Talking about exotic wood reminds me of steamy, overgrown rainforests and secluded, hard-to-reach areas in the jungles of Africa. But in reality, the term “exotic wood” just refers to any lumber that is grown and harvested outside of the United States.
Beautiful exotic hardwood floors are growing more and more popular by the day as the modern lumber industry has streamlined process of obtaining the once difficult to source lumber. Exotic hardwoods make attractive and durable floors and their unique coloring can spice up any room or interior design.
Do you know what to look for when picking out your next exotic hardwood floor? These three tips will make sure you get the right exotic wood floors for your needs.
Color Change in Exotic Wood
One of the most common concerns consumers have when it comes to exotic hardwood flooring is that the vast majority of species will change color over time. Domestic hardwoods like oak, may never change in color, but popular exotic woods like Brazilian Cherry can darken very rapidly and dramatically. But why?
There are two main reasons why most (not all) exotic hardwood floors experience more color change than domestic hardwoods. Each species of wood reacts differently when exposed to light. Just like when we get a tan at the beach, the same effect happens to wood! Even each plank of wood can age and color differently compared to the rest of planks in the same floor.
The second reason that color change in exotic wood is more noticeable comes down to the finish. If your wood is finished with oil, it can take on a darker, more amber hue over time when compared to water-based finishes that remain clear.
If you want to preserve the original color of your wood, make sure to limit light exposure by keeping your blinds or curtains closed during the brightest parts of the day and look for hardwoods that are finished with “UV blockers” and non-yellowing coatings.
Exotic Wood Flooring Hardness
Did you know that most domestic hardwood floors are actually softer than their exotic counterparts? Wood flooring is grading using a scale called the Janka hardness test. This test measures the resistance of wood to both denting and wear. The species of wood chosen determines the overall hardness rating and other factors, like the topcoat or finish, don’t make a substantial difference in the overall rating.
Most domestic hardwoods rank in the low to medium range in hardness. White Oak is a common domestic flooring and it rates at 1360 on the Janka scale, while the most common exotic hardwood, Brazilian Cherry, rates at 2350. More uncommon flooring such as Patagonian Rosewood rates at a whopping 3840 on the scale.
But remember that hardness is just one of many deciding factors available to choose from when deciding which hardwood floor is best for you. In today’s modern flooring industry, both exotic and domestic floors are built to last a lifetime (and then some).
Availability of Exotic Wood
Exotic hardwood floors are available for sale across the U.S. and for t he most common varieties, there is rarely a shortage. In the past, however, some exotic hardwoods were harvested with less-than-ethical practices. Some species were harvested from protected areas and reserves while others were stolen from land owners without their authorization.
That’s why the U.S. has extended the Lacey Act, the regulatory law that guided lumber practices in the U.S., to also govern wood that is harvested from overseas. This law ensures that all lumber products coming into the country provide proof of provenance, including the country of harvest and the the species of all wood contained in the product.
Now you can rest assured that your new exotic hardwood floor will be ethically and sustainable harvested.
Interested in exotic wood and hardwood flooring? Builders Surplus in Louisville and Newport/Cincinnati has all of your favorites including Acacia Pacific Walnut, Bamboo Sterling, and more. Come by today and see the amazing color, texture, and hardness of exotic wood flooring today!