Choosing the Perfect Wood for Your Home

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When building a new home, one of the most challenging tasks is selecting the proper wood for flooring, cabinets, trim and other elements. Not only are there color choices to think about, but also grain patterns, durability and style. There are far too many species to list here, but we can get you started with a quick look at some of the most popular woods available today. Most of the concentration in a home is on the décor and feel of the home. Believe it or not, the flooring has a major role in the look, feel, and the ambiance of a room. Depending on your lifestyle, budget, and the amount of traffic your floor will endure, will dictate the perfect flooring for you. Whether you are renovating or choosing flooring for your existing home here are tips that will help you choose flooring that you will love.

Pine: With a yellow tone and curvy grain pattern, this wood works well for country designs – particularly those that make use of distressed or antiqued finishes.
Hickory: Hickory is one of our strongest, hardest and heaviest woods with random natural streaks that add unique accents to your cabinetry. Hickory has an array of naturally prominent colors ranging from very light cream to dark reddish brown to sometimes nearly black which easily can be enhanced by light or natural stains. Hickory is another popular species for country-inspired designs. Not only does it make beautiful cabinetry, but the dark, highly figured grain also makes eye-catching wood floors.

Oak: Oak comes in several varieties, the most popular of which include white and red oak. White oak is light with a moderately figured grain pattern, while red oak has a reddish hue and a straight, fine grain. Oak is something of an all-purpose wood. Craftsmen use it to make fine furniture, while designers use it for flooring, cabinetry and trim. Oak is a very hard, heavy wood with a coarse grain that varies from straight to a distinctive sweeping arch pattern. Found in both red and white varieties, oak is a great cabinetry choice because it is timeless, blending beautifully with many different design styles. And it stains well in standard finish colors.

Cherry: Cherry is well known for its smooth grain and unique color that mellows and deepens as it ages—like fine wine. This “mellowing” effect is enhanced by exposure to bright light and, depending on the amount of exposure, will tend to darken several shades over time. Considered a luxury wood due to its expensive price, cherry has pinkish-brown hues and occasional shades of white, green, or gray. Its dark color brings a warm elegance to any room.The red coloring and interesting grain patterns make cherry an excellent choice for French and English-inspired designs. Designers put this wood to a variety of uses, including cabinet faces, wainscoting, trim and flooring.

Maple: Like oak, maple comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The less desirable species are often used for doors and cabinets that will be painted or enameled. Other types of maple are prized for their unusual grain patterns. One example is birds-eye maple, which is normally used as a focal point – either as a piece of furniture, a paneled accent wall or a large bank of cabinets. Maple is a medium to hard wood with a straight, wavy or curly grain. Popular for its shock resistance and durability, maple has a light, uniform appearance that produces a smooth, clean look when stained. Another plus is that it can also be finished to resemble other, more expensive hardwoods and softwoods such as cherry and cedar. Maple is a great choice for a light, airy kitchen or a dramatic kitchen with darker finishes.

Bamboo: Bamboo first became popular in American homes as countertops and cutting boards. These days, it’s not uncommon to find bamboo flooring and cabinetry in contemporary or Asian-inspired kitchens and bathrooms. Designers favor bamboo for its long, straight grain and simple style.

Mahogany: This exotic wood has long been a favorite among craftsmen for fine furniture, to the point that it was timbered nearly to extinction. However, new sustainable farming practices mean that mahogany is making a comeback. Today’s mahogany is made into furniture, flooring, trim and cabinet facing. With its dark, rich tone and smooth grain, mahogany lends itself well to a variety of styles, both vintage and contemporary.

Teak: Teak has always been popular for outdoor applications like decks and patio furniture. These days, reclaimed teak is becoming popular for flooring as well – especially in kitchens and bathrooms. The red coloring and variable grain patterns make this wood easy to use in both formal and informal settings.

Alder:  is softer than other hardwood species with a fine grain pattern. In its raw state, Rustic Alder’s color can range from pale pink–brown to tan. Rustic Alder likely includes some combination of rustic characteristics such as open and closed knots, burls, worm holes, mineral streaks and sound cracks reflecting the inherent beauty of the wood. These characteristics are expected and preferred as they occur naturally in the material. Of the natural characteristics, open and closed knots are the most common in the species.

Birch:  is a smooth hardwood with straight, wavy or curly grains with a high shock resistance that takes any stain well. Birch is mostly a light-colored wood, and varies from cream to light yellow. However, the wood found in the center of the tree, or heartwood, takes on a darker reddish brown color, which may result in unique color variations in your cabinetry. It is versatile and can achieve any look, from a more casual space to a refined setting.

Looking for inspiration? Check out this ideabook on your-floors-zebra-tiger-and-teak-wood-oh-my
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