Types of Reclaimed Wood Flooring: Which Wood Is Best to Use?

A photograph of parquet flooring with individual pieces laid in a herringbone pattern. The wood appears to be oak and has a beautiful grain pattern. The wood is a mid-brown color. Across the top of the photograph are the words "Types of Reclaimed Wood Flooring: Which Wood Is Best to Use?" in white letters. In the bottom center is a cartoon woman holding two squares, one in each hand as if making a choice.

Reclaimed wood has become a popular choice for homeowners and designers due to its rustic charm and eco-friendly appeal.

Besides looking unique, every reclaimed board is full of stories from its past life. However, with the different types of reclaimed wood flooring on the market, it can be challenging to know the best option.

Although reclaimed wood flooring is considered durable, the durability varies from species to species.

Moreover, reclaimed lumber has many different types of visual appeal and patina, which means you should easily be able to find reclaimed wood flooring that matches your particular aesthetic.

In this article, I’ll discuss the different types of reclaimed wood flooring. I’ll cover their characteristics, visual appeal, durability, and the best way or place to use each type.

From this discussion, you’ll be able to pick the right reclaimed wood flooring for your home. Let’s dive in!

1. Maple

A closeup of maple wood flooring. The wood is light-colored and has beautiful grain patterns.
Maple is perfect for giving a room a lighter feel, thanks to its lighter color.

Maple is a lighter wood with a more consistent and subtle grain. With a Janka hardness score of 1450, hardwood maple is highly durable and suitable for flooring.

The high Janka hardness rating means maple is denser and more resistant to scratches, dents, and everyday wear. This makes it an excellent choice for children’s playrooms and high-traffic areas such as hallways.

Maple will give your home an airy feel with its light colors, yet still provide the strength needed for busy rooms. Its smooth, tight-grain pattern provides a sleek look that works well in Scandinavian and minimalist-inspired interiors.

2. Oak

A closeup of oak floorboards with a prominent grain pattern.
Oak is super hard wearing and easy to stain whatever color you prefer.

Oak is a classic wood choice due to its timeless beauty and strength. With a Janka hardness score of 1360, this hardwood is highly durable and perfect for flooring.

Oak has an open grain that’s easier to stain than maple. Thus, it’s ideal for creating unique patterns and color combinations.

The darker, beige to brownish or grayish hues in white reclaimed oak give a home a classic feel, making it perfect for traditional and country-style interiors. Its high resistance to wear makes it an excellent option for busy rooms such as hallways and family rooms.

On the other hand, the creamy to amber-reddish tone in reclaimed red oak is often used to add warmth to a room. This makes it the perfect choice for rooms with contemporary and modern-style interiors.

3. Walnut

A closeup of walnut flooring. It is dark brown and has a wide, swirling grain.
Walnut is a premium wood and adds a touch of luxury to a home. Image courtesy of Natural Wood Floor Company Ltd.

Walnut is a highly-priced premium hardwood due to its beauty and excellent durability. It’s a common option for furniture and cabinetry.

However, the use of walnut lumber in furniture and cabinetry doesn’t mean it’s unsuitable for flooring.

Despite being one of the softer hardwoods, walnut has a Janka hardness rating of 1,010. While this rating is not as high as that of maple and oak, it’s still within the limit for use in flooring.

However, it’s worth noting that Walnut is highly susceptible to dents and scratches due to the lower Janka hardness rating. Consequently, reclaimed walnut flooring is unsuitable for high-traffic areas.

Walnut has a rich, dark color and swirling grain pattern, creating a luxurious, high-end appearance. Such an appearance is ideal for living areas and executive offices.

4. Hickory

An elegantly-decorated room with hickory flooring. The floorboards are light brown with darker brown planks interspersed. The grain has a swirling pattern and is quite eye-catching.
Hickory is very hard-wearing and has a beautiful swirling grain pattern. Image courtesy of LL Flooring, Inc.

This is the true definition of hardy reclaimed wood.

With a Janka hardness rating of 1820, Hickory is almost twice as hard as some of the other types of reclaimed wood flooring.

Besides being highly durable, hickory has excellent water resistance and requires minimal maintenance.

What’s more, hickory is lighter with swirling and rustic grain patterns that create a unique, eye-catching appearance. It gives a room an industrial or rustic feel, making it the perfect reclaimed wood flooring option for a man cave or workshop.

Hickory is also ideal for rustic cabins and countryside homes.

5. Chestnut

A closeup of a chestnut wooden floor. The wood is a deep brown color and has a very prominent grain.
Chestnut wood flooring is durable and very rot-resistant. It’s great for traditional rooms.

Lumber from the American chestnut tree is popular for flooring because it’s highly durable, straight, and rot-resistant.

Although it has a lower Janka hardness rating of 540, chestnut is still suitable for flooring due to its high rot resistance.

The wood is dark reddish-brown with lighter brown and grayish streaks that can instantly warm any room.

