Varieties of Hardwood Flooring

by Jun 8, 2023Hardwood Floors

Hardwood Flooring Varieties

A key reason behind the popularity of hardwood flooring is the load of styles and installation options that you can choose from.

If you get overwhelmed upon realizing just how endless your hardwood flooring options are, have no fear! At Lakeside Floor Coverings, we both sell and install hardwood flooring so we know the ins and outs of all the varieties. We can help direct your choice by providing you with some great hardwood flooring solutions!

As you read, you’ll see that we’ve broken down the hardwood flooring varieties into different categories: some specs of the two hardwood flooring types, the various hardwood flooring species, and some different finishes and stains.

Solid Hardwood & Engineered Hardwood

Your hardwood flooring options are broken down into two types: solid hardwood flooring + engineered hardwood flooring.

Solid hardwood floors are made of pure timber while engineered hardwood floors contain mostly plywood with a wood veneer top layer. Below you will see the basic specs for each variety.


Solid Hardwood Floors Engineered Hardwood Floors
Longer lasting: 30 to 100-year lifespan 20-40 year lifespan
$8/ square foot and up Less expensive: $5/square foot and up
More versatile: can be stained up to four times Can be re-stained once or twice
Possible warping from water – not recommended in bathrooms or laundry rooms   More dimensionally stable – preferred type for below grade areas
Standard thickness: ¾ inch Thicknesses ranging from ⅜ inch to 9/16 inch 
Widths range from 2 ¼ in 5 in Widths ranging from 2 in ¼ to 11 inches
Plank lengths range from 12 in to 84 in Plank lengths from 12 in to 60 in
Most suitable for wood subfloors  Can be installed over a variety of subfloors

Get in touch with our team to discover your floor covering and installation options. We’re looking forward to working with you.

Species Variety

Another way to distinguish between hardwood flooring varieties is by understanding the various wood species. Each wood species differs in its density. The more dense the species, the less prone it is to denting and wear & tear.

Ever heard of a Janka hardness score? If so, you’ve probably taken the time to do your homework! If not, no worries! A wood species’ Janka score describes how resistant a sample of a particular wood species is to damage.

Wood species with a higher Janka hardness rating are suggested for use in high-traffic areas or commercial spaces due to their increased durability.

Oak, walnut, hickory, maple, ash, and cherry are some of the most commonly used wood species in residential hardwood flooring. Below you will see some details on each species.

Oak: Oak is known to be one of the most common wood types used in American homes and is suitable for lots of areas. Red oak has warm hues with swirling grain patterns. White oak has a higher Janka score than red oak – it has gray hues with slight variations in graining and coloring.

Cherry: As a whole, cherry is an inherently dark species that becomes darker with age. It has a smooth grain pattern and has a lower Janka score than oak. It gives off rich and warm vibes.

Walnut: Walnut is suitable for moderately trafficked areas and its graining pattern is consistent. Warm, rich, brown hues are seen in walnut wood flooring species and it has a higher Janka rating than cherry but it’s not as hard as oak.

Hickory: Hickory wins the prize with its very high Janka rating. It’s great for high-traffic areas and its large knots produce visual attraction! From red to white to brown, hickory comes in many tones.

Maple: Maple is first runner-up to Hickory with its competitive Janka ranking. Compared to hickory, maple has lighter hues with some reddish tones. It’s a great option for most areas too!

Stains & Finishes

Factory-finished planks are ready to go, right out of the box! Site-finished boards are unfinished so they need to be sanded and covered with top coats. You can also choose to have site-finished boards stained.

Here are some details about different types of finishes and stains:

Oil-based polyurethane: This type of finish takes about 30 days to cure and you must wait 24 hours between coats. You can expect a rich, amber glow to your wood and it’s highly durable.

Water-based polyurethane: This type of finish takes up to two weeks to cure but its two coats can be applied the same day. Don’t be alarmed by the milky luster – it dries clear!

Stains: You have the option to add a stain to your finishing work process. Stains come in different pigments so you can pick one that meets your desires. Stains are applied before the finish and differ from the finish in that a stain adds color to wood. Some species of wood respond differently to stains so be careful!

Conclusion – Hardwood Flooring Varieties

Hardwood flooring comes in two types: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Both come with pros and cons and you have many choices in style.

Take advantage of our hardwood flooring knowledge by working with Lakeside Floor Coverings on your next flooring project!

Our hope at Lakeside Floor Coverings is that you see us as providing the whole package because we install and sell the product. And because we do both, we know your installation needs and how to best match that with the perfect product for you. We’d love to work with you! Contact us today to start a project! 763-503-0100


7500 University Ave NE, Fridley, MN 55432