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Hickory Flooring Pros and Cons: Analyze Them for a Better Decision

Hickory Flooring Pros and Cons
Hickory wood makes for an excellent alternative to comparatively weaker types of wood such as red oak and maple. Flooring made of hickory tends to last for generations with half as many scratches and complaints as noticed with other flooring options.
Rohini Mohan
Last Updated: Jan 19, 2018
Did You Know?
Hickory has a Janka hardness rating of 1820, which places it among the hardest hardwoods in the world.
With such a high Janka rating, it is but natural for the flooring made of hickory wood to be very hard and resilient to daily wear and tear. Although hickory wood is often recognized for its characteristic brownish-red tones, there is white hickory as well. The quality aspects will vary depending on the type of hickory (common hickory, pignut hickory, shagbark hickory, pecan, and calico hickory) and grade you choose for making your flooring. This DecorDezine guide discusses the various pros and cons of hickory flooring so as to help you make a more informed decision.
High Shock Resistance
Hickory is one of the hardest domestic and commercially sold wood species found in North America. This wood is also highly resistant to shock, which is why it is often used for making baseball bats, furniture, golf clubs, etc., in North America. This wood is, therefore, also suitable for being used as flooring, as it is able to withstand the everyday wear and tear, heat, weight, and pressure of the household.
This wood is harder than other flooring options such as oak, maple, teak, and pine. Although this wood may be hard, it too can develop scratches and dents if excess force is used. It is very likely that the floor may develop scratches after prolonged use and if heavy objects such as tools and utensils were to fall on it. However, this specific problem can be rectified by opting for hand-scraped hickory floorboards that expertly hide such scratches and blemishes. This wood is both sturdy and durable, and is able to resist blemishes to a large extent.
Extraordinary Grain Pattern
The grain of hickory wood is indeed extremely attractive and is enhanced manifold when laid out as flooring. This wood is known and highly sought after because of its exceptionally beautiful color variations that range from dark brown, brownish-red, coffee, to almost white. The wood also features attractive knots and mineral streaks that enhance the characteristics of the flooring.
Hickory Flooring Cost
Hickory is available in several grades, wherein the lower grades are more reasonably priced because they have more knots, blemishes, and coloration. The higher grades have a cleaner look, straighter grain pattern, which is suitable for a more formal look. Higher grade hickory hardwood is usually priced per square foot and starts from USD 3.00-9.00 onwards.
Ideal for Rustic Décor
Hickory wood with its dramatic coloration and grain is apt for creating a more rustic look. Those looking a more rustic interior may consider hickory flooring because of its distinct look and feel. This flooring will instantly remind you of a country inn and a simple lifestyle.
Difficult to Install
The density and hardness of hickory makes it quite difficult to cut into shape, sand, and make into flooring. This wood is so hard that it can easily damage sturdy hand tools. Therefore, making and installing hickory flooring is not a task that can be handled by beginner DIYers and requires the expert skills of a seasoned hardwood flooring specialist. The ideal option would be to go in for pre-cut and finished flooring options for this wood.
Wider Floorboards
The use of hickory as flooring mandates the cutting of the wood into 3¼", 4" and 5" floorboards because the dense coloration of the wood can cause thinner boards to look busy as a whole. The uneven and irregular grain of the wood along with its varying shades can sometimes overwhelm the entire look of the flooring. However, the use of wider floorboards reduces this dilemma by reducing the number of boards used and preventing the shades of reddish-brown, cream, and white from overpowering each other.
Resistant to Staining
Since hickory wood is quite dense, the stain often does not penetrate or adhere to the surface and may affect the finish of a site-finished flooring. To make matters worse, the only area of the wood that may accept the staining is the soft area of the wood, which may cause this busy-looking flooring to look even more crowded. Secondly, even the slightest sanding scratch on the flooring which was not orbited evenly will show a variation in color after being stained. However, opting for pre-finished hickory can help avoid many of these issues.
Susceptible to Warping
Despite being strong and durable, hickory tends to warp if not dried properly before installation. It is because of this reason that consumers must opt for kiln-dried wood that has been treated and stained properly. Factory-finished and engineered hickory from reputed companies are expertly dried and come with several years of warranty.
Hickory wood has increasingly overtaken other flooring options because of the sturdiness, durability, and beauty it has to offer. Its advantages clearly outweigh its disadvantages, thereby, making it a suitable wood for making flooring.
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