In this detailed guide, we have compared hickory vs oak flooring as well as discussed other details that you might find helpful.
Now that you’ve spent some time researching the numerous types of wood flooring, you’re torn between hickory and oak. Not by a long shot.
There is a lot of controversy in the flooring industry about hickory vs. oak. In the end, it’s a fight between the common but lovely and the somewhat less common but still outstanding.
Almost every American home has oak flooring (or imitation wood flooring that looks like oak). In contrast, hickory is a little less common.
Even if it’s not as rare as ebony flooring, it’s nevertheless uncommon in the woodworking industry. It’s worth noting that oak and hickory are both excellent hardwood flooring selections.
Choosing between hickory vs oak flooring is frequently a matter of personal preference, as each has its pros and cons. It’s not so much a case of “X is better than Y.”
But don’t be alarmed! You won’t find this one of those posts where we mention a few facts and then leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions based on what you can make of the information we have provided.
Here, we’ll go over the pros and cons of hickory vs oak flooring so that you can make an informed decision. You’ll be an expert on hickory vs. oak by the time you finish reading this article.
All About Oak
Because of its popularity and long history of use in residences, oak flooring is without question the most common hardwood in the world. In addition, there are numerous species ranging from Live to Bur Oak. However, there are just two varieties of oak flooring, Red and White Oak, to be aware of.
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The Northeastern United States and Canada both have a plethora of this tree. They have a maximum height of 100 feet and a Janka hardness of 1,220. This wood’s grain features huge pores and swirls, making for a busy floor because of its uneven texture.
The most popular form of Oak flooring, Red Oak, has a somewhat pink tone to reddish, although it is not as resistant to rot and water as other hardwoods.
Unlike Red Oaks, which grow to a greater height in the western half of the United States, White Oaks grow to a greater height in the eastern half.
This wood is placed at the Janka scale of 1,350, categorizing it as somewhat harder than Black Walnut but not as hard as a Eucalyptus.
The grain is finer, and the hue ranges from olive green to light brown. It is more resistant to rot and moisture than Red Oak, and it is more stable as a result.
In terms of color, Red Oak is lighter rather than White, but it’s also less expensive and less durable overall. It’s best to go with white oak than red if you’re worried about water damage or have large dogs.
Reasons For Going With Oak Hardwood Floor
Hardwood flooring made from oak is by far the most common. White oak’s linear grain and undertones of golden brown to light gray make it suitable for a wide range of stains and finishing processes, making it suitable for both a modern and a rustic aesthetic.
The hardness rating for oak is the benchmark for high-traffic areas, even though it is less hard than hickory. Oak is also noted for its resistance to expansion and contraction due to variations in temperature and moisture.
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Pros Of Oak
Due to oak’s higher stability, it can withstand significant humidity and temperature swings.
- Hickory is more expensive than oak.
- Low-cost upkeep. Your oak floor will look great if you clean and mop it on a regular basis.
- As far as homebuyers go, oak is the preferred option.
- It is stainable to any color you like.
Cons Of Oak
- It’s not a great option for homeowners who want to add a particular flair to their hardwood flooring.
- Hard to set up. A do-it-yourselfer cannot install it since a professional must be hired.
- Your floor will be damaged by the claws of dogs and cats, high heels, and furniture. It’s possible that furniture underpads can solve this issue.
All About Hickory
Hickory is the toughest domestic hardwood. So it’s a solid and long-lasting flooring solution. Your home will stand out even more with hickory flooring because it’s less prevalent than wood or oak flooring selections.
With a wide range of color and grain patterns, hickory wood is popular for furniture and flooring. Hickory is an excellent option for those looking for a warm, rustic feel in their home because of its darker character marks.
Because hickory is so easy to stain, you’ll have more options when it comes to finding the perfect tone and color for your home.
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The main variations between varieties of hickory have relatively little to do with the lumber they produce; therefore, we won’t go into great depth about them here.
However, it would be wonderful to learn some fundamentals. There are various hickory tree types to choose from, including shellbark and shagbark trees.
All hickory trees bear blooms, and their leaves tend to droop. On the other hand, Hickory wood has a grain pattern that is very consistent from one species to the next. There are no hickory advantages and disadvantages.
Reasons For Going With Hickory Hardwood Floor
It is the hardest variety of hickory, with a rating of 1820. On the other hand, hickory is a good option for those who see a lot of traffic.
When it comes to choosing a hardwood species, it’s not just about how hard it is. Hickory’s intricate graining two-tone color contrasts the wood’s darker knots, giving it a distinctive visual appeal.
The boards can be mounted side-by-side to show off their distinct features to provide a truly unique look. Caramel-colored wire-brushed engineered hardwood flooring.
When it comes to design, It is always a great pick because of its clean and crisp overall appearance, which makes it a perfect choice for a more formal or conservative design.
Pros Of Hickory
- The natural grain patterns of hickory differ from those of oak flooring.
- The rustic appearance of hickory is quite appealing.
- Planks of hickory wood are more popular than any other type of flooring. Grain complexity is better handled with planks, allowing homeowners to like these lovely grains.
- The right stain may make all the difference when it comes to flooring. In some cases, it should be the most daring decision.
- The expense of upkeep is low. Keeping your hickory floor clean is a simple matter of sweeping and vacuuming.
- Unlike other floorings, hickory is resistant to insects and heartwood rot. As a result, hickory’s natural beauty can be preserved for decades.
Cons Of Hickory
- Some people find rustic appearances unappealing and unappealing.
- Hickory’s grain variances may necessitate extensive sanding in order to achieve a uniform finish.
- It’s a good idea to use the services of a professional installer who has previous experience with this type of flooring. Changes in patterns may be better handled by a professional installer than by a DIYer.
