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Pros and Cons of American Hickory Flooring

Pros And Cons Of American Hickory Flooring

If you are looking for hardwood flooring for your home, but you want your flooring to have a distinctive character and personality, American Hickory can satisfy you with your choice.

American Hickory flooring, which is growing in popularity, still has a small share of the wood flooring market, so it is used much less than classic oak, which means that buying this flooring will make your interior space unique and stands out.

Let’s take a closer look atAmerican hickory flooring to see if it’s right for your home. We’ve talked about European oak flooring in previous articles, which you can read here:

What is European Oak flooring?

What is American Hickory Wood: and what is it used for?

Pros And Cons Of American Hickory Flooring

Hickory wood is derived from the wood of Hickory trees found in several countries, including the United States, Canada, China, India, and Mexico.

But as we will see later, hickory is also valuable for its high density and good impact strength and is a good option for the following uses:

  • Floor
  • As handles for tools like hammers and axes
  • Sports equipment such as lacrosse sticks, branches of golf clubs, bows and oars
  • Other durable wood furniture

Hickory wood is also used for smoking, cooking, and grilling meat in some areas, especially in the southern states: The high density of this wood causes the meat to cook slowly and evenly, giving it a very good flavour.

Types of American Hickory Flooring

As with most wood flooring, there are three different types of American hickory flooring to choose from:

Solid hickory floors are usually 19 mm thick and their width vary from 7 to 12 cm. Solid hickory flooring is usually available in a variety of finishes including smooth coatings, brushed and hand scraped wire.

Engineered Hickory flooring, like other engineered wood flooring, consists of a thin wear layer of hickory wood glued to a plywood backing. As you know, the structure of engineered flooring is a composite material. The thickness of this hickory floor varies from 9 to 12 mm, depending on the production method. Its width is usually 12 cm. This type of hickory flooring is also available in different finishes.

Laminate Hickory flooring is an artificial image and hickory wood design glued to a composite base. The thickness of the laminate boards is about 8 to 12 mm and their width varies from 7 to 20 cm depending on the manufacturer.

Appearance, color, and finish of American Hickory flooring

Untreated hickory has a very high color contrast and its color palette ranges from beautiful dark brown to creamy sapwood color.

In terms of style, American Hickory laminate flooring has great artistic potential because of the way it is made. Many hickory laminate floors can be found with unique, photographed designs.

Most solid and engineered hickory flooring tends to have classic or rustic textures with varying depths of color, ranging from light caramel tones to grays / deep greens to deep coffee and chocolate colors.

All American Hickory floors are coated with a high-quality clear sealer, usually polyurethane, to protect them from everyday disasters such as water spills or dust.

The most important thing to know about the appearance of American Hickory flooring is that its texture is very different from other woods and is very dense. Thus, its grain density is higher than that of maple wood, but not as much as that of oak wood.

Hardness and durability of American Hickory

Aside from its good looks, one of the highest quality hardwood floors in the world is one of the hardest woods on the market, rated Jenka 1820 – much harder than red oak, which is ranked 1290.

This characteristic makes hickory wood very durable and less prone to pressure sores than softwoods like maple or walnut floors. This flooring is ideal for people with children, pets, and busy environments.

Why American hickory?

What makes hickory so special? Hickory flooring has two outstanding qualities that customers look for: Hardness and Appearance.

This type of flooring is less flaky due to its high hardness and has many fans in that regard. Having a floor made from one of the hardest American wood species has undoubtedly advantages, including the fact that American Hickory shows fewer signs of aging and rot.

Laying Hickory Floors

In this section we want to talk about the installation of American hickory floors. So far, we have defined the hardness of hickory wood, but this characteristic can become one of the weaknesses of this floor during installation. The high density of hickory wood causes it to expand due to the moisture in the living environment.Therefore, it is better to test the floor before installing it in the home environment.

The moisture level should not exceed 12% for narrow widths and 10% for 5″ wide planks. Also, make sure the floor moisture level is 5% of the floor on the strip and 3% of the floor on the board. For seasonal humidity or when air conditioning is not installed, using hickory engineered planks is the wiser choice.

Careless installation can cause cuppping

Pros And Cons Of American Hickory Flooring2

Cupping is not caused by technical problems with the flooring and the manufacturer is not to blame, but as a result of an unsuitable environment. The installer must measure the moisture content of your floor before installation. If for some reason you do not have a hygrometer, it may be best to postpone the installation of American Hickory flooring.

