Most people assume that if they stray from the oak and maple that are most often used to make hardwood floors, they're going to pay an arm and a leg. While it's true that many unique, exotic woods come with a high price tag, there are also some affordable and unique hardwood flooring options. These woods tend to be reasonably priced because they're grown in North America in relative abundance.
Ash trees grow all over the United States, and thus, their wood tends to be quite affordable. It is know for its light color, though it can be stained darker if you prefer. It has a medium to coarse texture and is great for creating a more rustic-looking wood floor. Ash is incredibly tough (it has a hardness rating of 1,320 lb), so feel free to use it in an area that receives a lot of foot traffic.
Most of the ash sold in the United States is white ash. Black ash is also great for flooring, but comes with a higher price tag because it is harder to grow. One downfall of ash flooring is that it has a distinct odor that may take a few months to diminish.
Bitternut hickory trees grow primarily in the eastern United States, but they are pretty prevalent, so their wood is easy to find for sale across the country. It ranges from medium brown to pale yellow-brown in color. Some boards have multi-colored stripes, and these typically carry a higher price tag. Bitternut hickory has a hardness rating of 1,500 lb.
Though bitternut hickory stains well, it can be tough to work with because it splinters easily. If you choose this material for your flooring, be sure it is prepared by someone who is experienced working with bitternut hickory.
Also known as American cherry, this wood is relatively common and affordable in North America because it can be milled from retired fruit-bearing trees. It is not quite as hard as the other woods on this list -- it has a hardness rating of 950 lb -- so it's probably best reserved for rooms that get light to moderate use. Black cherry is a pinkish-tan in color. It has a smooth, even grain, but can be hard to stain unless gel-based stains are used.
Black cherry wood has a mild scent when it's being worked, but most people do not find this scent unpleasant. Its sawdust does cause allergy symptoms in some, so allergy sufferers should not be in the home when the floor is first being installed.
You don't have to choose between your budget and having a unique hardwood floor. Stick with cherry, ash, or bitternut hickory, and you'll be able to create a stunning floor without emptying your wallet.
For more information, contact Ambrose Randa Hardwoods or a similar company.