Hardwood Flooring Options

Several aspects of hardwood flooring should be considered before you buy. The first item to consider is the hardness of the wood.

Below are listed the relative hardness for numerous wood species used in hardwood flooring. These ratings were done using the “Janka Hardness Test.” The higher the number, the harder the wood. This should be used as a general guide when comparing various species of hardwood flooring. Ratings will vary slightly for where and when a tree was obtained. The plank construction and finish play an extremely important role in the durability and ease of maintenance of any wood floor.

Wood Species


Douglas Fir 660
Mahogany 800
Pine 870
American and Black Cherry 950
Teak 1000
Black Walnut 1010
African Cherry 1010
Heart Pine 1225
Yellow Birch 1260
African Walnut 1290
American Beech 1300
Ash 1320
Red Oak 1360
White Oak 1360
Australian Cyprus 1375
Hard Maple 1450
Wenge 1620
Peruvian Walnut 1630
Brazilian Hickory 1654
African Pedauk 1725
Hickory 1820
Pecan 1820
Purpleheart 1860
Jarrah 1910
African Rosewood 1980
Santos Mahogany 2200
Mesquite 2345
Brazilian Cherry 2820
Rosewood 3060
Brazilian Teak 3540
Brazilian Walnut 3680

The days of buffing and waxing your hardwood floor are pretty much gone forever. Today, manufacturers use sophisticated techniques to quickly apply urethane-based finishes right at the factory. These urethane finishes do not require buffing or waxing.The second item to consider is the type of finish your new hardwood flooring will have.

By using ultra violet lights, manufacturers can quickly apply several coats of urethane finish. This process is called UV-cured urethane. Some manufacturers are applying as many as 6-10 coats of UV-cured urethane. In addition, many manufacturers now add small chips of Aluminum Oxide directly into the floor’s finish which dramatically increases the life of the floor. The UV cured urethane wood finishes are extremely durable and much more abrasion resistant than waxed floors.

Other types of factory applied hardwood flooring finishes include:

  • Polyurethane – A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as the wear layer.
  • Acrylic-urethane – A slightly different chemical make up than polyurethane, but with the same benefits.
  • Ceramic – Advanced technology that allows the use of space-age ceramic to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer.
  • Aluminum Oxide – Chips added into the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer. This is extremely popular on the better grade hardwood floors.
  • Acrylic Impregnated – Acrylic monomers are injected into the wood cell structure to five increased hardness and then also applied on top of the planks.

There is also an option to have job-site finished hardwood flooring – also known as “place and finish.” This is extremely popular for new home construction because the house has to be empty for several days because of the fumes from the urethane coats. The wood is shipped unfinished from the factory and then is sanded, stained, and finished on the job site. If you want a custom stained wood floor, or a wood floor to match existing trim then, a place and finish floor is a great option.

The final item to consider for hardwood flooring is the location where you plan to have your new floor installed. Follow these tips below for your best option.

Common wisdom for home decorating and flooring has always told us that moisture is the enemy of hardwood flooring. The location of your hardwood basically falls into three categories:

  • On Grade – at ground level.
  • Above Grade – any second level or higher.
  • Below Grade – any floor below ground level, including basements or sunken living rooms.

Traditional, solid hardwood flooring is not well suited for below-grade installations because of the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of an engineered hardwood gives it enhanced structural stability that allows it to be installed at any grade level when a moisture barrier is used. Finally, if you plan to install over concrete, you must use an engineered product to ensure structural integrity. Solid hardwood flooring or engineered flooring may be used over plywood, wood, or OSB subfloors.

Like us on Facebook for helpful tips and suggestions for your hardwood flooring. Our Shop At Home service will bring the hardwood flooring showroom to your home! Call today for more information or to schedule an appointment. Serving Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg and all of the Virginia Peninsula with hardwood flooring. We look forward to seeing you in our flooring showroom. Check our our YouTube page for more information on how to keep your floors for the best flooring options.

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