Hardwood floors are not only becoming more valuable in terms of real estate, but they also appeal to the tastes of many people. You may have noticed the wood flooring under the old carpet when you removed it, or you may have intended hardwood flooring in general. Hickory flooring can be one of your best choices. Therefore, it is best to do your research and know the pros and cons before installing or repairing hickory flooring.

Basic facts about hickory wood

In a previous article, we talked about what American hickory is: hickory is a common type of wood found throughout the United States. Hickory panels have intricate wood grains, mineral streaks, knots, and discoloration in individual boards. Wider boards are usually used for flooring because they better reflect the design and patterns of the wood.

Although hickory wood is harder than many other kinds of wood, a major drawback is that it is very prone to swelling. This is because hickory floors are a bit more expensive to install, but they are more durable than many similar floors when installed correctly.

Pros And Cons Of American Hickory Flooring3

Advantages of Hickory Flooring

Hickory wood has many advantages that set it apart from other wood floorings. Here we define the benefits of using hickory flooring in two different categories. These two categories are generally very important when you are making changes in your home.

Esthetics of hickory flooring

One of the first things that will intrigue anyone at first glance is the beauty of hickory flooring. Hickory floors are available in different laminate or plank types, and their lighter colors can make a room seem brighter. Waxed hickory flooring reflects the warmth and glow of natural light, adding an element of elegance to your space. The beads and knots on the wood are a much darker color than the wood itself, giving the flooring a natural look despite waxing and varnishing.

The durability of Hickory Flooring

The fact that any flooring will be used and damaged should never be discounted. Furniture will scratch the floor, food can be accidentally spilled on the floor with a drink, movement with shoes can cause dirt, and sunlight can eventually fade it. The high hardness of hickory wood makes it resistant to impact and damage. It also resists stains better than any other wood, and waxing can guarantee its water resistance.

Disadvantages of Hickory Flooring

Since we have mentioned the advantages of hickory flooring, it is only fair to point out its disadvantages as well. Some of these disadvantages only occur in certain circumstances and may not apply to everyone.

Esthetic conflicts

The same qualities that visually distinguish hickory floors from other floors can also be their downside. Having a light color spectrum means that there is a possibility of dirt on the floor in busy areas. When designing rustic rooms or in dark themed rooms, similar to English style, light wood is not always used to create contrast. Also, dark woods show more marks and stains when cutting and sanding wood with light woods. Finally, to avoid crowding, it is better to use wider boards.

Resistance to mold and moisture

The resistance of hickory flooring may not be commonplace, but like many hardwoods for a variety of home environments, it offers choices: For rooms on lower floors, such as the basement, you can Use engineered hickory flooring and in other environments at the same level or higher, use hickory hardwood flooring or engineered wood.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendliness

One advantage of hickory wood is that it is produced and manufactured in the USA, making it a greener option than an exotic hardwood. Look for FSC certification to ensure that hickory is sustainably sourced.


Although other woods like rosewood and walnut are expensive, hickory wood has no disadvantage. Although the durability of this wood is very high, it still doesn’t seem to be an economical option. Especially if you want to buy prepared woods, you should know that the price will be high. Hickory wood is perfect if you are looking for a special and unique look, otherwise there are many cheaper flooring options. There are also lower quality options than hickory wood, and despite the different colors and durability, they are considered a risky choice.

Not suitable for do-it-yourselfers

Installing hickory flooring using the DIY method is not impossible, but the easier method is to get help from professionals. Due to its high hardness, which is considered an advantage, sanding and cutting will be difficult.

Although it will not be easy to install, you can also order the planks prefabricated. With this method, you will save yourself the hassle of cutting and staining the wood and pay more for it. As we said, installing or replacing hickory planks is difficult, so it is better to research the capital and food costs before buying and consider this flooring as a semi-permanent option.


Installing hickory flooring is a lengthy process. The wood must be properly dried. Hickory wood is more prone to swelling and shrinking than other woods. To prevent this, it is better to put the wood in the desired environment a few days before to adjust its conditions.

Decide on the suitability of hickory floors

Hickory wood is very attractive, however, most of its good qualities help to make a different decision. To find out if a hickory floor is right for you, you need to consider the various factors. For example, the size of your budget and whether you want to hire a professional installer will have a big impact on whether hickory wood flooring is right for you.

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