The Complete Guide To Hardwood Flooring Costs And Types

Here are all the basics you need to know before buying new floors.

hardwood floors
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All woods are not created equal. Here are the most popular varieties and the info you need to pick the right plank for your project. Generally, prices run from about $5-$15 per square foot for the raw materials.

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Oak
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Price: $

Appearance: Red oak (pictured) has warm undertones, while white oak has a cooler sheen.

Durability: Red oak rings in at a 1290 on the Janka scale (the higher the number, the stronger the board), and white oak comes in at 1360.

Must-Know: Thanks to the wood’s open grain, stains take particularly well and evenly to oak floors.

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Maple
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Price: $

Appearance: Maple has a subtle grain and tends to darken and yellow more over time.

Durability: At a respectable 1450 on the Janka scale, durable maple is often used in bowling alleys.

Must-Know: The closed-grain wood doesn’t absorb stains well. Stick to just a water-based polyurethane finish.

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Hickory
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Price: $$

Appearance: Highly pronounced color variation gives it an instantly rustic look.

Durability: With an 1820 on the Janka scale, hickory is perfect for your busiest spaces.

Must-Know: Less likely to warp in humid conditions than softer woods, hickory is great for coastal settings.

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Cherry
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Price: $$$

Appearance: Cherry darkens and reddens with age and has beautiful grain and color variation.

Durability: Cherry dents easily at a 950 on the Janka scale, so limit it to areas like bedrooms and layer with rugs.

Must-Know: With a tendency to darken over time, cherry is particularly sensitive to sunlight.

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Walnut
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Price: $$$

Appearance: This dark, rich wood has well-defined, mostly straight grain patterns.

Durability: In high-traffic areas, it will show wear after a few years. It’s a 1010 on the Janka scale.

Must-Know: You’ll often find walnut floors in older homes.

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