The distinct swirls, burls, and knots add character to the wood, making it ideal for creating unique designs.

The rustic chestnut appeal makes it a great choice for traditional and cottage-style interiors.

6. Hemlock

A closeup of reclaimed hemlock wood flooring. The planks are various shades of brown from dark to light. There are very prominent knots in the planks and an open grain pattern.
Hemlock is very moisture-resistant, so works well in bathrooms. Image courtesy of CENTURY WOOD PRODUCTS.

The hemlock tree produces wood with a lot of texture.

Although it ranks lower on the Janka hardness scale, hemlock wood holds up incredibly well.

Reclaimed hemlock flooring has a rustic appeal, perfect for classic-style interiors.

The warmth of hemlock’s light-brown color gives a unique look that can transform any room into a cozy atmosphere.

It’s worth mentioning that hemlock trees grow in damp areas; thus, their wood has excellent stability and high moisture resistance. Consequently, the wood is suitable for rooms with high humidity, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

7. Heart Pine

A closeup of heart pine flooring with close grain and an orange-brown color.
Heart pine is ideal for traditional and rustic interiors.

Heart pine is the heartwood of pine trees.

Genuine heart pine was derived from the slow-growing longleaf pine.

Heart pine has a prominent grain structure that makes it highly durable.

With a Janka hardness rating of 1225, heart pine is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.

Wood from heart pine has a unique blend of brown and red hues, making it perfect for modern interiors.

Heart pine’s distinctive grain patterns give any room an eye-catching yet luxurious look.

Reclaimed heart pine flooring is also ideal for traditional and rustic interiors that need a timeless classic look.

8. Yellow Pine

A closeup of yellow pine flooring. The grain is a regular pattern and the color of the wood is a yellowish-brown.
Yellow pine is relatively soft and less suited to high-traffic areas.

Contrary to popular belief, the Southern yellow pine tree is durable, hard, and requires low maintenance.

Although it has a low Janka hardness rating of 690, reclaimed yellow pine is still suitable for flooring, thanks to its low maintenance requirements.

Yellow pine usually has a light-yellowish color with reddish streaks that add character to any room.

It has subtle grain patterns interspersed with prominent knots — perfect for modern interiors or traditional homes.

A point to note is that reclaimed yellow pine is only suitable for low to moderate-traffic areas like bedrooms and study rooms.

9. Reclaimed Barnwood

Reclaimed barnwood flooring. The individual planks are quite rough-looking and are a relatively dark brown.
Reclaimed barnwood is full of character and has a rough, uneven appearance.

Reclaimed barnwood flooring is a popular choice for rustic and farmhouse-style homes. It’s also great for outdoor areas because of its water resistance and durability.

The wood is made from old-growth lumber used in barns and industrial buildings. Therefore, it’s incredibly durable and suitable for flooring.

Reclaimed barnwood has a unique blend of brown tones, some with traces of red or orange streaks. The wood features a unique texture due to its weathered, aged look with prominent knots and nail holes.

The wood has a high Janka hardness rating, meaning it’s highly durable and can last decades.

10. Douglas Fir

A closeup of reclaimed Douglas fir wood flooring. The grain has quite varied patterns and the wood is light brown in color.
Douglas fir is ideal for any type of interior and can be used with confidence in bathrooms thanks to its moisture resistance. Image courtesy of The Main Company (York) Ltd.

Like all conifers, Douglas fir is a softwood.

Besides being a softwood, Douglas fir has strong fibers that make it durable and highly resistant to physical impacts. This explains why Douglas fir lumber is popular in heavy-duty reclaimed wood flooring.

The light brown and reddish/yellowish color with darker growth rings of Douglas fir produces a unique appeal.

Due to its straight and slightly wavy grain patterns, Douglas fir is perfect for modern, traditional, and rustic interiors.

Finally, since Douglas fir is a refractory species, it resists wetting and can withstand decay for longer. Consequently, it’s suitable for areas with high moisture levels, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

11. Teak

A closeup of teak wood flooring. It is a rich, mid-brown color and has regular grain patterns.
Reclaimed teak flooring has a tight grain pattern and can be used in areas where moisture levels are very high. Teak used to be used in boat building, which indicates its ability to withstand water.

Reclaimed teak wood has the following characteristics that make it ideal for flooring:

  • High oil content
  • High tensile strength
  • Very tight grain

Coupled with the fact that teak is a close-grained hardwood species, teak flooring is one of the most durable and reliable types of reclaimed wood flooring.

Teak’s warm dark-brown color looks excellent in tropical and Asian-inspired homes.

It is elegant and adds character to any room due to its distinctive grain patterns and knots.

Reclaimed teak is also suitable for areas with high humidity because of its excellent water resistance. This explains why teak was the preferred choice for boat-building centuries ago! As a result, you can rest assured that reclaimed teak will keep your floor looking its best for decades.

