There are so many hardwood flooring species that it would take a book to describe them all.  To narrow things down we’ll concentrate on domestic species in this article.  So what is the most popular type of hardwood flooring species?  It all depends on personal preference and budget , but here are a few of the most popular selling domestic hardwoods.


Oak is probably the most popular hardwood species in North America simply because of its ubiquity.  There are about 80 different species throughout North America, 10 of which grow in Canada – mainly in the east.  Because of its abundance, it’s also one of the cheaper hardwoods available.  Oak has a very prominent grain which helps hide scratches, imperfections and dust.  It also takes on stain very well which allows homeowners to change floor colour when refinishing.  The two most common types of oak used for flooring are red and white.  Red has a more noticeable grain and a slightly pinkish undertone, whereas white is typically darker coloured with a less noticeable grain while being slightly harder.  


Maple is a very popular hardwood flooring species in Canada, once again due to its ubiquity.  There are 10 species that grow in Canada and what’s known as the sugar maple is also used as a flooring material.  Maple is slightly harder than oak, but a lighter colour.  The grain is also lighter which gives it a more contemporary look compared to the traditional feel of oak.  Maple doesn’t take to staining as well as oak and has a tendency to yellow as it ages – especially in rooms that receive a lot of sunlight.  Maple is also generally more expensive than oak depending on the grade chosen.


There are four native ash species in Canada, also mainly growing in the east.  It’s colour can range from fairly light to dark brown depending on which part of the trunk it’s taken from.. It has a strong grain pattern that becomes even more prominent with dark staining.  It’s slightly harder than red oak, but not quite as hard as white oak.  Ash is generally more expensive than other domestic species – especially for higher grades.