What are the most common wood floor species? This is a question that we get fairly frequently and from our research, one that many wood floor buyers have in general.
When addressing the question of what are the most popular wood floor species, I think it is also important to explain that there are a number of wood types and species of wood that are used for hardwood flooring. In fact, there are actually around 200 different wood species used for making wood flooring around the world. Though many of these are not at all common or popular, which makes most of them more exotic and rare. However, of the most common species of wood used in wood flooring, there are roughly 5.
Determining the most popular or most common wood flooring species isn’t as easy as you might think, since there are no national studies that include wood floor species data. However, since we have been in the wood flooring industry for so many years, we are able to give our professional and experienced wood floor species insights, that we believe to be nationally accurate.
What are the most popular wood floor species?
There is no doubt that oak is the most popular species of wood used for manufacturing hardwood floors. There are many reasons for this, many of which date back to the early days of wood flooring. Due it being so plentiful and available early on in home building and floor manufacturing, oak was easy to find and log. Additionally, oak hardwood floors have continued in popularity because of its natural hardness and durability that lends itself to flooring well.
Not only is oak the most commonly used wood floor species, it is also able to take stains well for both natural, light and darker applications. Furthermore, the versatility of oak with respect to its grain and color formation, really makes it the most common wood floor species in the country.
Second Most Common Wood Species Used In Flooring
The remaining four most common wood floor species are listed alphabetically and not intended to rank their popularity in order. However of the most popular hardwood floor wood species, these additional wood types rank among the most popular after oak, but are not really listed in any relevant order.
Acacia (or Asian Walnut)
One wood species that has grown in popularity over the past 6-8 years is Acacia. Acacia wood has become really popular due to its lasting durability, beautiful color tones and variations that work well for wood flooring. The unique color tones and variations of the acacia tree, makes it a wood species that is extremely easy to match up to almost any paint, cabinet and home decor colors.
We sell a fair amount of Acacia in our Portland location and due to our special, exclusive factory direct relationships, we carry better acacia flooring than other Portland area wood floor suppliers , at exceptional prices.
Birch wood is a native US tree that produces wood with similar color, tone and graining to maple wood. Not being quite as hard as oak or even maple, birch wood does take stain similar to other hardwood flooring. Many of the manufacturers use birch for that look, but as a less expensive substitute vs maple.
Though there are several species of birch wood, only one or two are typically used as or within wood floor applications. Commonly used for inlay work in custom woodworking or furniture, however the harder species of birch are very popular for prefinished wood flooring.
Hickory wood is very popular for hardwood flooring, though it is probably most popularly known for its use in wood smoking for meat flavoring, preserving and preparation. This species of wood is another US native that is also a similar alternative to oak in color, grain and use.
Though often much harder than oak, hickory can be used well in high traffic applications that require the highest durability. Hickory is well suited for hiding scratches and enduring heavy child and pet traffic, while keeping dents to a minimum. Due to the durability factor of its unique hardness for flooring applications, hickory species wood floors generally tend to run a bit more expensive than oak hardwood floors.
Outside of its rugged hardness, the hickory wood species is also commonly used for wood floors due to its substantial color variations, unique knotting and grain possibilities.
Lastly in the most popular wood species used for wood floors is maple wood. Just slightly harder than oak, maple wood tends to also be a little lighter in color as well. Known for its smooth grain, this species of wood lends itself to a more modern, stylish and/or contemporary look over other wood floor species.
Though more challenging to stain than other wood floor species, making it more commonly purchased as prefinished flooring, rather than unfinished wood flooring that is sanded and stained after installation.
Maple wood flooring tends to be more expensive than popular oak species flooring, but often comes in numerous grades that affect the price considerably. Depending on the ultimate look, color and style you are going after, as well as the budget you are working within, the maple wood species of flooring offers durability and style combinations.
With over 200 species of wood used to make hardwood flooring, you can imagine that the possibilities for style, color and pricing varies quite dramatically. When asking about the most common or most popular wood species used to manufacture wood flooring, these five are really at the top of the list. Common for overall price, durability and color variations, oak, acacia, birch, hickory and maple are the most popular species of wood used in flooring today.