Species Profile: Ash Hardwood

Ash hardwood is a popular choice among homeowners and interior designers for its exceptional beauty, versatility, and durability. This attractive wood species has been used in various applications for centuries, and its unique characteristics make it stand out among other hardwood options. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at Ash hardwood, exploring its color variations, grading options, durability, staining potential, stability, and why it remains a top choice for flooring and furniture.


Ash hardwood is known for its light to medium hues, ranging from creamy white to pale yellow-brown. The heartwood typically has a light to medium brown color, while the sapwood is nearly white, creating a beautiful contrast that adds dimension to the wood’s appearance. The grain pattern of Ash is generally straight, but it can also exhibit a subtle swirling effect, contributing to its visual appeal.


Ash hardwood comes in various grades, each offering a distinct visual appeal and character to suit different design preferences.

Rustic Grade: Also known as character grade, rustic Ash showcases the wood’s natural charm with prominent knots, mineral streaks, and other unique features. The rustic grade adds a touch of history and nostalgia to any space, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a more vintage or farmhouse-inspired look.

Natural Grade: The natural grade strikes a balance between the pristine appearance of clear grade and the character of rustic grade. It may feature some minor knots and color variations, providing a charming and relaxed ambiance that works well with both modern and traditional interior styles.

Select Grade: Select grade Ash features minimal knots and imperfections, offering a clean and elegant look. It exudes a refined and sophisticated aesthetic, making it a popular choice for contemporary and minimalist design themes.

Premier Grade: Also referred to as clear grade, premier Ash showcases the purest form of the wood with hardly any knots or imperfections. This grade emphasizes the wood’s clean lines and smooth texture, perfect for creating a sleek and luxurious atmosphere in any space.

Each grade of Ash hardwood brings its own unique personality, allowing homeowners and designers to choose the perfect match for their vision and style preferences. Whether it’s the rustic warmth of character grade or the modern allure of clear grade, Ash hardwood is sure to make a lasting impression in any interior setting.


Ash is renowned for its exceptional strength and hardness. Its Janka hardness rating, which measures its resistance to wear and denting, ranges from 1320 to 1320 pounds-force (lbf). This places Ash hardwood above some other popular choices like White Oak and Maple. Its durability makes it an excellent option for high-traffic areas such as hallways, living rooms, and kitchens, as it can withstand the rigors of daily use and still maintain its beauty over time.

Stain & Stability

Ash hardwood is known for its excellent staining properties. It readily absorbs stains and finishes, allowing for a wide range of color possibilities. Whether you prefer a rich, dark stain to highlight its grain pattern or a light, natural finish to maintain its light appearance, Ash can adapt to various design preferences.

In terms of stability, Ash performs admirably, showing minimal shrinkage and warping. This stability makes it a reliable choice for flooring, where exposure to temperature and humidity fluctuations is common. Proper acclimatization and installation will further enhance its dimensional stability and longevity.


Ash hardwood stands as a true testament to the timeless appeal and practicality of natural wood flooring and furniture. Its attractive color variations, sturdy characteristics, and excellent staining potential make it a versatile choice that complements a wide range of interior design styles.

From elegant and modern spaces that showcase the clear grade Ash’s refined beauty to rustic and cozy environments brought to life by the rustic grade Ash’s unique charm, this wood species has something to offer for everyone.

Whether you choose Ash hardwood flooring, cabinetry, or furniture, this remarkable wood species will undoubtedly add a touch of elegance and warmth to any space, creating an inviting ambiance that stands the test of time.

Investing in Ash hardwood is not just an aesthetic decision but also a practical one, as its durability ensures that your flooring or furniture will endure for generations, becoming a cherished part of your home’s history.

So, if you are looking for a hardwood species that boasts both beauty and strength, consider Ash hardwood for your next home improvement project. Its remarkable characteristics and adaptability make it a top contender for creating timeless and captivating spaces that you’ll love for years to come.

Home Decor Species

2023 Anticipated Hardwood Flooring Trends

At MacDonald Hardwoods, we’re always looking to stay on top of the latest hardwood flooring trends. As we enter 2023, we’re excited to share with you the top trends we believe will shape the industry in the year ahead.

Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring

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One of the most popular trends we expect to continue in 2023 is wide-plank hardwood flooring. These wider boards provide a more modern look to any room, and have been growing in popularity in recent years. They’re particularly effective in larger spaces, as they can help to make a room appear more spacious.

