If you're installing new flooring, then hardwood is the way to go. It adds more value to your home then laminate flooring and it is more durable. It is more difficult to install then something like carpet or wood laminate, but it lasts longer. A house with real hardwood flooring is truly impressive.

The first step is to decide which species of wood you want for your floor. There are various issues such as cost, durability, and aesthetics to consider.

Here are some of your options.


Maple is one of the harder woods used in flooring. Lumber is made from Sugar Maples. Maple is often used in furniture, baseball bats, and other objects where strength is a key factor. This species of wood ranks very high on Janka hardness scale. Most of the wood species that rank higher are exotic woods that are not used in flooring.

Maple is particularly prized for its beautiful birdseye design. One thing to note is that maple can discolor quite easily, so it is best to get it per-stained from the lumber supplier.

Red Oak

Red Oak is one of the most popular choices for hardwood flooring. It has a Janka rating of 1290, which places it below Maple, but above Walnut, Cherry and Birch. It is popular because it is affordable, durable and beautiful. This species of oak is called red because it has a reddish hue. It also has a very rich looking grain. It easy to stain and refinish.


Cherry is one of the softer hardwoods. It ranks a 950 on the Janka scale. For this reason it is not a great choice for areas that have heavy wear and tear. However, it is one of the most beautiful woods. Cherry is most often used in furniture making, however there are times when it can be a wonderful flooring material.

Cherry has a very distinct large grain that many people like. Because of its large grain, it is often milled into wider planks than other species of wood. So, if you want a wide plank flooring, then cherry is a good choice. As long as the area is not going to be subjected to heavy foot traffic, then cherry can be used. 


Walnut is unique among the hardwoods for having a dark color. It is also on the softer side, having a Janka rating of 1010. Walnut is a perfect choice for rooms where you want a dark, warm color. A library or bedroom would be a good place to lay walnut flooring.