This guide provides valuable insights into common hardwood species used for flooring, offering details on their distinctive grain patterns, durability, and optimal harvest ages for the best wood grain
The below table provides an overview of each hardwood species, its characteristics, information about the trees they are sourced from, and the optimal age at which the wood is typically harvested for the best wood grain and quality.
Optimal Harvest Age
– Prominent grain patterns, durability, harder
Oak trees can live for several centuries
80-120 years old
– Light color, fine grain, very hard
Maple trees can have a lifespan of 100 years or more
30-60 years old
– Rich, reddish-brown color, distinctive grain
Cherry trees can live for several decades
25-50 years old
– Dark, rich color, unique grain patterns, less hard
Walnut trees can have a lifespan of 100 years or more
30-70 years old
– Tough, rustic appearance, contrasting streaks
Hickory trees have a lifespan of around 100 years
30-60 years old
Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba)
– Deep reddish-brown color, hardness
Brazilian cherry trees have a lifespan of around 50-100 years
Around 40 years old
– Natural resistance to moisture, golden-brown color
Teak trees can live for several decades
40-80 years old
– Sustainable, various colors and grain patterns
Bamboo is not a tree but a grass, harvested at 4-7 years old for peak hardness
4-7 years old
Oak is one of the most popular hardwood species for flooring due to its durability and attractive grain patterns. Red oak typically features a prominent grain with strong, reddish-brown hues, while white oak has a subtler grain with a slightly grayish tint.
Oak trees are known for their longevity, often living for several centuries. For optimal wood quality, oak is typically harvested when it reaches maturity, which is around 80-120 years of age.
Red oak has a pronounced grain pattern with wide, open pores, creating a distinctive texture. White oak exhibits a smoother grain with a tighter pattern.
Maple hardwood is known for its light color and fine, even grain. Its color ranges from creamy white to pale reddish-brown.
Maple trees can have a lifespan of 100 years or more. The best wood for flooring is usually harvested when the tree is between 30 and 60 years old.
Maple’s grain is typically straight and uniform, with minimal variation in pattern or color, presenting a clean and contemporary appearance.
Cherry wood is prized for its rich, reddish-brown color that darkens with age and exposure to light. It has a distinctive, flowing grain pattern.
Cherry trees can live for several decades, with some reaching over 100 years. The most sought-after cherry wood for flooring is often harvested when the tree is between 25 and 50 years old.
Cherry’s grain often showcases elegant swirls and waves, adding depth and character to the wood. The grain can range from fine to moderately pronounced.
Walnut hardwood is known for its dark, rich color and unique grain patterns. It’s considered a premium wood species.
Walnut trees can have a lifespan of 100 years or more. The best walnut wood for flooring is typically harvested when the tree is between 30 and 70 years old.
Walnut’s grain is typically straight but can have wavy or curly patterns, creating a luxurious and dynamic look. Its dark color contrasts beautifully with its grain.
Hickory is a tough and durable hardwood with a rustic appearance. It features contrasting light and dark streaks in the grain.
Hickory trees have a lifespan of around 100 years. The best wood for flooring is often harvested when the tree is between 30 and 60 years old.
Hickory’s grain is bold and dramatic, often displaying striking variations in color and pattern, creating a visually captivating effect.
Brazilian cherry is known for its deep reddish-brown color and hardness. It’s an exotic hardwood species.
Brazilian cherry trees have a lifespan of around 50-100 years. The best wood for flooring is typically harvested when the tree is around 40 years old.
Brazilian cherry exhibits a rich, reddish-brown color with a fine to medium grain that can be wavy or interlocked. Its deep tones add warmth to any space.
Teak is highly regarded for its natural resistance to moisture and decay. It has a warm golden-brown color.
Teak trees can live for several decades, with some reaching 100 years. The best teak wood for flooring is often harvested when the tree is around 40-80 years old.
Teak’s grain is typically straight with a fine, even texture. Its golden-brown hue deepens over time and takes on a lustrous patina.
Bamboo is a sustainable flooring option known for its durability and eco-friendliness. It comes in various colors and grain patterns.
Bamboo is not a tree but a fast-growing grass, making it highly sustainable. Bamboo culms (stalks) are typically harvested between 4-7 years of age when they are at their peak hardness.
Bamboo’s grain patterns vary depending on the type. Strand-woven bamboo has a unique, striped appearance, while horizontal bamboo displays a prominent, knuckle-like pattern. Vertical bamboo showcases a more linear and consistent grain.
Understanding the lifespan of the trees and the best time for harvesting can provide insight into the quality and appearance of the hardwood you choose for your flooring. Selecting wood that has been harvested at the optimal age can enhance the beauty and longevity of your hardwood floors.