12. Ash (Fraxinus)

A contemporary kitchen with ash flooring and blue cabinets. The wood flooring is light grayish-brown and has a straight grain pattern.
Ash is a durable species of wood, making it well-suited to flooring duties. Image courtesy of Ben Sutton (Timber) Ltd t/a Sutton Timber.

Ash is a dense hardwood tree species, making it one of the best types of reclaimed wood flooring.

It has a unique light grayish-brown tone, subtle grain patterns, and occasional knots that contribute to an interesting appeal.

Fraxinus wood has a Janka hardness rating of 1320, making it highly durable and resistant to wear and tear. Consequently, it’s ideal for high-traffic areas that require hardwood flooring.

The straight grain pattern of ash wood is perfect for contemporary homes and offices.

In addition, ash wood has low shrinkage and warping, reducing the need for regular maintenance.

Overall, Fraxinus reclaimed wood flooring is an excellent choice for those looking for a durable and long-lasting flooring solution.

13. Cherry

A bedroom with reclaimed cherry hardwood flooring. The light brown wood has pink-red shades and a straight grain pattern. There is a wrought iron bed with pink bed sheets.
Cherry has lovely pink-red shades in its light brown timbers. Image courtesy of Gaylord Flooring.

Cherry is a hardwood with light-brown pink to reddish-brown color. It features a tight, straight-grain pattern with a traditional, elegant look.

Cherry wood has a high Janka hardness rating of 950 and is highly resistant to wear and tear. Thus, it’s an excellent choice for traditional, contemporary, and rustic homes.

The wood’s beautiful color adds warmth to any room, making it the perfect focal point for home décor.

Moreover, cherry wood is resistant to water and humidity. Therefore, it’s an excellent option for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

In summary, Cherry reclaimed wood flooring provides the perfect combination of elegance and classic appeal with durability. It’s the perfect choice for homeowners looking to add style with practicality.

14. Cedar

Reclaimed cedar wood flooring partway through installation. The individual floorboards are a range of shades of brown, from very light to very dark.
The wood for this cedar floor was reclaimed for free from Facebook, aluminum joinery shops, and factories. Image courtesy of u/patio6 on Reddit.

Cedar makes one of the best types of rot-resistant reclaimed wood flooring. By its very nature, cedar is a low-bending tree highly resistant to shock loads.

The wood can also withstand insects, rot, and warping.

Cedar wood is pinkish-red with some purple tones. It features fine grain patterns with occasional knots.

Moreover, it’s naturally resistant to water infiltration, making it suitable for wet environments or areas with high humidity.

It’s worth noting that reclaimed cedarwood is unsuitable for high-traffic places due to its low Janka hardness rating.

Cedarwood is prone to wear and tear in areas with high traffic. Eventually, excessive wear and tear lowers the wood’s durability.

From the above explanation, reclaimed cedarwood is ideal for low-traffic areas like bedrooms and living rooms. It’s a great choice if you want to add a rustic, traditional touch to your home.

15. Mahogany

A large hallway with a polished mahogany floor. The room has white walls, a dark wood door, and house plants in the corners. The flooring is dark brown with strong grain patterns.
Mahogany is very durable and great for high-traffic places like hallways. Image courtesy of Synergy Infotech.

Mahogany makes an excellent type of reclaimed wood flooring. The tree is known for its high durability and hardness – the key features for flooring.

Wood from mahogany has deep, rustic, and warm aesthetics. The wood has a strong, straight grain pattern free of gaps and fewer knots.

Its dark red to pink color is perfect for traditional, rustic, and Asian-inspired homes.

Mahogany has a Janka hardness rating of 800, making it fairly resistant to wear and tear.

It’s worth mentioning that mahogany doesn’t have pockets or grooves. Therefore, it’s highly resistant to moisture and scratches. As a result, you can use reclaimed mahogany flooring in places with high humidity levels.

Expert Advice for Buying Reclaimed Wood Flooring

An essential point when buying reclaimed wood flooring is to ensure it’s free of nails, screws, and other fasteners. You must also check to ascertain it doesn’t contain pests like termites.

For indoor air quality, ensure the flooring is not finished with off-gassing elements like formaldehyde. As a carcinogen, formaldehyde exposes your family to cancer risk.

Finally, always buy from a reliable supplier to guarantee the wood is toxins-free.

So, Which Wood Is Best to Use?

Each type of reclaimed wood flooring above has unique characteristics that make it suitable for specific applications.

An excellent way to decide the best type of reclaimed wood flooring is by considering where you want to use it and what you aim to achieve.

For instance, while hickory is suitable for high-traffic places like hallways, cherry wood is ideal for wet places like bathrooms and kitchens.

Once you know the application, you can choose an option that meets those needs from the above types of reclaimed wood flooring.

If you want to finish your reclaimed wood flooring, make sure to choose a non-toxic wood finish. Check out these 10 benefits of choosing non-toxic wood finishes.

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