Planning to install hickory flooring on your home? Before making your decision, there are some things that you need to know beforehand. In this guide, you will learn about the pros and cons of hickory flooring, along with some installation tips to make the task more convenient.
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What is hickory flooring?
Hickory is one of the most renowned hardwood species in the construction industry. In fact, it is widely used across the US for house floorings and even furniture pieces. As a solid hardwood, hickory is known for its durability and long-lasting features.
On top of that, hickory wood features a series of amazing characteristics that attract both architects and homeowners. These include beautiful, intricate wood grains with mineral streaks. Moreover, hickory planks differ accordingly, depending on the depth of the materials incorporated into the boards.
The most durable option is none other than solid hickory flooring. Meanwhile, there’s the engineered hardwood, which is a great alternative if you’re out of budget. The laminate hickory floor, on the other hand, is a trendy flooring type that makes use of synthetic materials and natural hickory grain.
It is also important to note that hickory trees vary in size, though this does not affect the durability of the flooring. There are also several color variations offered that add up to their popularity.
But of course, these aren’t just the elements that you need to consider when choosing the appropriate flooring for your home. There are things that should be factored in, including the price of the materials as well as the labor of the professional installers.
What are the pros and cons of hickory flooring?
To help you out, we’ve created a list of the advantages and disadvantages of using hickory flooring. So, go through each of the key areas thoroughly and make your assessment wisely.
Let’s start with the strengths offered by hickory flooring and see if these aspects fit well with your needs at the moment.
- It is very durable.
The first advantage would be the durability of the material. Hickory is recognized for its strong properties that make it resistant to damage. Unlike other wood species that may easily be damaged due to scratches, hickory is very sturdy. Hence, it’s a nice pick if you have pets.
Moreover, it can effectively resist impact and even marring. So, if you’re looking for something that would not easily get damaged because of things getting dropped on the floor, this is a remarkable choice.
- It comes with incredible resistance to water.
Another noteworthy characteristic of hickory is that it is resistant to water. Hence, it can withstand moisture accumulation and humidity compared to other wood species. To increase the wood’s resistance to water, professionals suggest that you wax the surface.
- It does not get stains easily.
The unique features of hickory lead to better resistance to unwanted stains. It does not easily leave pigments, perhaps from a broken cup of coffee or watercolor paint. But do take note that the resistance to stain is the result of a proper finish.
You might be wondering what is this all about. Well, it should be noted that hickory is actually good when retaining dye because of its physical features. Hickory is generally light in hue. Hence, many modify the color to their liking and stain them accordingly.
However, staining a hickory wood is not as easy as 123. So, you should hire an expert to help you out. If you opt to work on your own, make sure that the wood is water-popped. The main reason for this method is to ensure the stain fully takes a grip with the fiber of the wood.
- It lasts for years.
Because of the strong properties of hickory, you can expect that the wood would last for your years. With proper maintenance, it may even hold up for decades or more. Thus, you should clean the wood surface regularly to avoid the accumulation of dirt and dust.
Vacuuming is one of the best ways to keep the wood intact and beautiful. In addition, experts advise that you refinish the floor every 5 years to ensure its functionality and sophistication.
- It is gorgeous wood flooring.
Lastly, hickory is such a great accent in a dark room. Its bright features easily liven up the ambiance, making it a great option if you want to vivify a certain area in the household. More so, if you have murkier furniture, the light grain of the wood perfectly complements the vibes.
Also, we’ve mentioned earlier that waxing makes the wood more durable. But did you know that waxing the hickory hardwood flooring also adds character to the surface? It alters the lighter hue of the grain into a softer aesthetics with a warm glow.
Thus, hickory is commonly installed in bedrooms and living areas where there is a great possibility of exposure to natural light.
- It can be used for solid tools and equipment.
The sturdy properties of hickory are also the reason why this type of wood is extensively used for various resources. Often than not, these are the wood species utilized for hammer and ax handles as well as wooden pieces like drumsticks and walking sticks.
Apart from the materials above, hickory is widely acknowledged in many sports equipment such as paddles, bows, lacrosse sticks, shafts, and more.
The wood itself is a classic element when curing and smoking barbecue in the Southern States. Many love the aftereffect of using hickory as it creates a regular burn with an aromatic smell and delicious flavor. Therefore, hickory is not just meant for the flooring of your house or condo. It is used in many aspects.
For the next part, we’ll cover the disadvantages of this particular wood species. Make sure you take your time comprehending these areas because these cons are as important as the pros.
- It is not waterproof.
While we’ve mentioned that hickory wood floors are resistant to water, it does not equate to a waterproof material. You should understand that being resistant and impenetrable to water is not the same. And unfortunately, hickory hardwoods take up the former.
This means that if there is constant exposure to excessive water, then it may damage the wood surface. Warping, for one, is one of the negative effects of water buildup. Therefore, it’s suggested not to install hickory hardwood floors on showers, bathrooms, or home gyms.
- It may be pricier.
Compared to common wood species, hickory is something that you need to contemplate carefully in terms of budget. Although it’s not as expensive as walnut and ebony, it could hurt your finances, especially if you opt for pre-finished wood. A pre-finished hickory wood flooring is definitely way more expensive.
So, it’s best to evaluate your options and try to find cheaper options rather than forcing your budget out of the way. Likewise, there may be other alternatives more suited for your project. All you have to do is do your research before committing yourself to pricey flooring.
- It needs the expertise of a professional installer.
Hickory is also one of the few types of hardwood that should be handled by an expert. DIY installations are a no-no, considering the density and durability of the wood. It often requires a set of tools and equipment to seamlessly cut and sand the boards.
And since hickory is widely stained to achieve a more gorgeous look, this means an additional task for you. On top of that, you will need extra materials to complete the project like wood stain, wood conditioner, stain applicator, and more.
On the bright side, you can still work on the installation all by yourself if you purchased pre-engineered or pre-finished wood. This type is more manageable as the planks are already cut and stained. But of course, the convenience comes with a pricier cost.
- Its light features may limit your designs.
The vibrant grain pattern of hickory is truly its asset. However, it could also be its kryptonite. The light ambiance of the wood does not complement well with a rustic home interior. And of course, this hardwood floor option might not suit everyone’s taste.
- It may not be the best choice for areas with a lot of foot traffic.
Because of the lighter shade, installing hickory flooring on a section with high traffic may be a bad idea. Over time, scuff marks impact the surface. And unfortunately, these will be very visible with hickory flooring.
What are other remarkable flooring options aside from hickory?
If you want to expand your options, don’t worry because there are plenty of superior wood species in the market. These include oak, maple, pine, mahogany, and teak, among others. White oak, in particular, is probably the most in-demand wood floor option due to its availability, sturdiness, and aesthetics.
More so, oak flooring is known to resist minimal water. Plus, it’s a type of hardwood flooring that would still be beautiful even after many years. If you want wood species that excel in terms of durability, maple, and teak are the most reliable choices.
Deciding whether hickory wood is the best for your flooring takes a lot of time. So, evaluate the pros and cons thoroughly before you make your decision. But just like any wood flooring type, it all depends on your needs.