Lighter Finishes

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Another trend we’re seeing is a shift towards lighter wood finishes. Blond and whitewashed floors have become increasingly popular, particularly in contemporary homes. These lighter finishes can help to brighten up a space, and can work well in rooms that don’t receive a lot of natural light.


Mixed-width flooring is also growing in popularity. This trend involves combining different widths of wood flooring to create a unique and visually interesting pattern. It’s a great way to add character and personality to a room, and can be particularly effective in larger spaces.


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Sustainability is another trend that’s becoming increasingly important to homeowners. We expect to see continued demand for environmentally friendly options such as FSC-certified or reclaimed wood flooring. These options not only provide a beautiful finish, but also offer peace of mind knowing that they were sourced responsibly.

Matte Finishes

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Matte finishes are also expected to continue their popularity in 2023. This finish provides a more natural look, as it doesn’t reflect as much light as a high-gloss finish. Textured hardwood flooring is another trend we expect to see more of in the year ahead. Textured finishes can add depth and dimension to a room, and are particularly effective in areas with high foot traffic.

Dark Finishes

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Finally, classic dark wood finishes are another trend that’s expected to continue in 2023. These timeless finishes can add warmth and sophistication to any room, and are a great way to create a traditional and elegant look.

At MacDonald Hardwoods, we offer a wide range of high-quality hardwood flooring solutions that cater to these trends. Whether you’re looking for wide-plank flooring, mixed-width flooring, or sustainable options, we have something to suit your individual preferences. Our team of experts is always on hand to help you select the perfect finish and style for your home. We can provide advice on the best flooring options for your needs, and can help you create custom designs that are tailored to your specific tastes. So if you’re looking to upgrade your flooring in 2023, consider the latest trends and speak to our team at MacDonald Hardwoods. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you create the perfect flooring solution for your home.

Hardwood Flooring Species

The Different Grades of Hardwood Flooring

MacDonald Hardwoods would like to take this opportunity to educate our customers on the different grades of hardwood flooring. There are many options available, and it can be confusing for some people to understand the differences.

We want you to make an informed decision when choosing your flooring, so we have put together this guide to help you!

The Importance of Understanding Wood Grading

Many homeowners invest in hardwood flooring for a timeless, classic look as well as improved home value. Knowing the different grades of hardwood available is essential when selecting your dream floors.

A higher grade of hardwood might feature fewer knots and flaws, while a lower grade may have more variation in the wood’s grain pattern or even some small natural imperfections. Choosing the grade that meets your expectations and budget is important since hardwood can cost more than other types of flooring.

Also, different grades are better suited for different spaces depending on traffic and moisture levels. For example, if you’re looking for high-impact resistance, a higher grade wood may be preferable for a family room that sees heavy use while lower grades are often recommended in bathrooms and areas prone to water spills.

The grading process is typically done by the manufacturer or supplier of the hardwood flooring. Therefore, it is important to choose a reputable and reliable source like MacDonald Hardwoods to ensure that you are getting high-quality wood that meets industry standards.

Ultimately, putting thought into the specific grade of your hardwood will help ensure you get long-lasting appeal and durability out of this beautiful flooring option.

The Different Types of Wood Used in Hardwood Flooring


[Image source: Unsplash]

There are various types of wood that can be used in hardwood flooring, each with its own unique characteristics and features. Some of the most common types of wood used in hardwood flooring include:

Oak: Oak is a popular choice for hardwood flooring due to its durability and versatility. It is available in a range of colors, from light to dark, and has a distinctive grain pattern. Oak is also resistant to moisture and wear, making it a good choice for high-traffic areas.
Maple: Maple is a hard and dense wood that is known for its light color and fine grain pattern. It is a popular choice for those who want a light and airy look for their floors. Maple is also resistant to wear and moisture, making it a durable choice for high-traffic areas.
Cherry: Cherry is a soft and elegant wood with a rich, warm color. It is known for its subtle grain pattern and smooth texture. Cherry is a good choice for formal or high-end settings, as it adds a touch of sophistication and refinement to any space.
Walnut: Walnut is a dark and luxurious wood with a rich, chocolate-brown color. It is known for its dramatic grain pattern and smooth texture. Walnut is a good choice for those who want a bold and sophisticated look for their floors.
Birch: Birch is a hard and durable wood with a light, creamy color. It is known for its fine grain pattern and smooth texture. Birch is a good choice for those who want a light and neutral look for their floors.

