Maple flooring is one of the most gorgeous and popular of all wood floor types. Maple is a classic choice that is ideal for many reasons. But, there are some characteristics of maple to take into consideration before you commit to it. Read on to find out more…
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A Little History about Maple
When you think of maple, chances are you think of maple syrup and rightly so. Maple syrup is derived from maple trees. Maple trees are native to North America and have been for centuries. The sugary sap that maple syrup is made from was harvested by early Americans for a sweet treat and for a means of bartering for their other wants and needs.
The history of maple trees actually dates back even further – to at least 1663 when Robert Boyle, an American pioneer chemist wrote to friends and family in Europe telling then about the “new world tree”.
Since its discovery, the maple tree has also been providing wood for furniture, construction of homes, and even flooring. It has a world of benefits and a few drawbacks to.
Two Types of Maple Materials
When you are considering maple flooring, it’s imperative to know that there are two basic types, hard and soft. It is also important to note that technically, both are used for building but only one is a source for flooring.
- Hard Maple: Sugar maple and black maple make up the hard maple group. These maple trees make excellent, super hard wood flooring options. Plus, they make great maple syrup too.
- Soft Maple: Soft maple trees consist of silver maple, boxelder, bigleaf maple, and red maple. They are not as hard as hard maple trees and for that reason, are not used for hardwood floors. They do, however, make beautiful crates, pallets, and furniture.
The Many Benefits of Maple Flooring
If you are considering maple as your choice in wood flooring, it’s wise to fully research what maple flooring entails – the good, the bad, and the gorgeous.
- Aesthetics: Maple is known for being a beautiful source for wood flooring. It is best suited for large, contemporary areas where continuity is important because it tends to have a very consistent pattern due to its subtle grain.
- Durability: Maple is a hard wood. It is even harder than oak. Do remember that strength doesn’t always mean stability though. But, you cannot deny it is strong and able to hold most anything you can sit on it including a grand piano or two. It is definitely durable.
- Always in Style: Maple flooring has a very clean, light natural finish. Because it is light, it is often used in contemporary settings, but it is not limited to such. It is a classic choice that’s a solid investment because it is highly unlikely to ever go out of style.
Disadvantages of Maple Flooring
When comparing maple flooring with other woods, such as oak or hickory, you’ll want to carefully assess your lifestyle. While one may be your favorite, it may not be the most practical for your given situation. Here are some not-so-great traits of maple floors.
- Color: What you see is what you get with maple. It does not stain well. If you love the look and feel of natural maple, you’re in luck. If not, you may not want to go with it. It’s as simple as that.
- Cost: Maple can be pricey. If money isn’t an issue, it is an excellent choice that will last throughout the ages. If it is too much for your budget but you are sold on the beauty and strength it has to offer, you may want to consider bumping down a notch on the grade or going with a type of maple that isn’t solid.
Considerations When Choosing Maple Flooring
The more you know about maple flooring, the better choices you can make regarding it. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Types: There are three main types of maple flooring – solid, engineered, and laminate. Solid maple is available in a large array of lengths and widths and usually runs about ¾” thick. You can find solid maple in prefinished and unfinished states. Prefinished simple means that wood planks have a stain or sealant or both already on them. Unfinished is just as the name implies.
Engineered maple is thinner in thickness, dropping down to ¼” thick in some instances. The length, widths, and the finishes tend to vary from one manufacturer to the next. The colors of engineered maple planks are usually more varied than solid ones are.
Maple isn’t cheap. Laminate maple flooring is considerably less expensive than solid or engineered planks are. The sizes are typically more standard, running around 5”. The range of styles and colors is much wider than solid or engineered, however.
- Making the Grade: There are three grades of maple flooring that are commonly found on the market. Grade 1 are very uniform in color and have few, if any, knots. Grade 2 is appreciated for its “real wood” look and feel. Grade 3 is the least expensive and tends to have a less uniform, knotty appearance that many love because it is has a rustic appearance as opposed to the more polished look of grade 1.
Doing Maple Flooring the Right Way
If you have made your mind up to go with maple wood flooring, be sure to purchase it from a reputable dealer. You will also want to make sure it is installed by an individual or team that is highly-skilled. Maple hardwood flooring will last decades so you want to be sure the installation and purchase is equally as solid.