Hickory Flooring Pros and Cons

Wood floors are loved by many homeowners for their natural beauty, but when selecting a wood floor for your next flooring project, it is important to consider the durability of the wood you plan to purchase. Each wood species comprises of a different cellular structure and hence has different physical properties. When it comes to flooring, hickory is perhaps the hardest wood, with a Janka rating of 1820. Hickory floors are known for their shock resistance and great strength. However, before you choose this wood, here are a few hickory flooring pros and cons you should know.

hickory flooring pros and cons

Pros: Why homeowners like hickory flooring


Being very hard, rigid and dense, hickory is shock resistant. While there are many other woods that are stronger and denser than hickory, it is the combination of its strength, hardness and rigidity that makes it unique. This combination is not found in any other wood.

Plenty of options to choose from

Hickory comes in many varieties, so you have plenty of options to choose from. You can choose from a variety of colors that range from tan to red. Since the graining is pretty distinct, buyers have a difference of opinion about it. The colors in a single piece of flooring range from very light to rich golden brown, and planks installed side by side may show significant variances.

Little maintenance

Hickory wood flooring requires very little maintenance. It is therefore best suited for high traffic areas. Offices with high traffic will benefit by installing a hickory floor.


A hickory wood floor is very durable and can last for a lifetime of daily wear and tear. It is more durable than other floors such as walnut or white oak flooring. It can easily withstand the shock of heavy objects being dropped on it. With a Janka hardness test rating of 1820 as compared to 1360 of white oak and 1450 of maple, it is very tough.

Cons: You should be aware of 

Not suitable for high humidity areas

If you are planning to use hickory for your bathroom, then, instead of using solid wood flooring, you should use engineered hickory flooring. This is because it expands and contracts more than other types of wood. Moreover, any subflooring attached to the engineered hardwood reduces the expansion and contraction greatly.


Hickory flooring will cost you about $3-$7 per square foot. This is more expensive than maple, walnut or oak flooring. You should know that there are several grades available in each type of flooring and so the rates vary a lot. You can also choose hickory laminate floor if you are looking for an affordable option.

Varied grain pattern

While some homeowners will like this variance in the grain pattern of a hickory floor, it accounts for a potential downside since it may not appeal to some buyers. It contains knots and defects, which accounts for its rustic appeal. Many homeowners go for its rustic appearance.

Difficult to install

Since there is a lot of variation in the wood, it is difficult to make it look cohesive. While its hardness accounts for its sturdiness, it also makes it very difficult to cut during installation. You should find a carpenter with years of experience to install it. Installing it would also add additional costs. You won’t face much difficulty in installing it if you buy pre-finished or pre-cut planks.


It takes a long time to sand hickory and if scratches come, it is hard to remove them. It becomes all the more difficult to remove them if the scratches run perpendicular to the grain. Carpenters usually sand it with the help of smaller grits (120- to 180- grit sandpaper) to achieve smoothness.

Hickory floor vs Oak Floor

Janka Scale RatingHickory: 1,820White Oak: 1,360
Red Oak: 1,290
EquipmentYou would need carbon tipped blades to install hickory wood floor.High-speed steel blades are good for oak.
ColorRanges from off-white to chocolate brown and cream with streaks of purple. You may find this variation in same board.Red Oak color ranges from light amber to brown.
Grain differencesDiffering grades that may contain knots and defects. This adds to its rustic appeal.Red oak has zigzag pattern

If you are planning on having hickory wood flooring, make sure you check the hickory flooring pros and cons and you should purchase it from a reliable manufacturer and . They will provide you with high quality flooring. While it is an ideal choice, its hardness makes it a challenge to install. Your best option is to purchase pre-finished hickory and get it installed by a professional – it is worth the additional expenditure.

Here’s a great resource for you that states about different Types of Wood.

Author: John Clax

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