Hardwood Flooring: Domestic or Exotic?

Hardwood flooring: domestic or exotic?

You’ve always wanted hardwood floors. They look amazing, and they really add that extra edge that you’ve always wanted in your home. But when you start looking at hardwood flooring, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. There’s just so much to choose from. Different species of trees have different grains and different colors. Even the cut of the wood can change the appearance. As if seeing different names like red oak, maple, or birch wasn’t hard enough, now you have to decide if you want domestic or exotic? What does that even mean?

Domestic Hardwood

While hardwood flooring manufacturers and retailers like to use buzzwords, it can get a little confusing. Simply put, domestic hardwood just means the wood came from the United States. The trees and woods used are from the United States. However, there is a little more to it than that, domestic hardwood tends to have different characteristics.

Domestic hardwood flooring is a kind of classic. They are common in homes here in the United States. Overall, domestic woods are typically a light color. They are also considered easy to work with. Domestic woods also tend to be incredibly consistent. They have straighter lines, fewer flaws, and have a more uniform appearance. You won’t find as much variation in the boards when using domestic hardwood.

You’ll also find that domestic hardwood takes color easier. You can stain or treat domestic hardwood to achieve almost any color that you want. And, buying domestic hardwood will save you some money. Because it comes from right here in the United States, you won’t be paying as much. Common species for domestic hardwood include: red oak, white oak, maple, American cherry, walnut, and birch.

Exotic Hardwood

In the simplest of terms, exotic hardwood simply means the flooring came from trees that aren’t native to the United States. The lumber needs to be imported. However, exotic hardwood has different characteristics as well, and this flooring creates an entirely different look than domestic hardwoods.

The popularity of exotic hardwood is growing in the United States. Where domestic hardwoods tend to be lighter, and more uniform in appearance, exotic hardwoods tend to be darker with more variation. Exotic hardwood is perfect for creating flooring that has its own unique character and charm. Colors tend to vary more throughout exotic hardwood. It can even vary substantially in the same board. The wood grain is also different, and can be rather unusual.

All in all, exotic hardwoods are an excellent choice in any room in your house. They bring unique character to each space they’re installed in. Exotic woods can cost more because they are imported, the price is higher. However, exotic hardwoods are more resilient. They are a harder wood than domestic, and have a greater resistance to normal wear and tear. Common species for exotic hardwood include: tigerwood, Brazilian cherry, kempas, amendoim, merbau, and bamboo.

Making Your Choice

While there only the two categories for hardwood floors that doesn’t mean your choice is as simple as picking domestic or exotic. Walk into any home improvement store, and you’ll understand. There are literally hundreds of options for hardwood flooring, and it’s not just choosing between exotic or domestic hardwood. There are different cuts, stains, grains, and styles. The best way to make a decision is to pick a general style and color you are aiming for. After that, seek the help of an expert.

With a professional’s knowledge guiding you, you’ll be able to make a better decision. It doesn’t hurt to get samples either. You’ll be able to take small pieces of different hardwoods home, and see how each one compares to your current décor. You might want a lighter colored hardwood if you have dark colored cabinets or walls. Choosing the right flooring can make the difference between a beautiful, open space, or a dark, small space.

Depending on the amount of wear and tear you expect, you might choose a hardwood that is more resilient. If you’re installing the hardwood in a high traffic area, you’ll want wood that can handle it. The last thing you want to do is replace your new flooring before you need to. As you can see, there is a difference between exotic hardwood and domestic hardwood. With the help of an expert, you’ll be able to choose the perfect flooring to compliment your home and your style.

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