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Identifying Your Home's Hardwood Floor Type

Knowing the type of wood flooring in your Buffalo, NY home is crucial for proper maintenance and refinishing. By identifying your wood floor type, you can gain insights into your home's historical value, determine the best care routines, and ensure accurate matching during restoration projects.

Key Takeaways:

  • Visual inspection techniques, such as examining grain patterns and color, can help identify wood types.
  • Physical characteristics, like hardness and plank width, provide clues to the wood species.
  • Modern tools and expert consultations can aid in precise identification.
  • Proper identification ensures effective maintenance and refinishing of your hardwood floors.

Importance of Identifying Your Wood Floor

Understanding the type of wood used in your flooring offers several benefits. Firstly, it can provide insights into the era and style of your home, adding to its historical value. Secondly, different wood species require specific care routines to maintain their beauty and longevity. Lastly, accurate identification is essential for matching wood types during repairs and refinishing projects.

Visual Inspection Techniques

Grain Pattern

One of the most distinctive features of wood is its grain pattern. Straight grain, common in oak and maple, runs uniformly down the length of the board. Spiraled or interlocked grain, found in woods like mahogany and certain types of rosewood, creates a unique visual effect. Wavy or curly grain, often seen in birch or certain cuts of maple, adds a decorative element to the flooring.

Color and Shade

The natural color of the wood can also provide clues to its identity. Light woods, such as maple, pine, and ash, typically have a lighter hue. Medium-toned woods, like oak and hickory, offer a balanced and versatile look. Dark woods, including walnut and mahogany, bring a rich and luxurious feel to a space.

Physical Characteristics


The hardness of the wood is another important factor to consider. Softwoods, such as pine, cedar, and spruce, are less dense and can dent more easily. Hardwoods, like oak, maple, and cherry, resist dents and wear better over time. A simple thumbnail test can help determine the relative hardness of the wood.

Plank Width

The width of the floorboards can also indicate the age and type of wood used. Older floors often feature wider planks, suggesting the use of large, old-growth trees like heart pine or early oak. Narrower planks became more common as wood resources became scarcer and milling techniques advanced.

Additional Identification Methods

Finish Examination

Examining the finish on your wood floors can offer hints about the age and type of the wood. For example, shellac was widely used as a finish before the 1920s. If your floors have a shellac finish, it may indicate an older wood species.

Historical Records

Researching local archives or historical societies can uncover records detailing the materials used during your home's construction. These documents may provide valuable information about the specific wood types used in your flooring.

Expert Consultation

When in doubt, consulting with wood flooring professionals or antique restoration experts can lead to precise identification. These specialists have the knowledge and experience to recognize even the most obscure wood species.

Modern Tools and Techniques

Advancements in technology have made wood identification more accessible to homeowners. Mobile apps and devices can analyze grain patterns and colors to suggest possible wood types. Chemical tests, which cause various woods to react differently, can also provide clues to their identity.

Practical Tips for Homeowners

Once you have identified the type of wood in your flooring, you can take steps to maintain its beauty and longevity. Regular cleaning and maintenance, tailored to the specific needs of your wood type, will help preserve its appearance. When refinishing becomes necessary, understanding your wood species will guide you in selecting the most appropriate techniques and products.

For expert advice and services related to your hardwood floors, visit Floor it Hardwood Floors in Buffalo, NY. Their knowledgeable staff can assist you in identifying your wood type and provide guidance on maintenance and refinishing. Contact Floor it Hardwood Floors today to schedule a consultation and ensure the lasting beauty of your home's flooring.