Hardwood vs. Softwood: Which Is Right For You?

There’s a misconception when it comes to the term “hardwood” with flooring. Oftentimes, it’s used to describe any type of wood flooring you have no matter what type of wood being used. Your wood flooring can actually be made up of either softwood or hardwood. Likewise, “softwood” isn’t technically soft either. This product is from trees like a conifer or evergreen tree, which are of a softer wood. Don’t let the name fool you, however, softwood is dense and strong enough for construction work as well as decorative pieces. Because of its structure, softwood is easier to obtain than hardwood. Hardwood grows slower as a result of its complex structure and they tend to be more expensive than softwood for this reason. With that being said, both types of wood make beautiful additions to any home and can last for years with the right maintenance. Here are the most common woods used for flooring:

Hardwood

Maple: This wood can range from a creamy white to a reddish-brown. It’s popular if your style is more high-end because its grain is close and more uniform.

Birch: This is a softer red oak with colors ranging from light yellow to a dark brownish-red. Over the years, it’s lost some popularity to be used as flooring, but it can still make any room gorgeous.

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Beech: This wood has a consistent grain making it perfect for more domestic floors. Typically it’s a reddish-brown color, but over the past few years, it’s not used as often for flooring.

Oak: The grain of this wood has more character with swirls and burls running through. It’s a brown color but can often look more grey. What’s even better is that it’s fungal and insect resistant so even when it needs resurfacing, you don’t have to worry about extensive damage.

What are the pros of hardwood?

  • It’s a very high-quality and strong wood that stays durable over the years of foot traffic.
  • It’s easy to clean; scratches and dents are easily fixed.
  • It’s great for several styles. Hardwood comes in a range of finishes and colors.
  • With how strong hardwood is, it’s more resistant to fire than softwood is.

Softwood

While softwood is easier to obtain, softwood is not ideal for more high traffic areas if you want it looking pristine. It will look distressed faster scratching more easily. You can still use it if you want a naturally distressed look, which can blend in with some rustic and antique styles perfectly. Some softwood would be:

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● Pine: This yellowish-brown wood has a lot of knots and swirls throughout the grain. Similar to the red oak, it’s just as hard and resistant to insects.

● Fir: This wood is not as soft as red oak and can dent easily. It’s a yellowish-tan color that goes well with most styles. While it’s common to see as flooring, it also works great for walls and furniture.

What are the pros of softwood?

  • It’s easy to work with over many different applications.
  • Since softwood grows faster than hardwood, it’s more common and easier to get.
  • In that same thought, the softwood is less expensive to have installed in your home.

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