- There is a problem with rot and decay, so more treatment is required, which is expensive.
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Similarities Between Hickory Vs Oak Flooring
Both are made of hardwood and are available in two varieties: solid and engineered. Both types of solids can be refinished numerous times.
On the other hand, Engineered planks should only be refinished once before being discarded. Both are durable enough to be used in high-traffic areas.
White, red, and oak are scratched and dented more easily than hickory.
Water Resistance & Staining
There is an issue with moisture and wetness with hickory and oak flooring. Moisture causes swelling and shrinking in both materials. To achieve a specific appearance, either one can be stained.
There is a problem with both types of flooring when it comes to UV radiation or photosensitivity. Unless the space is completely dark, any style of flooring can be affected by photosensitivity.
Each area should have its own quantity of light, and windows should be taken into account while deciding on a flooring option.
Designs, Variety, & Styles
The two types of flooring are available in a variety of styles and board lengths, allowing you to choose the aesthetic you want.
Absorption Of Warmth And Sound
The warmth of oak and hickory floors is felt by those who walk on them. Walking barefoot on it won’t hurt you in the least. In terms of absorbing sound, these two are excellent choices.
Appearance & Health Effects
Both types of flooring are stunning on their own merits. The grains of hickory are distinct and different. Protect yourself against hickory and oak dust by wearing a face mask and a respirator.
Added Value Of Home
Increased property value is a major advantage of hardwood floors. You may greatly boost the property’s value if you employ both hickory and oak. In addition to making your home more marketable, an oak and hickory floor can help you sell it.
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Differences Between Hickory Vs Oak Flooring
Although both hickory and oak are excellent choices, you should be aware of several important differences. In order to select which wood species is ideal for your home, consider how much traffic it receives, the type of décor you prefer, and even the required width of your floors. When comparing hickory vs. oak for your home, consider these and others in mind.
Sturdiness And Durability
The hardness of oak and hickory flooring is one of the most evident contrasts. Hickory clearly beats out both white and red oak when it comes to toughness.
Hardwoods like hickory are more resistant to dents and scratches caused by careless footfalls. A good solution for households where there is high activity and traffic.
A pet’s claws or a child’s hammering feet won’t damage hickory flooring. Since it is so durable, it’s ideal for use in places like lobbies, foyers, and living rooms that get immense foot traffic.
If you live in an area where intense activity isn’t common, a hard floor may not be necessary.
Oak and hickory are the two most popular wood blocks for flooring in homes. If you’re seeking a specific design or style, this may be the case. Although hickory is a rare wood, oak is more frequent.
Hickory is a popular choice for homeowners searching for a distinctive grain. It’s possible that the cost of hickory, which is more expensive than oak, has a role in its popularity.
Here, white oak has the advantage over hickory due to its hardness and reduced expansion. The toughest wood is hickory, yet it contracts and expands more than oak.
Hickory is less stable than white oak. In humid and changing climates, hickory should be considered artificial rather than natural, if possible.
When bonded to the sub-floor, engineered hickory has a far smaller tendency to shrink and expand. As a result of these features, white oak has been used for wine barrels for many years now.
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The price of hickory is higher than that of oak. There is a difference in cost between white oak and red oak. White oak is more brittle than red oak.
This may be due to the fact that different types of flooring have variable pricing. Hickory flooring costs between $3.2 and $7.5 per square foot, whereas oak flooring costs between $2.6 and $5.8 per square foot.
Because of blemishes, knots and costs can fluctuate widely as well. The average price per square foot for installation is between $3 and $4.
When evaluating the various types of wood, the cost is, of course, an essential factor to keep in mind. White and red are less expensive than hickory in general.
Board width, finishes, and method of installation all influence price. Consider that cost isn’t always the most crucial quality. The long-term value of a floor is usually always greater than the short-term savings of a less expensive floor.
Character And Grain
Hickory flooring might be a good option if you’re looking for something a little different. Like oak and hickory, planks offer a wide range of styles.
It’s doubtful that even multiple hickory boards in a whole house will be exactly alike. For better or for worse, hickory flooring might be described in this way based on who you ask.
In the end, it’s only a matter of personal preference. Hickory planks are typically referred to as “busy” because of the wood’s variable grain.
Many appear to be Jimi Hendrix songs that have been morphed into the wood, but that’s not necessarily a negative thing.
Hickory’s color can range from a light cream to a deep golden brown. Although it usually comes in lighter hues, it also takes stains well, so if you are fond of the grain but prefer a deeper shade, you’re in luck.
It’s a versatile material. The variety of hickory flooring is what, in our opinion, really makes it look so cool. To an extent, it seems as though each piece tells a unique story.
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Cleaning & Maintenance
In general, all engineered wood can be cleaned in the same way. In order to prolong the life of your wood floors, you should take precautions against water damage where you can use a broom to remove dirt, pet hair, and other debris.
However, oak and hickory aren’t really interchangeable in terms of upkeep. Oak is more prone to scratches and dents than hickory because of its lower Janka rating. Insects and heartwood deterioration are more likely to attack it.
We hope this detailed comparison guide on hickory vs oak flooring was helpful. Hickory, on the contrary, has a higher natural susceptibility to rot than oak.
When choosing a species of wood for your floors, think about how it will fare in your particular area and then make a decision based on that consideration. So, which one will you prefer for your new floors?
Jenny SteffensHobick is the full-time editor responsible for painting, flooring, bathrooms & home climate coverage at House Whirl. She is a home improvement expert with an eye for design and the skills to get the work done. She knows what turns a house into a home and has the advice and ideas to make upgrades easy and fun.