Types of Hardwood

Choosing the Right Type of Hardwood for Your Flooring Project

When choosing the hardwood flooring for your home a number of factors should be considered. Species, grade, cut, finish, color, layout, pattern, dimensions, and installation method are all very important to achieving the right look. Our specialists will go over all of the options with you to make sure the perfect wood is selected before the job begins.

When selecting your flooring you have a large variety of different species of wood from which to choose. Each different species of wood has a different color, density, and grain. The Janka Hardness scale is the industry standard for measuring the strength and density of different kinds of wood. This scale measures the force necessary to embed a .444-inch steel ball into half its diameter into the wood. The higher the Janka Hardness, the denser the wood.

All species of wood have two main color components, the heartwood and the sapwood. The heartwood is the dead wood in the center of the tree and the sapwood is the live wood surrounding the heartwood. Both the heartwood and sapwood are used to make wood flooring giving the wood beautiful contrasting colors.

Engineer Flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring is a product made up of a core of hardwood, plywood or HDF and a top layer of hardwood veneer that is glued on the top surface of the core and is available in almost any hardwood species. The product thus has the natural characteristics of the selected wood species as opposed to a photographic layer. The “engineered” product has been designed to provide greater stability, particularly where moisture or heat pose problems for solid hardwood floors.


Common Species of Hardwood


Red Oak

The most common species used in hardwood flooring. The wood is mostly straight-grained, with a coarse texture and makes a strong durable floor. The heartwood is a pinkish reddish brown and the sapwood is white to light brown. Janka Hardnesss – 1260.



Because of its strength and dent resistance, it is commonly used in bowling alleys and basketball courts. It has a closed, subdued grain, with a uniform texture. The heartwood is creamy white to light reddish brown and the sapwood is pale to creamy white. It has a good natural finish. Janka Hardness – 1450.


American Cherry

Has the ability to naturally darken with age. It has a straight grain and fine, frequently wavy texture. The heartwood is reddish-brown to deep red and the sapwood is white to light pink. Commonly used for accents and borders. Janka Hardness – 950.


American Walnut

it has a deep rich, elegant look with dark streaks. The heartwood is a dark chocolate brown to purplish black and the sapwood is nearly white to a light chocolate brown. It has an open, straight grain with some wavy patterns. Commonly used in furniture and border work and is especially good for commercial applications. Janka Hardness - 1010.


White Oak

Slightly denser than red oak, it is known for its uniform straight grain, which is a tighter, less pronounced grain than red oak. The grain is open and has longer rays than red oak. The heartwood is light brown and the sapwood is white to light cream. Tannic acid in the wood protects it from fungi and insects. Janka Hardness 1360.



Known for its contrasting dark streaks over a white to light brown color, it is a hard durable wood. The heartwood is tan or reddish and the sapwood is white to cream, with fine brown lines. It is commonly mixed with Pecan wood during manufacturing. It has a rough textured grain. Hickory floors can give the look of country charm throughout the home. Janka Hardness – 1450.


Brazilian Cherry

Also known as Jatoba, it is very hard and moisture resistant. Good for entry ways, hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms. It has the ability to naturally darken over time; exposure to sunlight will speed up this process. The heartwood is a light pink to reddish brown and the sapwood is white to a light golden. It has an interlocking grain with uniform texture. Janka Hardness - 2760.


Brazilian Walnut

Also known as Ipe, it has a deep, rich appearance with contrasting dark colors. It has a fine grain that is straight and uniform but also sometimes very irregular. The heartwood is a very dark blackish brown and the sapwood is a light yellowish tan. it is the hardest species of wood that is commonly used in hardwood flooring. Very durable and resistant to wood boring insects and fungi. Janka Hardness - 3684.


Call Today to Discuss Your Hardwood Flooring Needs

Give Prime Flooring LLC of Tulsa a call for a free in-home estimate. We take great pride in each project. Let us come to your home and help you select the best type of hardwood flooring for your project!