but it has a more natural sheen than many other species of hardwood. It’s also reasonably priced for an exotic hardwood species, and it’s ideal for engineered wood flooring.

Australian Cypress

Because of its widespread usage as a veneer, Australian cypress produces some of the finest engineered wood flooring available. It is also reasonably priced for an import!

The best part is that Australian cypress has a lot of individuality in its grain. The wood is densely knotted, and many boards are multicolored. If you want a material that has a lot of personality, Australian cypress could be for you.

Brazilian Walnut

Ipe, or Brazilian walnut, is renowned for its extreme durability and is likely the most resilient hardwood flooring available, with a Janka rating of 3680.

Brazilian walnut is not widely available since ipe grows in relatively limited areas and might be difficult to get. As a result, and as you would expect, ipe is not the most eco friendly hardwood in the world, and it also may be more costly than other exotic hardwood species.

Selecting the right lumber species for flooring is crucial to achieving a beautiful, durable, and long-lasting floor. The best lumber species for flooring will depend on various factors such as budget, style, durability, and maintenance requirements. With the right species, proper installation, and maintenance, you can enjoy a beautiful and functional floor that will enhance the aesthetics and value of your home or business for years to come.

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