In addition to these types of wood, there are also various species of wood that can be used in hardwood flooring. Each species has its own unique characteristics and features, such as color, grain pattern, and durability. Understanding the different types and species of wood available can help you select the best option for your needs and preferences.


Premier Grade

[Image source: Superior Flooring]

Premier grade hardwood flooring is the highest quality and most expensive option available. It is characterized by a consistent and even color, with minimal knots, blemishes, or other imperfections. The wood is carefully selected and graded to meet the highest standards of quality. Premier grade hardwood is also known for its durability and longevity, as it is made from high-quality wood that is less prone to wear and damage.

This grade is ideal for formal or high-traffic areas where a flawless appearance is desired. It is also a popular choice for those who want a clean and modern look for their floors. Premier grade hardwood is a good investment, as it can add value to your home and last for many years with proper care and maintenance.

Select Grade

[Image source: Superior Flooring]

Select grade hardwood flooring is a step down from premier grade in terms of quality and price. It is still a high-quality option, but may have more visible imperfections such as knots or mineral streaks. These imperfections add character and depth to the wood, making it a popular choice for those who want a more rustic or natural look.

Select grade hardwood is also suitable for high-traffic areas, but may not be as durable as premier grade due to the presence of imperfections. It is a good option for those who want a high-quality floor at a more affordable price.

Heritage Grade

[Image source: Superior Flooring]

Heritage grade hardwood flooring is a mid-range option that offers a balance of quality and affordability. It is characterized by a more varied appearance, with a mix of colors and textures. This grade is ideal for those who want a more rustic or antique look, as it may have more visible imperfections such as knots, wormholes, and other natural characteristics.

Heritage grade hardwood is also known for its durability and longevity, as it is made from high-quality wood that is carefully selected and graded to meet certain standards of quality. It is a good choice for those who want a unique and authentic look for their floors, but want to avoid paying the premium price for the premier grade.

Heritage Grade – Live Sawn

[Image source: Superior Flooring]

Live sawn hardwood flooring is a subcategory of heritage grade. It is made from logs that are cut perpendicular to the growth rings of the tree, resulting in a more varied and rustic appearance. The wood is then milled into planks, which are then installed as flooring. Live sawn hardwood is known for its unique, one-of-a-kind appearance, with a mix of colors and grain patterns.

It is a popular choice for those who want a truly unique and authentic look for their floors. Live sawn hardwood is also known for its durability and longevity, as it is made from high-quality wood that is carefully selected and graded to meet certain standards of quality. It is a good option for those who want a rustic and antique look for their floors, but do not want to sacrifice quality or durability.


[Image source: Unsplash]

In conclusion, there are various grades of hardwood flooring available on the market, each with its own unique characteristics and features.

Premier grade is the highest quality and most expensive option, with a flawless and consistent appearance. Select grade is a high-quality option with more visible imperfections, adding character and depth to the wood. Heritage grade is a mid-range option with a more varied appearance, ideal for those who want a rustic or antique look. Live sawn hardwood is a subcategory of heritage grade, with a unique and one-of-a-kind appearance.

Understanding the different grades of hardwood flooring can help you make an informed decision when selecting the best option for your home. Consider your personal style preferences, budget, and the intended use of the space when choosing the right grade for your needs.

Take your time in choosing the right grade for you, as hardwood flooring can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance regardless of the grade. Most people need a nudge in the right direction and that’s where MacDonald Hardwoods comes into play.

For those in the surrounding Denver area, simply give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help you find the perfect hardwood flooring for your home. Having your floors installed by the right company can make all the difference in the long run, so don’t forget to take advantage of our expert advice.

Reach out today!

General Home Improvement Species

The Pros and Cons of Different Hardwood Flooring Materials

There are many different types of hardwood flooring materials available on the market today. Choosing the right one for your home can be difficult, especially if you don’t know the pros and cons of each type.

Today we will talk about the pros and cons of solid vs engineered hardwood, then discuss prefinished vs unfinished hardwood, before closing the discussion by contrasting the popular species on the market. By the end, you should have a better idea of what type of hardwood you want to bring into your home!

Solid Vs. Engineered Hardwood

One of the most important choices when picking out hardwood floors for your home is deciding between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Both types of floors have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to weigh all your options before making a final decision.

