Fun fact: Douglas fir trees are one of the most essential timber resources on the planet! Douglas firs are a type of pine tree that are commonly grown and harvested as Christmas trees, and for furniture, fending, electrical poles, and flooring.
Although Douglas fir wood has been used as flooring for hundreds of years, it remains one of the less popular hardwood types for flooring because it is much softer that Oak, Hickory and most of the other hardwoods mentioned in our previous parts of this series. However, many will argue that despite being softer, Douglas fir is still quite durable. Douglas fir wood maintains it’s appearance through excellent elasticity, allowing it to withstand tension, and compression. However, it is still a bit more vulnerable to scratches and dents, which means it requires a bit more maintenance.
Some people should to texture Douglas Fir flooring by using wire brushing, circular sawn kerfs, and hand scraping to create a rustic appearance. Regular sweeping/vacuuming can help prevent damage. This floor might not be best for those who have pets with claws, or those who may wish to wear their shoes inside.
Chestnut Hardwood Floors
The American chestnut tree is famous for its various shades which range from pale while to medium brown and can become reddish with age. The American Chestnut has been historically valued for it’s resistance to rot and durability, but in the early 1900s, American chestnut forests experienced a devastating exposure to an invasive fungus called “Chestnut blight” that drove the American Chestnut tree to near extinction.
As a result, authentic chestnut wood is exceptionally rare. When found, it is often reclaimed from previous buildings instead of grown and harvested. If you run into someone who owns chestnut flooring or furniture, it is likely hundreds of years old. Chestnut remains difficult to find, and very expensive when compared to other types of hardwood flooring.
If you happen to fall in love with the appearance of chestnut flooring, but you cannot use it due to its rareness or expense, remember that there are many imitation opportunities through luxury vinyl planks and laminate options.
Birch Hardwood Floors
Unlike the other woods mentioned in today’s post, the wood that comes from the tree family known as “birch” remains very popular. One very unique thing about birch is that you can get very different looking wood from the same species of birch, depending on whether it was harvested from the sapwood and heartwood.
By heartwood, we mean the wood that is in the center-most part of the tree. Heartwood is generally darker in color, and is dense, strong, and supportive of the tree. Sapwood, alternatively, is much lighter and color, and is the part of a tree that carries water and nutrients from the ground.
Yellow birch is the most popular type of birch. It’s sapwood is white, or creamy in color, while the heard wood is tan with notes of red. Yellow birch has a grain pattern the is very distinct and beautiful. The many subspecies of birch are typically very hard and durable, making it a popular choice for homeowners.
One very unique thing about birch trees is that they grow rapidly (in fact, it can grow so rapidly that it needs to be mitigated to not outcompete other natural foliage) , and that it is famous for withstanding natural disasters, such as forest fires. Because of this, birch is considered to be much more eco-friendly that other types of wood flooring.
We hoped this post helped you understand the different options of wood flooring a bit more. If you have any questions, we would be more than happy to answer them! Give us a call at (970) 226-6800 for assistance today.