Hardwood Flooring Species, Colors & Properties
It may be reasonable being careful in choosing the type of hardwood for your home in climates that are prone to extreme dryness. Solid hardwoods in particular may be vulnerable to reactions that can occur in such conditions; namely checking and splitting. A move to quartered/rift sawn solids or engineered products may provide a longer lasting floor without complications.
On another note, wide swings in relative humidity through seasonal changes should be monitored. Moisture can be added or reduced within HVAC systems, minimizing the expansion and contraction process all hardwoods experience. Color changes with all hardwoods will vary as will the rate in which they change. For a general overview see more information on hardwood floor color changes.
If considering any of the lesser known hardwood species above and below, specifically for a sand and finish installation, we suggest a knowledgeable professional. Lack of knowledge in working with some can cause finish adhesion problems, as some finishes are more compatible than others. The properties of some hardwoods may also be more noticeable to those sensitive to allergies, but only during the installation and sanding periods.
Hardwood Flooring Color Changes
All hardwood floors will change color from direct or indirect light. You may notice going from one store to another what you saw in one may look darker than the other. This is because some samples are older than others and hardwood flooring undergoes color changes when exposed to direct or indirect sunlight. Some may be mild while others dramatic (chart below).
Okay. So What Does Mild or Dramatic Mean To Me?
Most domestic hardwoods do not turn color as much as our imported exotic hardwoods with the exception of American Cherry and American Walnut. Below is a list of the expected color changes with more popular sellers.
How Can I Stop The Color Change?
Preventing or slowing down any color changes can be accomplished with window treatments that restrict UV rays that come into your home. We suggest consulting a professional in that area of expertise.
¹ Some bamboos have been known to fade
Exotic Hardwood Floors
Exotic hardwood floors have been quite popular since many Brazilian hardwoods began reaching our shores in the early 90’s. Prior to those days, True Teak was the prominent source of imported hardwood flooring.
Rain Forest Destruction?
Nowadays ecology and the environment has put a damper on some seeking these exotic beauties. Are today’s exotic hardwood forests being managed properly? There may be organizations claiming such and manufacturers clamoring for that green seal of approval, but our opinion is always skeptical.
After all, placing something of demanding value in the hands of many often results in abuse. Who benefits and who loses? Consumers benefit in that exotic hardwoods offer stunning appearances opposed to standard red oak floors that populate millions of homes in the USA. The environment suffers unless you toss in the fact some of the land where great forests once stood are being cultivated into farming and feeding growing populations.
Feel Comfortable With Rain Forest Management. Ready To Buy?
The most popular exotic today is Brazilian Cherry, grown principally in the western potion of Brazil. Often touted for it’s hardness properties, Brazilian cherry prices are near that of higher end clear graded red and white oak flooring. Depending on grade, some prices can be lower.
Hard Floors Better To Manage and Care For?
Most exotic hardwoods are considered harder in terms of impact resistance than domestic US types. Often people are drawn or sold on their characteristics thinking they become an easier maintenance hardwood.
What Types Can I Buy?
Depending on what method of construction your home is built most exotic hardwoods are sold in their solid form. Some listed above are more difficult to obtain if one is seeking an engineered floor or one that can be floated. For instance Brazilian Walnut, Tiete Rosewood, and Brazilian Teak are the rarest form of engineered, but there are sources than can specialty mill larger orders.
Anything Else We Should Know?
Those seeking to install themselves should be prepared for material that is harder to cut. Standard low powered saws and installation equipment will not work as well as powered and pneumatic. Exotic hardwoods are not easy to work with as is common pine for example; used in many building applications. Weight is another example. Take for instance, Brazilian Walnut weighing in at 4 pounds per square foot, almost double that of standard pine. If you have a few flights of stairs to lug your flooring up, expect some exercise. One bundle of solid Brazilian Walnut or Brazilian Cherry can weigh in at 60 to 80 pounds.
Image Sources: brazilianhardwood.com (room scenes)