Solid hardwood floors are made entirely of solid wood, from the top layer down to the bottom support layer. This makes them incredibly durable and long-lasting, able to withstand heavy foot traffic and years of wear and tear. Solid hardwood floors can also be sanded and refinished multiple times, so they can be easily repaired if they become scratched or damaged.

However, solid hardwood floors are also more susceptible to moisture damage than engineered hardwood floors, so they may not be the best choice for homes in humid climates. They are also a lot pricier than engineered hardwood floors.

Engineered hardwood floors are made with a top layer of real wood veneer over a core of plywood or another type of manufactured wood. This makes them more resistant to moisture damage than solid hardwood floors and they can still be sanded and refinished like solid floors.
Engineered hardwood floors also offer a wider range of design options than solid hardwood floors, since they can be made in any style or color. The price of engineered hardwood floors is also usually much lower than solid hardwood floors, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious homeowners.

When choosing between solid and engineered hardwood floors, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and budget. No matter which type of floor you choose, you’ll be sure to enjoy the natural beauty and elegance of hardwood in your home.

Prefinished Vs. Unfinished Hardwood

Prefinished hardwood is a type of hardwood that comes with a factory-applied finish. The advantage of prefinished hardwood is that it is ready to be installed as soon as it is purchased, which can save time and money.

Additionally, the finishes applied in factories are typically more durable than those applied by hand, making prefinished hardwood a good choice for high-traffic areas. However, prefinished hardwood can be more expensive than unfinished hardwood.

Unfinished hardwood is a type of hardwood that does not come with a factory-applied finish. The advantage of unfinished hardwood is that it allows for more customization, as the homeowner can choose the stain and topcoat that best suits their needs. Unfinished hardwood is often less expensive than prefinished hardwood.

However, unfinished hardwood requires more time and effort to install, as the stain and topcoat must be applied after the flooring is laid. Plus, repairs and touch-ups may be more noticeable on an unfinished wood floor.

Contrasting Popular Hardwood Species

Now let’s move on to the different hardwood species available for your flooring.


Oak is a hardwood species that is popular for several reasons. It is very strong and durable, making it ideal for furniture and flooring. Oak is also very easy to work with, and it takes stains and finishes well. In addition, oak has a beautiful grain pattern that can add a touch of elegance to any home. Plus the price of oak is relatively low compared to other hardwood species.

However, there are some drawbacks to oak as well. It is very susceptible to insect damage, and people have mixed feelings about how easy it is to work with. Some think it’s easy and others disagree. Overall, oak is a versatile and attractive hardwood species that has some distinct advantages and disadvantages.


Maple is another popular hardwood species that is often used for flooring. It is very strong and durable, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas. Maple also has a uniform grain pattern that gives it a sleek and modern look. Additionally, maple takes stains and finishes well, so you can customize the color of your flooring to fit your home.

One of the drawbacks to maple is that it is often more expensive than other hardwood species. Additionally, it can be difficult to sand and refinish, and scratches can be more noticeable on maple than on other types of hardwood. This can be avoided with a prefinished maple option. Maple is a popular choice for many homeowners due to its strength, beauty, and versatility.


Walnut is a very popular hardwood species that is used in a variety of applications, from furniture to flooring. It has a number of advantages that make it an ideal choice for many projects. First of all, walnut is extremely strong and durable, making it ideal for use in high-traffic areas. It is also resistant to rot and insect damage, making it a good choice for outdoor projects.

Walnut is relatively easy to work with, meaning that it can be cut, carved, and sanded into a variety of shapes and sizes. Finally, walnut has a beautiful dark color that can add a touch of elegance to any project.

However, there are also some disadvantages to using Walnut. One of the most significant drawbacks is its cost; walnut is one of the more expensive hardwood species on the market. Because it is so dense, Walnut can be difficult to nail and glue into place.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about solid and engineered hardwood, prefinished and unfinished hardwood, and the different hardwood species available, you are in a better position to choose the right flooring for your home. With the right research and advice, you can make an informed decision that will last for years to come.

Lots of homeowners in the Denver area find it easier to talk with one of the MacDonald Hardwood experts. In business since 1986, we are passionate about helping homeowners make the right decision when it comes to hardwood flooring.

Reach out today! We know everyone has unique needs and tastes.

Hardwood Flooring Species Uncategorized

Ash Hardwood Floors Are Stylish & Contemporary

Are you looking for a stylish and contemporary hardwood floor? Ash is the perfect choice. Ash hardwood floors are growing in popularity because of their beautiful grain and rich color. They can be stained to match any decor, and they always look elegant.

