Oak Or Exotic: What Will It Be?

Let's Nail Down Your Choices

Are you aware that hardwood flooring represents about two thirds of the flooring in the industry, and more specifically oak flooring. Statistics from HGTV tell us that Oak hardwood floors still accounts for about two-thirds of all installed hardwood flooring in America. That is an awesome number. But we know a secret. What would you say if we told you that it is positively losing ground to its exotic cousins?

To be more specific, the NWFA indicates just that and they say that there are reasons for that. Factors vary depending on who has your ear at the moment, but in general, the wide range of hardwood from other countries, especially Brazil, Australia and Asia, really are gaining a foothold in the overall industry. These fabulous woods seem to be nailing down most new and existing home owner choices, and quite quickly.

Another secret is out of bag. It's one of perspective, but nevertheless is an interesting observation from an industry professional. "There has been a trend for several years for exotic hardwoods to increase in popularity", "says Anita Howard of the National Wood Flooring Association in Chesterfield, Mo. The number-one reason: price. They're more reasonable than they used to be," she says. They're also more available, as interest grows and lower pricing makes them more attractive.

Consumers also are intrigued by the possibilities that avoid the need to alter their wood choices drastically with stains. "These species offer a broader range of colors, so you can use the natural species rather than staining oak to a particular color," Anita says. "More people today want to forgo stain and try a different wood type with a natural stain instead."

The options vary from black and purple to pink and gold. "The possibilities are just endless," she says. "Some are used for accents rather than an entire floor, to add some interest." Many of the woods also have more "personality" than oak, she notes, with mineral streaks or knotholes that give them a unique look.

For purposes of this article, let Keith Clay Floors acquaint you with some more information on some of the most popular woods right now:

Brazilian cherry is totally hot right now. This beautifully seasoned wood has a russet or reddish-brown color, and contains a medium to somewhat coarse grain on visual inspection. Slightly more stable than red oak, which is nice to know; and it requires a longer than normal acclimation period. It also is more difficult to saw due to its high density. If you have additional questions about that be sure to call me.

Cork flooring is also extremely popular. It comes in a spectrum of shades from light to dark and has a familiar grain that's unlike other woods; it is really bark from a type of oak tree. One of the great features about Cork is it has a lot of give to it. It's become popular due to its prominence on design shows and because its cushioning effect and naturally pest free makes it a strong choice for homes with elderly people and children. It is quite common in today's market and more and more designers and decorators alike are finding very creative ways to use this quite sustainable green flooring product.

Bamboo has become the buzz word for sustainable. Truth be known, bamboo is actually a grass, but it is considered a wood due to its hardness qualities. Bamboo has become extremely popular with green building proponents due to its rapid regrowth, which is what makes it highly sustainable. We are talking replacement in only 4 years. That is awesome, if you want to purchase and save the environment. It comes in manila/yellow tones as well as dark shades, and what makes it have so much character are the grain pattern shows nodes from the bamboo stalks. Very distinctive and quite in demand.

Wenge is another more communally recognized wood and has become popular for accessories and accents. This nearly black wood, which comes from Africa, is pretty obscure and is sometimes difficult to obtain; hence demand can be higher than supply. Which may be why it has been used more and more; it seems to be very popular as an accent wood. Make sure your floor person has carbide tools, this tough wood can be hard to cut.

Bubinga. If you have never heard of this beauty, check it out. Deep Burgundy in color, this African wood has a fine grain and does saw quite easily. A light touch is required when nailing, and hand-hammering without use of machine assist works best. Beauty is more than skin deep here; it truly glows.

Sydney Blue Gum is another overlooked species and has not been used much in the past. One interesting note about this chameleon is over time, this wood's color mutes from a spectrum of pink to burgundy red to become a medium brown-red. It's very hard and will require installers to have those tough carbide blades to cut it effectively. Longevity is nice.

Whatever exotic you decide to use; make sure you talk to Keith Clay before you make your decision. Cutting, installation techniques, environment, as well as humidity and proximity to water all may play a key role for proper installation. Increasing the value of your home or business is an investment you want to take full advantage of over time. Call us today won't you. Keith Clay Floors knows flooring; and has 25 years experience to back up his knowledge. Trust the best and call us today at 972-463-6604 and know you are getting World Class Craftsmanship At Reasonable Prices. It Just Doesn't Get Any Better Than This.

If you have a project that you will undertake this year, we invite you to call us. Keith Clay has been in business for almost 25 years now. We know wood floors and can answer any questions you may have. In January of 2011, Keith Clay Floors was awarded the Super Service Award from Angies List. That says it all really, if you want the best job from a company of professionals, call us today. 972-463-6604. You will be so glad you did.

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