If you’re picky about choosing a home grown hardwood floor, while looking for something with a unique character, then hickory wood floors might be the best option for you.
Whilst geting popular, hickory flooring still accounts for less than 5% of the domestic hardwood flooring market in the USA, making it less common than the classic oak, therefore, giving you the potential for something a little different.
Take a look at all other qualities of a Hickory flooring and see if it will be a better choice for your home.
Hickory Flooring Look, Colors and Finishes
Untreated hickory has quite stronger color contrast, going from a beautifully deep brown heartwood to a creamy white sapwood.
But hickory is also quite good at retaining stain, you will find that most manufacturers offer hickory flooring that is pre-stained, thus offering a large range of colors and looks, and toning down the contrasting colors of untreated hickory.
In terms of style, because of how it is made, the photographic element of a laminated finish gives great artistic potential; you can find many hickory laminates that is characterful painted, weathered and distressed looking.
Most solid and engineered hickory flooring goes towards either classic or rustic texture finishes with different depths of color added to them, ranging from light caramel tones, through popular gray/ greige tones, to deeper coffee and chocolate tones.
All the best quality hickory flooring will also be finished with a clear final sealant – often a polyurethane – to protect from everyday incidents such as spills and dirt.
The main aspect to note about the complete look of hickory wood floors is that hickory has a unique, fairly dense grain that is more obvious than maple flooring but not as strong as oak.
The dense grain gives hickory its incomparable character, but it can usually look overly busy if you opt for narrow planks. Planks width of 5” and above tend to give a more unified overall look.
Hickory Wood Floors Hardness & Durability
Aside from its fine looks, one of the main qualities of hickory hardwood flooring is that it is the hardest domestic wood sold on the market, with a Jenka ranking of 1820 – that is a lot harder than red oak which has a ranking of 1290.
This makes hickory unbelievably durable and much less prone to dents than the softer hardwoods such as maple and walnut flooring. If you have a houseful of children and some pets, then hickory is the obvious choice!
Hickory Wood Floors Pros & Cons
All hardwoods have different pros and cons, so it’s important to consider all aspects of hickory hardwood in accordance to your household and local environment.
Hickory Flooring Advantages:
Color variety and style – Hickory is best at retaining stain which means that there are lots of color options available already stained by the manufacturer, or you can use a pro staining expert to mix a custom color of your own choice for your home.
Styles-wise, hickory is quite versatile and usually used just as well with most informal, rustic, farmhouse décor as with more formal, structured interior designs. The large variety of hickory flooring styles, finishes and colors is a great advantage.
Options – Hickory flooring is produced in solid, engineered and laminate in a variety of plank widths and finishes.
Durability and wear – As mentioned above, Hickory’s best selling point is that it is extremely durable and Ideal for busy households.
Easy maintenance and low costs – As with most hardwood floorings, once properly sealed, keeping hickory flooring clean very easy – regular sweeping or vacuuming and occasional mopping should do the job . Here’s our list of the top mops for hardwood floors.
As with all hardwood floors, to keep it at its very best you should consider on refinishing your solid hickory floor every 5 years or so. For engineered hickory flooring, look for one that has the thickest wear layer and which therefore can be refinished at least once in its lifetime.
Cost – Since hickory is not as common as oak, it is a bit expensive, but still quite affordable averaging at around $4 – $5 per square foot for a decent quality product, with much lower prices for laminates. Click here for refinishing costs.
Hickory Wood Floors Disadvantages:
Aesthetic concerns – In its natural state or with just a light stain or clear finish, hickory wood tones are very varied with strong contrast between the heartwood and the sapwood; this can give a lovely rustic feel, but is not for everybody’s liking.
Stained hickory wood floors generally removes this potential disadvantage by coordinating with the contrasting tones. Also, the dense grain in hickory can make a floor look too busy if you choose thinner planks – reduce this by using wider planks of 5” plus.