Common names- Hard Maple, Sugar Maple, Rock Maple
Scientific Name- Acer Saccarum
Origin – Northeast United States
Janka – 1450 psi
If you happen to do a bit of research on Maple Hardwood, you will come across many different species, different pattern names of maple wood, the category of hard and soft maple. All the different names can become quite confusing. This can be a bit overwhelming especially when you are trying to figure out which one is the best option for your flooring.
Since flooring is an integral part of every home and we know that it is quite the investment, we wanted to help simplify your research and help guide you in making the best flooring decision.
There are two main distinct categories of Maple Hardwood. There is Hard Maple and Soft Maple. There are many species that fall under the category of soft maple. However, just one species is known as Hard Maple- Acer Saccarum. We are going to discuss hard maple in this blog post. Stay tuned because in next week’s blog post, we are going to discuss soft maple and the pattern variations of maple that are often confused as to whether they are species or just descriptions of the graining and texture of the hardwood.
Maple is an absolutely beautiful flooring choice. The most common Maple installed in homes in Hard Maple, also known as Rock Maple and Sugar Maple. This tree is most often used for maple syrup- thus the name Sugar Maple. The technical species name is Acer Saccarum. Even its species name- Acer Saccarum- is a clue that this tree is used for maple syrup. It has a Janka Rating of 1450 psi. It is harder than Red Oak flooring which has a Janka rating of 1290 and White Oak flooring which has a Janka rating of 1360. This tree is native to the Northeast region of USA.
The sapwood is a light creamy blonde color; while the heartwood has darker colored brown and red tones. The sapwood is most often used to create maple hardwood flooring. The maple grain pattern is not nearly as prominent as Oak grain. The grain pattern is linear with minimal waves and swirls. The graining itself it quite thin and very delicate looking compared to oak
When our clients choose maple flooring, it is mostly due to the light color and clean looking graining. It is does not have a busy grain pattern. Water borne polyurethane should be applied on this floor since oil based polyurethane will cause the floor to yellow severely. Many clients prize the cream color this flooring has. You can stain maple. However, the sanding process must be done accurately because the stain on maple hardwood flooring can become very blotchy. It is best to use a conditioner to ensure the stain is evenly penetrated. If you do opt for a stain, then it would not make much a difference should you choose water Bourne poly or oil based poly because at that point the color of the flooring has changed.
Prefinished Maple flooring is a better option if you wanted your maple hardwood stained vs. site finished maple flooring. It will come with a factory finish resulting in a very even stain application.
Maple Hardwood Flooring comes in a variety of different grades. While many clients love the look of the light cream color with fine graining, you can purchase maple flooring with more characteristics of the heartwood if that suits your style better. Let’s talk about the different grade of maple flooring…
Select/Clear grade Maple flooring. This is the grade that has little to no color variations. This is the sapwood of the tree that is a light cream color. You will not see any knots or dark colors of the heartwood. This is the highest grade of Maple flooring you can purchase.
Grade 2 and better Maple Flooring. Grade two and grade 3 maple flooring looks a bit similar to hickory. You will find color variations ranging from cream to darker brown tones. The graining will still be fine and linear with minimal waves and swirls. There will be some knots but not too many.
Grade 3 and better Maple Flooring. This grade has the most variations and blemishes of all the grades. It is often called Character grade Maple. This grade is often a mixture of two and three. You will find many knots and worm holes. The color variations will be very prominent of light cream to dark browns. These colors will often appear on the same board. The wider the width, the more chance there is for the sapwood and heartwood to appear on the same board.
The grading of the floor has no effect on maple’s durability or integrity.
Maple flooring is used very often on basketball and gym floors because if its hardness, availability and durability.
Clear grade maple flooring pairs very well in a modern and contemporary design concept because of how minimalistic the pattern is. It is very light and soft on your eye making it the perfect floor choice for this design.
Second and Third Grade maple are perfect for a rustic, cabin, farmhouse design. The characteristics of color variations, knots and worm holes that pair perfectly in this concept.