Will I regret cherry flooring? Seeking opinions on flooring choic

tinycastlesJanuary 7, 2011

I am torn and cannot make a decision regarding flooring. Opinions or comments would be greatly appreciated. Here is what I have it narrowed down to:

1)Local custom pre-finished 'Rustic or character' Cherry or character Walnut. (yes, I know it will have knots and imperfections.) 5" wide plank. NOTE: Whichever I choose would be stained dark brown with no hint of red.

2)Factory pre-finished Maple, 4"wide plank, with a "hand-scraped" look. Also a dark brown.

I have concerns with the cherry or walnut darkening, as I know this happens when left with a natural finish. Can this still happen even when it is stained dark? For example, will it look different in spots with more UV exposure? Will a factory pre-finish stand up to more wear and tear? FWIW, local mill would be cheaper. Front Doors are Knotty Alder, and all interior doors are K. Alder. Trim will be K. Alder or Rustic Cherry, depending on flooring decision.

Thanks in advance

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I have found out that dark floors are a pain in the butt to keep clean. My tile is dirt colored and doesn't show anything even when they're filthy. The upstairs floors are dirt colored and you can't tell when they need cleaning. The downstairs floors can be vacuumed and mopped and 3 minutes later look like they need it again. My wool rug isn't helping any--it sheds like crazy and makes my hard floor look like it's growing hair. LOL

If I had it to do over, I would do a more medium color that hides dirt and fuzz better.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Walnut and North American cherry are softer woods so they will scratch more easily than the maple would. Would the cherry be North American or Brazilian as the Brazilian is really hard and perhaps a better choice than the American cherry?

We had a darker stained handscraped maple in our last home and decided to go with the handscraped maple again but in a lighter medium stain this time.

The dark stain is beautiful but as posted above is a lot of maintenance and shows damage and scratches more easily.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 2:10PM
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Hi all-
Sorry, should have specified- domestic Cherry. And I have heard the warnings about dark floors...The finish I desire is not the darkest color offered, but definitely darker than a medium tone. Maybe Medium/Dark would be a better description. We are having cream cabinetry in kitchen and wood flooring on much of the first floor including the kitchen (excluding powder room, mud room, laundry, and study). Having a darker floor to balance out the light cabinetry is the only way my husband would agree to a cream kitchen.

So far sounds like Maple is a better choice. We had 5" hickory at our last home, but it would be out of the question in this house since we have to purchase approximately 1500 sq. Ft.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Just my 2 cents. The wider the better; the darker the better. Jacobean is nice. I can't tell much difference in the different woods.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 8:51PM
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If you regret anything, it will be using a the factory pre-finished boards. Site finished looks way more natural and beautiful. The seams are nearly invisible. Factory finished solid wood loses the character of solid wood. It looks just like a plastic laminate. Site finished flooring is easy to repair scratches, factory finished is impossible to repair without doing a total sand down and refinish. Then you are back to having a site-finished floor. You just spent the extra money on an unattractive finish that has to be removed to get back to the real wood. And why are you buying solid wood flooring in the first place? The point of solid wood is that you can sand it down and refinish it to its original natural beauty.

If you want pre-finished floors, get a quality veneered or laminate product. If you want the ability to sand and refinish, just go with bare wood from the start.

Cherry, Walnut, and Maple all make beautiful floors. They are beautiful woods. Hard maple will be the most durable.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 3:28PM
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We installed site-finished 5" walnut from a local sawmill in our dining room about 3 years ago. We just finished it with 5 coats of satin poly, no stain. It's a beautiful golden brown, and I thought it would darken over time but it really hasn't. Cherry's the one that really darkens.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Do a search on 'janka rating' for wood hardness.

American Black Cherry is NOT a very 'hard' wood.

Hardwood and softwood refer to deciduous (hardwoods) and non-deciduous (softwoods), not the actual physical characteristics of the wood.

Balsa wood is a hardwood (and very easily dented) while Douglass Fir is a softwood (and pretty tough stuff).

You can dent a black cherry table by writing on a piece of paper directly on the wood with a ball point pen.

If you are going for a very dark finish a physically harder wood (like oak) is liable to look about the same and not dent nearly as easily.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 4:45PM
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I have torn out 50 year old Walnut paneling to find that it had actually lightened over time. Maybe this is the stain pigment bleaching out from UV exposure.

Cherry darkens over time. Particularly the heartwood. It actually turns more red.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 5:52PM
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We are staining our floor a dark brown (with NO red tones!) so we just went with 5" white oak planks. White oak is very tough, and takes stain beautifully. Plus...it is probably cheaper than cherry.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:51AM
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we have domestic walnut, 4" planks finished with waterlox. i'm getting pretty used to seeing people's faces drop when they have a look for the first time. it is the most gorgeous flooring i've ever seen. i love it so much i carried it throughout the house, even into the master bath.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 5:33PM
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Site-finished is the way to go.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 8:18PM
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KatesKouros, I LOVE your domestic walnut floors with the color variation and some light boards! I love how much light your rooms get. I love my Brazilian Cherry floors when the light is out and the blinds are open but when it is darker out, my rooms do not get enough light. One day I want a home with a lot more windows. :)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 10:40AM
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KatesKouros - how old is your walnut floor and how well as it held up? Any regrets?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:32AM
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