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Compare the Top Rated Hardwood Flooring Types - Best & Most Popular Types of Hardwood Flooring


Red Oak Janka scale rating -1290
Red oak has a very coarse grain with reddish tints, especially around knotty areas. Red oak grows in damp, wet climates. It has big veins that run through the tree to carry all the water it needs to grow. This makes for a beautiful, coarse wood that looks great on flooring.

White Oak Janka scale rating-1360
White oak is a very even grain, even tone, and, of course, is a light texture. It is not pure white but more of a like gold. It simply looks white compared to most other wood species. White oak has a smoother, less grainy texture than red oak. You can actually feel the difference by touching the two.

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North American Hard Maple/Sugar Maple Janka scale rating-1450
Maple falls somewhere in the middle on the Janka hardness scale. It is a sufficiently hard, and therefore, very durable wood for flooring. The main reason why maple is such a popular wood for flooring is it’s beautiful and easy to get good results. It’s a uniform type of wood. Each board looks similar to the next and there are rarely unsightly pieces with strange marks. It is a light colored, smooth wood that looks great with a clear polyurethane finish or with a stain. Maple is extremely affordable, readily available, and versatile.


Heart Pine- Janka scale rating-1225
Caribbean Heart Pine - Janka scale rating-1280
Pine is typically a soft wood, relatively speaking, on the Janka hardness scale. It’s still not “soft” compared to a feather or a pillow. You still wouldn’t want to get hit with a branch from a pine tree, of course. It’s just softer compared to other types of flooring. That makes a difference when thinking about the durability of a floor. Don’t be too concerned. The Heart Pine and Caribbean Heart Pine are very popular flooring materials. These are two of the hardest pines there is and they will stand up to a lot of foot traffic. Still, not the hardest wood. However, what it lacks in durability it makes up for in aesthetics. There’s nothing like the look of a knotty pine floor. The wood is often light, but with big dark knots. Each board has its own character. It makes a room feel homey and adds character to a space. That’s why pine made the list.


Carbonized Bamboo (varies from brand to brand) - Janka scale rating-1180
Bamboo is a very soft hardwood flooring. It’s technically a grass! It’s not actually a species of wood! However, because of its strength and durability as one of the hardest grass species, it makes a great wood flooring. Another thing that makes it so popular is its affordability. It is harvested mainly in Asia, where it grows at five times the rate of most trees. It’s got the hardness of wood but it still grows like a grass! The fast growth helps keep the price down and makes it a better choice than other woods for the environment.


Brazilian Cherry / Jatoba - Janka scale rating-2350
Black Cherry / Imbuia- Janka scale rating-950

Whereas oak, maple, pine, are lighter colored woods; Cherry has some darker, rich, reddish tones. It is not very knotty but does have wavy patterns. The unique thing about cherry is this: Unlike most other wood flooring, cherry flooring changes color over time. Pockets of gum resin are trapped inside the wood when it is quartered and sawed at the manufacturing plant. Over time, this gum darkens and creates a more distinctive pattern. It looks great and gives the wood character.

Author: Angela Escobar

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