Comparing Hardwood And Softwood Flooring

Wood flooring is the most common type of flooring, providing your home with a luxurious, natural aesthetic. Wood flooring can be divided into two broad categories, hardwood and softwood. Hardwood comes from deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves in autumn) and softwoods come from evergreen or coniferous trees (trees that do not shed their leaves, like pine). Because they come from different types of trees, each type of wood has a different set of characteristics. Understanding the differences between hardwood and softwood flooring can help you decide which type of wood works best for the floors of your home.

Hardwood Flooring

  • Durability: Like the name suggests, hardwood is harder and better at withstanding foot traffic over time. This means that it is significantly less likely to chip, break, or bend due to normal wear and tear.
  • Fire Resistance: Though still wood, and highly susceptible to fire, hardwood floors are better at resisting heat and fire than their softwood counterparts, due to the higher density of the wood itself. While this does not mean that you can fireproof your house with hardwood, it means that small fires will have a better chance to be controlled with hardwood floors.
  • Modern Aesthetic: Hardwood flooring tends to have less knots and have a smoother, sleeker appearance. Though the aesthetic of flooring is subjective, it is also a major factor in choosing the right type of flooring for your home.
  • Rot Resistance: Hardwood flooring has a natural resistance to rot and pests that softwood flooring does not have. While it is still susceptible to these things, it is much less likely that it will succumb to them, which makes hardwood from Front Range Interiors a better fit for areas with large amounts of moisture or outside exposure.

Softwood Flooring

  • Cost: Softwood flooring costs much less than hardwood flooring, because softwood flooring makes up the majority of all lumber uses in the world. This means that there is more competition between producers, lowering the price for you. Additionally, softwood is easier to work with than hardwood, as it's lighter and easier to shape, reducing installation costs.
  • Sustainability: Softwood trees grow faster than hardwood trees, which means that softwood floors are more sustainable to install, as the trees that are cut down for lumber can be replaced quicker and use less resources to reach maturity.
  • Rustic Aesthetic: Softwood flooring tends to have a greater quantity of whorls and knots in it, which gives your floor a more natural, rustic appearance that hardwood cannot produce.