If you’re considering installing new flooring in your home, make sure to consider Ash hardwood floors. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the benefits of Ash hardwood floors, how they’re made, and how to care for them.

What Exactly is Ash Hardwood?

When you think of Ash, you probably think of the powdery residue that is left over after burning something. Others might think of the tree that it comes from. Ash trees are tall and have light-colored wood. The wood from these trees is strong and durable, which is why it’s often used to make furniture and flooring.

How Are Ash Hardwood Floors Made?

[Image source: Superior Flooring]

If you’ve ever wondered how those beautiful Ash hardwood floors are made, wonder no more! It all starts with a tree, of course. Once the tree is cut down, the logs are transported to a sawmill where they are cut into planks. The planks are then kiln-dried to remove moisture and make them easier to work with.

Next, the planks are milled into tongue-and-groove boards which are then sanded smooth. Finally, the boards are stained and sealed with a protective finish which gives a glossy appearance. And that’s how those beautiful ash hardwood floors are made. At this point, they are ready to be installed in your home.

Benefits of Ash Hardwood Floors

[Image source: Superior Hardwood Flooring]

There are many reasons to choose Ash hardwood floors for your home. Let’s talk about them.

Ability to Withstand Heavy Foot Traffic

Ash is a strong and durable wood that can withstand heavy foot traffic. For those with busy households, this is the perfect type of flooring for you. Other floors might show wear and tear quickly, but Ash floors will last for many years.

Stain Resistance

Ash hardwood floors are known for their durability and toughness. But did you know that they’re also stain-resistant? That’s right, those pesky spills and drips can be easily wiped away without leaving a mark. But how exactly does this work? Well, it all has to do with the wood’s natural composition.

The pores in Ash hardwood are smaller than those of other woods, which makes it more difficult for liquids and stains to penetrate the surface. In addition, the wood itself is naturally dense and tightly grained, providing an extra barrier against unwanted stains. So next time you’re looking for a hardwood floor that can withstand daily wear and tear, be sure to consider Ash. Stain resistance is just one of the many reasons why it’s such a popular choice.

Resistant to Scratches & Dents

Ash hardwood floors are well known for their resistance to scratches and dents. In fact, they’re so resistant that you could say they’re the ‘bulletproof vest’ of the flooring world. But what makes them so tough?

Well, it all comes down to the structure of the wood. Ash floors have a very dense grain, which makes them more resistant to surface damage. They also have a high lignin content, which gives the wood extra flexibility and strength. In wood, lignin is the substance that gives the cell walls their rigidity. So basically, what we’re saying is that Ash floors are pretty darn tough.

Beautiful Grain Pattern

[Image source: Preverco]

Ash hardwood floors have a beautiful grain pattern that is unique among other types of wood flooring. The grain is caused by the growth rings of the tree, which are visible on the surface of the wood. Ash hardwood floors are also known for their durability, which makes them ideal for high-traffic areas of the home.

The grain pattern adds character and warmth to any room, making it a popular choice for both homes and businesses. For all these reasons, Ash hardwood floors are a popular choice for homeowners who want to add beauty and value to their environment.

Ability to Refinish

Ash hardwood floors are one of the best investments you can make for your home. Not only are they beautiful and timeless, but they also have the ability to be refinished multiple times over the years. This means that you can enjoy your floors for many years to come, and they will still look as good as new.

Increase Property Value

[Image source: Preverco]

For those looking for a flooring option that will increase the value of your home, you can’t go wrong with ash hardwood. Not only is it beautiful and durable, but it’s also one of the most popular choices among homebuyers.

If you’re thinking about selling your home in the future, an ash hardwood floor will give you a leg up on the competition. And even if selling your home isn’t something that you’re planning for, an ash hardwood floor will still add elegance and sophistication to your space. For a flooring option that will make your home more valuable, choose ash hardwood.

Easy to Care For

Nothing says “class” like a hardwood floor. And when it comes to hardwoods, few species can match the beauty and durability of ash. Ash floors are also easy to care for, which is an important consideration for busy families.

Dust and dirt can be easily swept away, and spills can be quickly wiped up. Ash floors also don’t require the use of harsh chemicals or special cleaners. We recommend MacDonald Hardwoods’ special hardwood cleaner which is natural and extremely effective.

