If you’re deciding on which species to select for your new wide plank floors, perhaps you’re pitting two species against each other. Two species that we often see compared to each other are birch and maple. This is because at first glance, many people assume that birch and maple are one and the same since they have a similar appearance.
However, there are some distinguishing differences between them. For example, the grain structure of birch is slightly looser than that of maple. Also, a birch floor usually appears a bit darker in color compared to its maple counterpart.
The Appeal of Maple Floors
Maple – Maple is hard, durable, and frequently used as baseball bat material, which gives you a
sense of how tough it is. Sports floors like basketball courts are also exclusively made of maple because of its durability! Maple has a more sleek, “clean” appearance than birch due to the subtle grain structure, which makes it more appealing to buyers who are looking for a sleek and modern look. It has a simple, straight grain pattern and ranges from a light, creamy color to gold or brown hues in the heartwood. One downside is that maple will typically yellow slightly over time with exposure to sunlight. Depending on the type of maple you have, this species ranges from 1400 – 1500 on the Janka hardness scale, making it hard and durable. Maple flooring typically demands slightly higher prices than birch.
The Unique Characteristics of Birch Floors
Birch – The main difference between these species is that birch is not as hard and durable as maple. There are different species of birch, with the most common birch variety used for flooring coming in at a Janka hardness rating of 1260, which is slightly below average. However, those who favor birch over maple may do so typically because birch has a unique, wavy grain pattern. Flame birch, also known as curly birch, is a very rare variety of the species which has a very unique, especially curly graining pattern. The color of a birch floor ranges from yellow or white to a light, reddish brown but darkens over time. The Janka hardness rating for maple is above average, making it a better option for higher traffic areas since it’s a bit more durable than birch.
Maintaining Your Wide Plank Floors
Either way, with a high-quality finish your wide plank floors should be able to stand up to a bit of a beating as long as you keep up with the maintenance. Click here to read our wood floor maintenance tips.
As you can see, these are both beautiful floors. With our custom-milled wide plank floors, you can’t go wrong with either one. Contact us today at 877-697-5265 to discuss the needs of your next project.