Oak Vs Maple & Hickory Flooring

Oak Maple and Hickory are three of the most common types of flooring when it comes to solid or engineered hardwood. And it is no surprise, each of these woods has its own unique characteristics that draws homeowners to it. But which one is best for your home? Check out this guide to help you make an informed decision you will be happy with both now and for as long as you own your home.

Similarities of Oak Maple & Hickory Flooring

There are many similarities between these flooring materials including

  • Can be available in solid and engineered flooring
  • Must be sealed on a regular basis to prevent moisture penetration & staining
  • Can be refinished (solid flooring multiple times & engineered flooring at least once)
  • Can be available in various width boards and styles to give you the look you desire.

Differences between Oak Maple & Hickory Flooring

Although there are many similarities between these types of flooring there are differences as well. Here are a few distinguishing qualities that make these wood stand apart in appearance, durability and price.


Oak, Hickory and Maple all different in style and beauty

  • Oak: Red oak is America’s #1 hardwood flooring choice. It has medium to heaving graining with some color variation. The rosy undertones differentiate it from white oak which has more of a golden brown to slightly grey undertones. White oak’s hard grain take stain evenly which helps limit color blotchiness when staining
  • Hickory: Hickory graining is the most varied and distinct when it comes to appearance. It can often either attract buyers or turn them off. The hues in a particular piece of flooring can range from quite light to rich golden brown. Hickory flooring is popular in wider plans that allow you to view the full complexity of the graining.
  • Maple: Maple flooring is lighter and creamier in color although some grades may contain mineral streaks ranging from medium brown to almost black. These grain lines can also vary from quite straight to wavy or even curly.


Hardwood flooring is already far more durable than carpet, vinyl or linoleum but how do they compare to each other. You can rate each material on the Janka Hardness Test which determines the resistance of wood species to denting and wear – the higher the number the tougher the wood.

  • Hickory: Hickory is the hardest of woods scoring 1820 on the Janka Hardness Test. Hickory resists dings and scratches but will expand and contract slightly more than other material. If you live somewhere where high humidity and changes in temperature are common it makes sense to use engineered hickory rather than solid as the subflooring attaches to engineered hardwood reduces expanding and contracting.
  • Oak: Oak is the least hard but the most stable scoring 1360 for white oak and 1290 for red oak. Oak doesn’t expand and contract as readily with changes in temperature and moisture like hickory. This makes it very durable.
  • Maple: Maple flooring is made up of several different species including hard maple and sugar maple and has a 1450 rating on the Janka Test making it very resistant to wear. Although other types of maple flooring are softer and should be avoided as they are susceptible to dings and scratches.


Each type of flooring range in prices with Hickory Flooring being the most expensive Maple in the middle and Oak flooring being the least expensive. But it’s important to keep in mind that each type of flooring is available in several grades which account for the wide spectrum of hardwood flooring costs.

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