Remember when hardwood floors were fresh and new? You didn’t see them everywhere you went. The colors were a bit more vibrant. They made every room they were in pop.
Fast forward to today’s world, where 52 percent of homeowners say they have hardwood somewhere in their homes. Two-thirds say hardwood is the only thing they’d install in their dream homes.
There’s a good reason for that. Hardwood is a great choice for flooring throughout your home.
- It’s durable, and can last for decades if well cared for
- It’s one of the most attractive flooring materials you can install
- It’s easy to clean – vacuum or sweep up each night, and it will always look its best
- It’s affordable – because hardwood is so popular, you’ll find an option in every price bracket
- It’s eco-friendly – if you pay attention to the manufacturing process
- It adds value to your home – with two-thirds saying hardwood is the only thing they want in their dream home, there’s a good chance that the buyer looking at your home will love your hardwood flooring
Whatever your reason for installing hardwood in your home, you won’t be disappointed with the results.
But for some homeowners, the idea of installing the same old hardwood can leave them feeling underwhelmed. Maybe you want hardwood … but you want something more.
Maybe exotic wood floors would be better for your home.
What is exotic wood flooring?
If you start looking around at wood flooring, you’ll see certain types over and over again. Oak, birch, pine, these species of wood are ever-popular because they do well as flooring. They look good, they are easy to maintain, and they are easy to grow and harvest to turn into building materials. That also is what gives them affordability.
Exotic wood comes from harder to reach places. They are sourced outside of America, and typically grow in places that require a tropical climate. You’ll find exotic wood often comes from places like Asia, Africa, or South America.
When you move into species that grow in more tropical locations, you’ll also find the appearance of the wood changes its look. The grain tends to be wider and more pronounced. The color is usually more vibrant, often coming in shades of red, yellow, or purple.
Of course, when you source these exotic woods from faraway locations, you can also run into ecological issues. That’s why it’s important to shop wisely when looking for exotic flooring. Because many of these regions don’t have the laws and policies we do, some of these woods can be sourced using less than desirable practices. Be sure to look for things like the FSC accreditation on the label to ensure they use eco-friendly guidelines.
There’s also a cost issue. Because exotic hardwood is sourced from different regions of the world, it will cost more to harvest and bring it to market. Expect to pay more than flooring made with domestic woods.
I want exotic wood floors. What are the benefits?
If you want exotic wood floors, you’ll have to do your research. Just like other flooring choices, each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. You may know how to live with domestic hardwood, but bringing a different species of hardwood can change things up a bit. It’s better to do your research early than to make a mistake and hate your floors from the moment they’re installed.
People enjoy exotic wood floors for many of the same reasons as domestic wood flooring.
- They’re extremely tough, often tougher than domestic woods
- That makes them even more durable on your floors
- They require little maintenance and can look good for years to come
- They have a unique natural beautify that’s unparalleled in any other wood on the market
- They come in a vibrant range of colors and looks
- They are a great investment and can give you an edge if you’re selling your home
Before we get into the types of exotic woods, it’s important to understand the Janka Hardness Scale. The scale was developed as a way of displaying the results of the Janka hardness test. The test uses a 2x2x6-inch piece of wood and a 0.444-inch steel ball to determine how hard the wood is. The test measures how many pounds per square inch of force are needed to push the steel ball halfway into the piece of wood.
If you have an idea of what the Janka rating is for the exotic wood you’re looking at for your home, you’ll understand better how much wear and tear it will be able to handle over the years before it needs repair or replacement. A good Janka rating will only be an indication, because every hardwood in every home is put to different use, depending on the needs and lifestyle of the homeowners.
For a closer look at how different species of wood rank on the Janka scale, you can look at hardness tests to see where the species you’re considering lies. Brazilian Olivewood and Bolivian Cherry fall towards the hard side, while White Pine and Douglas Fir are in the softer range.
What are some of our favorite exotic hardwood species?
When you start looking at exotic hardwood, you’ll fall in love with the vibrant shades, the deep grains, and the unique looks. You’ll never find this in every house in your neighborhood – that’s what makes it so desirable.
While there are many different options, start by looking at:
Acacia Wood – this is one of the hardest and most durable woods in the flooring market. It works well in high traffic areas, such as hallways, dining rooms and living spaces. You’ll love the distinctive beauty with its unique grain patterns, and the color ranges that vary from golden tans to deep, rich browns.
Jatoba Wood – this is also known as Brazilian Cherry, and can be sourced from Brazil, Peru, or Mexico. It’s a tough wood that can be sanded down and refinished many times throughout its lifespan. It has a luxurious look and feel that many homeowners love.
Teak Wood – teak wood continues to grow in popularity because of its versatility. It’s sourced in many areas, including Burmese, Africa, and Indonesia. It has an elegant color with a luster to it that many find appealing. It has a high water resistance, which can give it an advantage in rooms with higher moisture, such as bathrooms.
Of course, these are just a few of the many exotic wood flooring choices on the market today.
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