Final Thoughts

Ash hardwood floors are a stylish and contemporary choice for any home. They’re resistant to scratches and dents, easy to care for, and they increase the value of your property, among all the other benefits. If you’re looking for a flooring option that will stand the test of time, choose ash hardwood.

Are you interested in installing ash hardwood floors in your home? Be sure to contact MacDonald Hardwoods today. We would love to help!

Eco-Friendly Flooring Hardwood Flooring Species

Bamboo Flooring vs Hardwood: Which Should You Choose?

If you look at your home as a body, you will begin to understand that each area is like it’s own organ; every part must work together to create a functioning organism. Your floors are like the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. They’re crucial for everyday living. So, making the right flooring choice is vital. This guide explains the differences between hardwood and bamboo flooring to make your decision easier.

When remodeling your home or building a new one, you have many things to consider. Choosing the type of floor you will use is just one of your responsibilities, and not everyone knows what steps to take to achieve their desired results. Like most major areas of your home, your floor is an investment that will affect your life for years to come.

First, What is the Pricing Difference Between the Two Flooring Types?

As you choose a path, the price of your flooring should always be near the front of your mind. Even a difference of a few dollars adds up when you consider the size of your floor and the number of materials you must use to finish the job. Depending on where you buy bamboo, you will pay about $2 to $5 per square foot.

You notice a relationship between price and quality, and spending more usually means you get a higher quality. In the $2 to $5 price range, quality does not change a lot, so you won’t have too much about which to worry. If you go below $2 per square foot, you will run into quality issues over time.

It’s now time for you to review the price you pay when buying hardwood flooring, and this information is excellent for protecting your budget. Knowing the cost in advance saves you a lot of trouble and helps safeguard your bank account. Standard hardwood will cost between $3 and $5 per square foot, which is a fair price.

You get decent quality and materials that can last for years with proper care when you take this path. On the other hand, you can find exotic hardwood flooring for more than $10 per square foot. Consider your budget and long-term goals when choosing your flooring material.

Installation for both types of flooring should run around the same price.

Next, Here’s a Quality Comparison of Hardwood and Bamboo Floors:

The quality of your floor should play a central role in your decision if you want your floor to last for as long as possible. If you have your eye on bamboo flooring, you should keep in mind that it does not have an official rating system. In other words, you never know what you are going to get when buying bamboo flooring for your home. Your best option is to search for reputable dealers with a record of customer satisfaction.

Quality is much easier to predict when you use hardwood because of the National Wood Flooring Association and other groups rate hardwoods on their size, hardness, quality, moisture tolerance, evenness and more. Look at the rating when you buy hardwood floors, and you will know what you are getting.

Now, the Durability of Hardwood vs Bamboo:

Hardwood is a popular flooring choice and gives you plenty of fantastic advantages you won’t want to overlook. People use some of the strongest trees available when making hardwood, such as oak, hickory, and cherry. The Janka rating measures the hardness of wood, and the hardest is 3,500. While cherry is ranked 950 on the scale, red oak is 1,220. So, hardwoods vary tremendously Keep in mind that some hardwoods are softer than others when making your choice.

To build upon this, let’s take a look at bamboo flooring. On the Janka scale, bamboo scores around 1,762. So, in most cases, bamboo is the more durable choice. Although most people think of bamboo as wood, that is not the full picture. Bamboo is a woody grass that looks and feels similar to wood. Natural bamboo is as hard as or harder than the highest quality hardwood floors. But, keep in mind the fact that treated bamboo loses a lot of its hardness.

Finally, Do You Have Environmental Concerns?

Both hardwood and bamboo are biodegradable and won’t contribute to the global construction waste problem. This is one of the main reasons why homeowners choose to use either of these materials on their floors. By 2025, construction waste is expected to nearly double, making sustainability a priority.

But, they have varying features where the environment is concerned. For example, bamboo grows much faster than trees. In addition, during the harvesting process, bamboo roots don’t need to be removed. The stalks are simply cut, and they later regrow from the same spot. Since you don’t need to replant bamboo, farming requires less fuel than hardwood per harvest. If you care about the planet and want to reduce your carbon footprint, bamboo flooring won’t let you down.

Some people view hardwood as not being environmentally friendly, but that is not usually the case. While it takes most hardwood trees 20 years to grow, they produce a lot of materials in that time. Plus, you don’t have to harvest wood as often as bamboo. When you compare them both, though, it’s clear that hardwood trees use more resources than bamboo flooring. When it comes to our carbon footprint, the way companies operate plays a major role in the amount of waste they produce.

