Hickory Hardwood Flooring
Real Hickory or Pecan Hickory Floors

hickory Hardwood Floors

Hickory 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.

Flooring Grades:
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.

Dimensional Stability:
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 home.

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 hold.

Further Information:
Hardwood Flooring
Other Wood Species of Hardwood Flooring
Janka Ratings For Hardwood Lumber