Different Types of Hardwoods

There are many different types of hardwood- domestic and exotic. Depending on the area you are located depends which exotic hardwoods are able to be installed in your home. It is safer to use domestic hardwoods as they tend to be more stable in your home. Hickory, Oak and Maple are very typical of hardwood floors in the Treasure Valley. Our experienced estimator that comes to your house to do an estimate can help walk you through the best hardwood for your specific situation.

Red Oak hardwood flooring


An American staple, red oak is a great wood for any application. The grains of red oak are great for hiding scratches, pet hair and other debris from day to day traffic. The wood has a classic look and has great tones/color.

Janka: 1290
Grades: Clear, Clear, #1, #2. #3

White Oak Hardwood flooring


A warm color wood that has been on an upswing as of late. This is a favorite among designers for its look. This wood is stronger than red oak, hides hair & debris very well.

Janka: 1360
Grades: Clear, Select, #1, #2. #3

Maple hardwood flooring


A creamy white wood with a light grain variations. This is the wood used in most of the gym floors. Maple flooring is harder than red oak but has very little grain and color variations. This makes it easier to see scratches, hair and debris on the floor.

Janka: 1450
Grades: Clear, Select, 2nd & btr, 3rd & Btr

Walnut hardwood flooring


Walnut is a very elegant look wood that has been used throughout American history. This wood is darker in apperance and has some creamy looking boards throughout. This wood is very soft and should not be considered for houses/workplaces with dogs.

Janka: 1010
Grades: Select, Rustic

Hickory Hardwood flooring


Hickory is a wood that is relatively tough, and quite possibly the hardest American grown wood that is mass harvested. This wood is drastic in color and can be seen throughout a lot of cabins and homes in the United States. This wood is great for pets as it is very hard.

Janka: 1820
Grades: Select, #1, #2, Rustic

Brazillian Cherry hardwood


A hardwood that is not harvested in America. It has a red in appearance color and is very hard. This wood is great for all types of families or commercial application. It is very hard to dent this wood and the finish usually will not scratch.

Janka: 2350
Grades: Clear, Select, Rustic

Hardwood Grading

The grade describes the appearance of the wood. The higher the grade, the more expensive it will be. A grade of “#1 Common” is very typical for a hardwood floors in the Treasure Valley.

  • Clear
    Premium appearance practically free of defects with only minor imperfections, very slight color variations with consistent grain patterns (almost all heartwood), longer board lengths average 3 3/4′.
  • Select
    Almost clear but contains some natural characteristics (mineral streaks, burls, pin wormholes), minor color and grain variations, board lengths average 3 1/4′.
  • #1 Common (Cabinet grade)
    Contains some natural characteristics (small sound defects, bird pecks), medium color and grain variations, board lengths average 2 3/4′.
  • #2 Common (Economy grade)
    Contains more natural characteristics (small sound knots, checks, flags, wormholes), major color variations, board lengths average 2 1/4′.
  • #3 / Rustic
    Rustic appearance – contains all characteristics of the species (unsound knots, open knotholes, grub holes, splits), drastic color and grain variations, shorter board lengths average less than 2′.

(NOTE: Characteristics included in a higher grade are automatically accepted in lower grades. Some wood species such as Maple, Beech, Birch, and Pecan are graded as “Firsts”, “Seconds”, and “Thirds” that are comparable to “Select”, “#1 Common”, and “#2 Common” respectively.)


Hardwood floor planks are available in several widths: 2 1/4″, 3 1/4″, 4 1/4″, 5 1/4″, and 7″. While wider planks have an elegant appearance, the wider widths have lower dimensional stability. Mixing widths (alternating 4 1-4″ with 5 1/4″) can add some stability while maintaining that wide plank look. Wider widths will also be more expensive than a typical width of 3 1/4″.

Most hardwood flooring is plain or flat-sawn. Flat sawing produces tangential grain that is characterized by cathedral arched and flame-shaped patterns. Rift and quarter sawing produces a tighter radial or vertical grain that appears as roughly parallel lines with medullary ray fleck and figure. Because flat sawing is faster, easier and cheaper, rift and quarter sawn hardwood is more expensive. However the radial grain greatly increases the planks dimensional stability and yields a more consistent appearance than flat-sawn hardwood, especially in bold grained species such as oak.

log to hardwood sawing