Hardwood Flooring Species A through W


A hardwood that comes in several varieties, including red hardwood, Oregon, and western species. The color is consistent from pinkish brown to almost white. This material does not usually contain a distinct grain, but may have a moderate straight uniform grain. Alder is a soft hardwood that can be worked well. It has low tensile strength, is lightweight, low impact, and dense wood. Since it is a light, soft hardwood, it can be nailed, screwed, and painted or stained.

Alder is used in many products, from flooring to furniture to kitchen cabinets, often used when a rustic effect is desired.


The color varies from white, through cream, to light brown. Usually a straight grain with an even texture. This species is heavy and hard, making it a strong flooring with high tensile strength. With large pores, this wood accepts almost any stain.

The ash is used for flooring, furniture, and sporting goods. It was once the wood of choice for making tennis rackets. Machines well, good for nails, screws and glue. Dries easily with little degradation or difference in performance.

black walnut

A tight grained hardwood that is polished to a very smooth finish that improves over time. Its color is a dark brown on a purplish black. When kiln dried, its color generally leads to a dull brown, and air drying creates a purplish brown.

With a beautiful grain, it is often a straight grain that can sometimes have waves or curls, but can vary greatly and gets shinier as it ages. It is a hardwood with a medium density and moderate resistance to crushing and bending with low stiffness.

Works well when machining, nailing, cutting, screwing and gluing well. Stains easily with slow drying time. It is used in flooring, cabinets, stocks, carvings, instruments, woodwork and much more. It is also a highly sought after veneer material.


It is known for its stunning beauty and woodworking qualities. It’s one of the easiest wood species to work with, from high-gloss flooring to high-end cabinetry. With excellent moisture resistance, it exhibits minimal expansion and contraction, making it very versatile as a flooring product.

The color is a reddish brown that darkens with exposure to sunlight and age. The grain is straight with a smooth texture. Cherry is of medium density and strength and stiffness. The grain pattern of hardwoods is quite distinctive with little gum pockets and pith flecks running through it. It nails and sticks quite a bit and can be finished with a smooth finish when sanded.

hard maple

As one of the hardest maple species, it is one of the most reliable types of wood. Produces a straight grain, uniform texture and natural strength. It is an excellent choice for floors, furniture, and popular as a coating. It works well in residential, commercial and industrial applications.

The color ranges from cream to a light reddish brown. Hard maple has a uniform texture and is usually straight grained. It may also exhibit knots or bird’s eye grain patterns. It absorbs stains well and can be polished to a high quality finish.

Since this hardwood ranks high on the hardness scale, pre-drilling before nailing or screwing is recommended.

red oak

Because it is one of the most abundant hardwood species, it makes it one of the most popular after maple and cherry. The color varies from a creamy white to a pale brown, often tinged with red. Straight grain with a coarse texture.

Red oak is quite heavy and strong. It is also very hard with a high resistance to shock. With these features, it had excellent wear resistance and durability. Machines well but pre-drilling is good practice if nailing or using screws.

White Oak

One of the most common flooring options, due to its durability and resistance that is also impervious to moisture. Due to these same characteristics, it has been used for many years as sawmills and for wooden barrels.

The color is almost white to a dark gray brown for the heartwood.

The color varies from white to dark grayish brown. Most of the wood is straight-grained with a medium to coarse texture. Its grain can vary depending on the angles of sawing and slicing.

White oak is a very hard and strong wood with great wear resistance, which holds nails and screws quite well. It machines well and due to its hardness it is recommended to pre-drill before using nails or screws.