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If you’re installing hardwood flooring within your home, one of the first choices you will make is what kind of wood to use. With so many types to choose from, how does one ever make the decision?

Sometimes it’s best to choose a more general style, and let an expert guide you in your final decision. Lumber is generally divided into two categories, domestic or exotic, depending on whether the trees were grown in the United States or shipped here from outside countries. Read on to learn about some of the general characteristics of each type, as well as to discover some of the most popular species of each used in hardwood flooring projects.

Domestic Wood
Domestic woods are quite common in American homes, with some wood species being among the most sought after for hardwood flooring throughout the world. Domestic woods tend to be lighter in color, and are perhaps loved the most due to their ease of use to work with, as well as their overall consistency. Lumber from domestic wood tends to be more uniform in appearance, with straight lines and few flaws apparent across boards. These types of woods also absorb color quite easily, so they can often be stained or treated to reach any desired color. Because of their local availability, domestic woods are also popular due to their lower costs.

Popular domestic species used in hardwood flooring include:

  • Red Oak
  • White Oak
  • Maple
  • American Cherry
  • Walnut
  • Birch

Exotic Wood
There is a recent growing trend in the use of exotic woods for flooring, as exotic woods tend to provide more of a unique appearance and atmosphere, and look gorgeous in nearly all rooms and settings. Exotic wood species tend to be darker in color, and have more color variations between individual boards, and even within individual boards themselves. Some types can be found with quite unusual grain patterns, and many homeowners find that these boards give their homes a very one-of-a-kind style and personality. While exotic woods do tend to be more expensive, they are usually harder and last longer due to their resistance to damage and wear.

Popular exotic species used in hardwood flooring include:

  • Tigerwood
  • Brazilian Cherry
  • Kempas
  • Amendoim
  • Merbau
  • Bamboo

At Shell Lumber & Hardware, we have a beautiful and extensive collection of local domestic lumber and exotic lumber from all around the world. If you are unsure of what exactly you are looking for or what would be best suited for your particular home, our lumber department staff is eager to help and has you covered. We will cut your wood to the exact dimensions that you need, and we even provide precision cut services in our on-site mill shop. Regardless of your home improvement needs, Shell can set you on the right path and really get your project going, so please feel free to visit us in Miami or call us at (305) 856-6401. We ship anywhere within the state of Florida, and would be happy to make special orders if we do not carry the type of wood that you are looking for or if we are currently out of stock.


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