Wood like oak and maple, what we call American traditionals, continue to attract customers, partly because of that traditional look and partly because they were always thought of as amongst the most economical. Traditionals also include ash, beech, cherry, hickory and walnut.
Currently the popular exotics include Brazilian Cherry, Australian cypress, birdseye maple, rosewood from Bolivia or Thailand, teak, merbau, purple heart and mahogany. More and more exotic species are on their way.
Most major brand wood flooring manufacturers offer dozen of options including different grades of the same wood – from select to rustic –wider widths, different cutting techniques to expose grain in different ways and a variety of thicknesses. Your flooring retailer will be happy to explain all the different choices and functionalities of each.
For example, in general you will find solid wood is sold in a variety of thicknesses like ¾ and 3/8 inch in strips or multi-strip planks which are nailed to a wood or plywood subfloor. Multi-strip planks are precision-cut and joined together in a fashion similar to engineered and laminate planks to speed installation. Some 3/8 –inch can be installed over concrete using adhesives. (Some solid wood flooring usually exotics, can be found in half inch thicknesses.)
Wood is graded from select to rustic with select having the most uniform color and the clearest grain. Natural will have some variation in color and occasionally very small knots. With rustic grades, color varies considerably and the flooring will have larger more frequent knots.