Choosing a Hardwood Floor

Choosing a hardwood floor can be a difficult decision. It is a high end investment, and one that you will live with for a long time. There are many things to think about such as Species, Size, Grade and Color. All of which can have dynamic effects on the look you want.


Red oak – Red Oak is the most popular of all hardwood flooring in North America. It is strong, dense and very steady. It has a very pronounced grain. It is available in 10 colors, 2 grades and 4 sizes.
Janka rating – 1290 (what is Janka rating?)

Maple – Hard Maple is also very popular but is very unique with its very minor grain. It is also very strong and dense. It’s available in 10 colors, 3 grades and 5 sizes.
Janka rating 1450

Ash – Ash is very similar in look to red oak with a pronounced grain. It is however, stronger, denser, more stable and usually comes in longer lengths. It is available in 6 colors, 1 grade and 3 sizes.
Janka rating 1320

Hickory – Hickory has a mid range grain, in between the look of red oak and maple. It is also the strongest of all the North American woods. It is available in 5 colors, 2 grades and 3 sizes.
Janka rating 1820

White Oak – White Oak is very similar to red oak. Its grain is a little denser and tends to be a little more stable. It is available in 6 colors, 1 grade and 4 sizes.
Janka rating 1360

American Cherry – American Cherry is one of the lightest and most beautiful of the hardwoods. It has a very unique grain and will actually darken, when exposed to light over time. It is available in 1 color, 1 grade and 3 sizes.
Janka rating 950

Black Walnut – Walnut, is, similarly to cherry, one of the lightest of the hardwoods. It also has a very unique grain. It is available in 1 color, 2 grades and 3 sizes.
Janka rating 1010

Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) – Brazilian Cherry is open grained like oak, but more than twice as hard. As the name suggests its imported from Brazil and, like American Cherry, will darken over time. It is available in 3 colors, 1 grade and 1 size.
Janka rating 2820

Janka Test

The Janka Test is a measure of a wood’s strength. The test involves pushing a steal ball bearing into a piece of wood. The more force needed to push the ball in, the higher the Janka rating, the higher the density of the wood.

Size (Width)

Size is very important in the purchase of hardwood flooring. It can greatly determine the look, stability and price of the product. The Size is measured as the total width of the face of the product and does not reflect the tongue or the groove. The smaller the size, the more stable the floor. The wider the size, the more constant the look. If you experience inconsistent humidity levels in your home, smaller sizes are encouraged. The sizes offered are 2 ¼, 2 ¾, 3 ¼, 3 ½ and 4 ¼ inch.


The grade of flooring is very important in the look that you are hoping to achieve. It will also greatly affect the price that you will be paying. In total there are 3 grades: Select and Better, Select and Character.

  • Select and Better – The highest standard of grade in the industry. It should be clean of color variation, knots, marks and streaks. It should have a generally high average length of board.
  • Select Grade – A high grade, but will have more variation in natural sapwoods. There will be minimal knots , marks and streaks. It should have a generally high average length of board.
  • Character Grade – Character grade is a very natural grade. Color variation is constant and small knots, flags, worm holes and mineral streaks are allowed. It should have a generally high average length of board.

All 3 grades are unique, and depending on the desired look, could be highly recommended.


Color might be the most popular attribute when picking a hardwood floor. Whether it is a slight red, a deep brown or a natural look, the right color can greatly enhance your desired look.  Click here for link to color samples.


We look forward to hearing from you to schedule an appointment.

Grand River Flooring is based in Fergus Ontario and proudly serves an area of about 50kms around Centre Wellington (Fergus, Elora, Belwood), including the Tri Cities (Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph), Cambridge, Orangeville, Minto and Milton.

back to top

One Response to “Choosing a Hardwood Floor”

  1. Hi we found your site and are interested in speaking with you about hardwood for our home in Cambridge. It is 11 yrs old and we purchased it recently.
    We are thinking of doing approximately 750 sq ft in a hardwood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *