I prefer Maple; but is Black Cherry, Maple or Walnut better? How to Choose Wood Species for Flooring

Q: I am purchasing a home and don’t know which is the best, most durable wood to choose. I worry about wear and tear over the years.  

I don’t love too much grain in the floor, that is why I prefer maple; but is Black Cherry, Maple or Walnut better? If I have to choose oak due to cost, should 3/4″ size or more be better? What about staining the oak? I was told that staining is not good. I thought that all wood had to be stained to achieve all the various colors that are available. What then is “natural hardwood” without staining, but in a darker color? How to choose wood species for flooring?

A: You are asking me to write a book, which I won’t do. 3/4″ Thick is the way to go. The species is determined by your likes and life style. If you have pets, a harder wood may be better. Maple is harder than oak. However, because of lack of grain definition, it tends to show marks or claw impressions more than an oak floor. You don’t like heavy grain. Maybe quarter sawn white oak is for you? Or beech? Perhaps hickory. Some woods don’t need staining, since they have so much natural color to offer, such as cherry, and walnut. Staining is a matter of taste in the long run.

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