Let’s be honest. We get a lot of rain here in the Pacific Northwest. Some natural hardwood flooring is better suited to a moist environment but other hardwoods are prone to moisture damage.

There are many types of wood flooring. You can get natural wood, reclaimed wood, engineered hardwood flooring, luxury vinyl planks (LVP), laminate, and bamboo flooring.

Today we’re focusing on natural and reclaimed wood. Let’s find the solid hardwood flooring that’s best for your home.

Popular Hardwood Species

What makes a hardwood hard? If you’ve played around trees, you know some trees have very hard wood like oak and other trees are soft wood like cork.

If a wood seems to be soft, is it ok to turn it into flooring? Real wood is complicated. Redwood is a softer wood but people often use it for siding and hot tubs. But you wouldn’t want to have to walk on it.

Good hardwood flooring need to be durable to handle foot traffic as well as the weight of furniture. But some flooring that is durable is made out of softer hardwood flooring.

Let’s look at a few of the most popular.


The most versatile and colorful type of hardwood and the most popular choice of flooring. It’s also one of the fastest growing hardwoods making it eco-friendly and sustainable

White Ash

The ash is part of the olive family yielding colors in this group are generally more variable than the others. While there are generally only one or two types of this type, they can range in hue from a rich caramel color to a rich mahogany brown.

Yellow Birch

Yellow birch is one of the most popular type of hardwood. It’s known for its rich purple-y brown color.

American Cherry

American cherry hardwood is, if you’ll pardon the pun, the cherry on top. It’s a deep red color that warms up any room. Cherry needs


Hickory hardwood flooring comes in a wide variety of hues and textures that are perfect for traditional as well as contemporary homes. Naturally durable hickory flooring comes pre-finished, which can be installed in many different situations including residential or commercial spaces.

Hard Maple

Also known as sugar maple, hard maple is most often seen in high-end furniture and cabinetry because it’s beautiful and durable.


There are many varieties of oak available providing many types of colors and grain patterns. Oak is a hardwood that is eco-friendly.


Southern Yellow pine comes from a few different types of evergreen trees. It is a softer wood and available in a wide variety of natural colors. It takes a stain really well.

Heart pine is reclaimed and recycled pinewood from old buildings and is very eco-friendly but may be more expensive due to the cost of reclaiming.


True teak is a popular option for homeowners in the Pacific Northwest. It may seem to be more high-maintenance than the other hardwoods. However, when properly managed, teak can be durable and resilient.

American Black Walnut

Black Walnut is a classic choice for homes due to its versatility and durability. It’s also easy to care for.

Best Hardwood Floors

Different rooms need different durability and care. If you love the look of teak, maple, and cherry, you would want to put that in a lightly trafficked room like a bedroom or library. For hallways, kitchens, and family rooms, you want to look at the harder woods like ash, oak, and walnut.

How to Choose Hardwood Flooring

There are definitely some considerations when you’re evaluating hardwood flooring.

Do you have pets? Hardwood flooring is easy to clean. You can pull out a duster, brush and dustpan, or an electric broom to quickly clean up dirt and fur.

Do you have allergies? Some people’s allergies react to carpeting. With solid wood flooring, you can stay on top of the dust and dander that may be triggering your allergies.

Do you want a hardwood floor everywhere or just in certain room? It’s ok to mix flooring in your home.

Do you want planks or parquet? Planks are easier to maintain and repair if needed.

What finish do you want on your flooring? Some people like a more natural wood finish and others like a high gloss. Talk with your professional installer to understand the maintenance involved with each.

Pre-Finished Hardwood Flooring

Once you’ve chosen a color for your hardwood floors, you can choose from multiple flooring surface options. You can also choose unfinished hardwood floors, and have a finish put on after the installation.

Different woods are better suited for each of the special finishes.

Let’s look at the three most common surface design textures.


This type of wood is a premium choice. The wood has a natural patina creating a warmth that new wood doesn’t have. You may want to ask if the wood is naturally aged or if it has been aged using wire brushing or chemical treatment in order to look aged.


This is the look of new wood and has the properties of a regular wood floor. You can see the grain better with this type of hardwood. This method is best for gorgeous pieces of wood that you want to showcase.


Flooring that has been distressed provides a subtle texture while maintaining the smooth appearance. This method is best for woods that don’t have a lot of grain. It also is useful for high traffic areas as the texture can mask wear and tear.

Choosing a hardwood floor for your home is an investment that will pay off. Spend time with a professional to understand the types of hardwoods, and where it would be installed for the best value and joy in your home.