Hickory Hardwood Flooring
Variations in the grade of hickory hardwood flooring can can result
in quite significantly different looking floors. The degree of
colour variation, from quite white to a reddy brown, and the amount
of natural character marks like knots and sap pockets can make
the flooring look extremely rustic or quite refined.
Thus it is essential that you get either some great pictures
that illustrate the grade you are buying or an in-store view of
the same. All hickory floors are beautiful but not necessarily
perfect for your decorating agenda.
This is partly due to the fact that hickory flooring is somewhat
of a mixture of woods, 4 types of "true hickory" and
one "pecan hickory", each species with different degrees
of colour variation and degree of natural defects.
Hickory hardwood flooring typically comes in a "select"
or "select and better" grade with limited knots but
can or can not have alot of colour variation depending on the
source of the wood and the manufacturer. Some creative flooring
manufacturer's have even coined the phrase "calico"
flooring to make the two tone version sound more exotic.
Country or Rustic grades are also available, some with added
"distress" marks created by the manufacturer and natural
worm holes etc. offered up by nature, but you can always guarantee
lots of colour variation. The rustic grades are not required to
meet any particular quality standard so buyer beware!
Janka Rating: 1820
Hickory hardwood flooring with a Janka rating of 1820 is the hardest
Canadian wood species and second hardest in the United States,
behind mesquite flooring. This is a great feature when engaged
in a discussion of durability. Hickory will withstand much of
life's abuse, where other floors will wilt.
In comparison, we are all very familiar with red oak flooring.
It has been the mainstay in the hardwood industry for a hundred
years. The Janka hardness rating is only 1290 for northern red
oak, so you can see that hickory represents allmost a 50% increase
in density over the more common cousin. (The higher the number
the denser the wood)
Unfinished or Prefinished Hickory Flooring:
As discussed earlier Hickory is a "hard" wood and NOT
the easiest to sand. Refer back to its janka rating. In my experience
it is also somewhat inclined to "fuzz" on sanding, making
it a little difficult to debur with traditional methods. This
can cause some grief in the staining process as well.
For both of these reasons, I'd always recommend that clients
go with a prefinished hickory flooring and let the
large manufacturers deal with the headaches.
Hickory shrinks quite significantly in the drying process, more
than most other common North American Species. Researching Radial
(average 7%) and Tangential(11%) Shrinkage from green wood to
oven dry moisture content Hickory hardwood shrinks significantly
more than say a traditional Northern Red Oak Hardwood with a radial
shrinkage of 4%, and tangental of 8%.
For this reason it is important to buy hickory hardwood flooring
from a reputable manufacture that has taken the time to dry the
wood properly... otherwise it will be drying AND twisting in your
It is certainly not one of those species that you want to buy
offshore knowing it has spent 4 months of its life in a ship's
Other Wood Species of Hardwood Flooring
Janka Ratings For Hardwood Lumber