Go Beyond Oak for Wood Flooring
Many hardwood choices not requiring staining abound for flooring needs.
Although oak still accounts for about two-thirds of all installed hardwood flooring in America, it's losing ground to its exotic cousins. A wide range of hardwood from other countries, especially Brazil, Australia and Asia, is gaining a foothold and nailing down homeowners' interests.
"There has been a trend for several years for exotic hardwoods to grow," says Anita Howard of the National Wood Flooring Association in Chesterfield, Mo. The number-one reason: price. "They're more reasonable than they used to be," she says. They're also more available, as interest grows and lower pricing makes them more attractive.
Consumers also are intrigued by the possibilities that avoid the need to alter their wood choices drastically with stains. "These species offer a broader range of colors, so you can use the natural species rather than staining oak to a particular color," Howard says. "More people today want to forgo stain and try a different wood type with a natural stain instead." Some of the most popular woods right now are:
- Brazilian cherry. The seasoned wood has a russet or reddish-brown color, with a medium to somewhat coarse grain. It's slightly more stable than red oak, but it requires a longer than normal acclimation period. It also is more difficult to saw due to its high density.
- Cork. It comes in a spectrum of shades from light to dark and has a familiar grain that's unlike other woods (it's actually the bark of a type of oak tree). It's become popular due to its prominence on design shows and because the cushioning effect makes it a strong choice for homes with elderly people. "We get a lot of calls about cork flooring. It's very hot right now."
- Bamboo. Technically, bamboo is a grass, but it is considered a wood due to its hardness. Bamboo has become popular with "green" building proponents due to its rapid regrowth, which makes it highly sustainable. "You can cut it and have a fully mature tree in four years," Howard explains. It comes in manila/yellow tones as well as dark shades. The grain pattern shows nodes from the bamboo stalks, she says.
- Wenge. This nearly black wood, which comes from Africa, is difficult to obtain but has become popular as an accent wood. It can be hard to cut and requires carbide tools.
- Bubinga. Burgundy in color, this African wood has a fine grain and saws easily. But it splits easily when nailed with machine tools, so hand-hammering works best.
- Sydney blue gum. Over time, this wood's color mutes from a spectrum of pink to burgundy red to become a medium brown-red. Its hardness required carbide blades to cut.
As these differences show, exotic woods will react differently to cutting and installation techniques, as well as to environment, Howard stresses. "It requires a professional who is familiar with the local area and its humidity and weather conditions, as well as with the wood, to install it properly. Requirements are different in different areas."
How to Install Hardwood Flooring in a Kitchen
Installing hardwood flooring in a kitchen is a great option because it lasts a long time. The experts show how to install fold and lock hardwood flooring material.
Install Tongue-and-Groove Wood-Veneer Flooring
No need for staples or glue with this "floating" floor. Just follow these step-by-step instructions.
Wood Floors for Bedrooms
Wood floors are a good investment in your home and can add beauty to any bedroom.
Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen
Hardwood floors are classic, timeless and durable. You can choose from a variety of colors and finishes to fit your needs
How to Refinish Hardwood Floors
With hardwood back in style, it might be worthwhile to check your floors. If your floor was among those treasures that were buried, we can help put it back on display with these tips to refinish hardwood.
How to Install a Hardwood Floor
DIY experts give step-by-step instructions on how to install hardwood floors in any room.
The Benefits of Cork Flooring
Consider cork for durability, comfort and renewability.
Unique Recycled Hardwood Floors
Reclaimed wood creates floors that are truly one-of-a-kind and Mother Nature-friendly.
How to Fix a Squeaky Floor
Keep it quiet with these troubleshooting tips.
How To: Installing Floating Wooden Floors
Learn how to install a "floating" hardwood floor.
This or That: Pick Your Favorite Vintage Find From Fixer Upper
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 27, 2015 by Farima Alavi
6 Essentials for the Perfect Tailgate Party + Win the 1 Thing You Really Need
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 25, 2015 by Farima Alavi
Discover the Winning Hue in Our Color Vs. Color Competition!
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 24, 2015 by Kayla Kitts
Copy This Room: Get Beach Flip Style in Your Living Room
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 24, 2015 by Shannon Petrie
4 Ways to Personalize Your Dorm Desk + College Goodie Giveaway!
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 21, 2015 by Farima Alavi
The Easiest (and Cutest!) DIY Dorm Roommate Mugs Ever
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 20, 2015 by Marianne Canada
Dorm Room Ikea Hack: Turn a Shelf Into A Storage Coffee Table!
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 19, 2015 by Marianne Canada
Back to School For Adults: 10 DIY Office Refresh Ideas
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 19, 2015 by Chelsea Faulkner