What is the Most Common Hardwood Flooring and Why?

What is the Most Common Hardwood Flooring and Why?

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different types of woods that are used for hardwood flooring. They’re generally divided into two categories: domestic and exotic. Domestic woods in the United States means that they’re sourced from trees in the United States. Exotic woods are imported. Domestic woods are more common and less expensive. They are what you will find in most homes. Specifically, you’ll likely find red and white oak. Domestic oaks are the most common hardwood flooring choices in the United States. Red oak tends to grow faster and more abundantly; thus, it is the most common hardwood flooring.

Red Oak Hardwood Floor Properties

Woods are rated in several different ways. One of those ways is through the Janka hardness scale. The scale was devised by a scientist to measure the hardness of a wood. The scale ranges from about 100, which is balsa wood, all the way up to the 4000s. Most domestic woods get nowhere near the 4000s. Red oak generally is a 1260 on the janka hardness scale. Considering the distribution of woods on the scale, that is actually about middle of the road. White oak is a 1360 on the scale.

For comparison, white pine, which you can often find at hardware stores, is a 360 on the scale. You can dent it with your fingernail. Southern yellow pine is 870; your dog or cat can scratch it with a claw. So, red oak is about twice as hard as those. Many types of wooden furniture are made from red oak. If you have wooden furniture, bookshelves, or molding around your house, there’s a good chance it’s oak.

Furthermore, the grain patterns of wood are considered. Red oak tends to have a prominent grain that is fairly straight. It’s prominent enough to be visible through a dark stain but not so bold that you can’t paint over it; it’s a great middle ground.


Obviously, price is going to be a major determining factor for many people. That’s another reason why red oak is so popular. On average, hardwood flooring installation will cost you between $3 and $10 per square foot. There are some variations depending on season and type of wood, but that’s a good rule of thumb. Red oak also fluctuates depending on sourcing and many other factors; however, it tends to run about $4 to $6 per square foot. So that’s right in the middle range of the price scale.

For all of these reasons, red oak is the most popular hardwood flooring in the Denver area.

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