What Can You Do to Decrease Your Footprint when Building or Renovating?

Do you want to know, with certainty, that you’re making a sustainable flooring decision? A trustworthy hardwood flooring expert will support the Lacey Act, which outlines North American laws to protect endangered species and their environment. The act pertains to both hardwood and bamboo suppliers. So, be sure to find out if your flooring installation company supports these laws prior to making a decision between exotic hardwood and imported bamboo.

Not only do you need to make sure  your suppliers and builders are conscious of the environment — there are steps you can take to ensure an eco-friendly home improvement process as well:

  • Learn to practice source reduction — generate less waste by using fewer materials.
  • Try to salvage what you can from your own deconstruction and check out thrift stores like Habitat for Humanity for building supplies and materials before you begin a renovation or construction project.
  • Educate yourself about how various building materials can be recycled rather than thrown in a landfill.
  • Motivate yourself by understanding the advantages of used, recycled, and salvaged supplies.


When it comes to bamboo flooring vs hardwood, the choice you make impacts your home (and the planet) for years to come, so getting it right the first time is critical.  Some people are split down the middle and have no clue what path they should take. If you can relate to that, stop thinking about it and call a flooring expert to help you make a final decision. If you live in the greater Denver area, contact us — we are happy to help find the best hardwood floors for you.

Eco-Friendly Flooring Hardwood Flooring Species

Species Profile: Brazilian Walnut (Ipe)

“Ipe” or Brazilian Walnut (Ocotea Porosa) is a favorite hardwood flooring option often seen in higher-end decor. Because of its beauty and durability, it’s a dearly beloved hardwood species. Despite the name, it has no relationship to the true Walnut tree — and, that’s just one fun fact. Now, let’s take a closer look at one of our favorite wood species:

  • Where does it come from?
  • What is it known for?
  • Why do homeowners and flooring experts love it?

The Ipe Tree

The Brazilian Walnut tree grows throughout South and Central America, in parts of Mexico, and on a few islands in the Antilles.  The name is used to encompass an entire genus of tree, Handroanthus. Handroanthus includes at least 30 distinct species, each called by a different name depending on where they grow.  The Ipe tree is the national tree or flower of several countries.  It is popular in its native lands for the solid wood it produces and its gorgeous flowers — they look like tiny trumpets.

Just How Durable is Brazilian Walnut?

Boardwalks in Coney Island Made from Brazilian Walnut
Did you know that Brazilian Walnut makes up most of the boardwalks in Coney Island, NY?

People love Brazilian Walnut lumber’s density and seeming immunity to the forces of nature. It is so dense that it does not float in water, The wood has a hardness that measures at the very top of the Janka rating scale, upwards of 3,500 (more than 2.5 times the hardness of Oak). It is one of the most durable flooring options available.

Moreover, the wood is so durable that you can leave it unfinished in outdoor settings like saunas, decks, and patio furniture.  And, like most woods, it will fade to a brownish-grey color in these circumstances. Still, it has been known to last for more than 25 years this way.

Also, Ipe displays an inherent resistance to rot, mold, and insect damage. And, get this – it rates with steel and concrete concerning fire resistance. There’s no wonder why it is famous for boardwalks and other outdoor communal areas along the East Coast.  It can withstand decades of abuse from foot traffic, ocean air, and extreme weather. In the end, it will look hardly the worse for wear.

How Can You Spot Brazilian Walnut Flooring Based on Appearance?

The heartwood of Brazilian Walnut tends to vary in color from reddish brown to a sort of yellowish olive or even darker blackish brown. You may see bundles of boards of various shades sold by hardwood retailers.  And, the wood displays a fine to medium texture, with grain varying from straight to irregular or interlocked. Over time, the color will fade somewhat under the sun.

Deck Made From Brazilian Walnut

Brazilian Walnut is an oily wood with a moderate luster. Because of this, it is an excellent candidate for natural oil finishes. The inherent oiliness, combined with the wood’s density, make it difficult for a urethane finish to cure properly. Fortunately, its natural durability accommodates as much wear as most polyurethane finishes.

Tip: If you desire extra protection or a certain sheen, choose a factory-finished Ipe over a site-applied finish. The species’ unusual hardness makes it difficult to work with anyway.

Recommended Reading:

What you Need to Know About Prefinished Hardwood Flooring vs Unfinished

How Much Does Brazilian Walnut Flooring Cost?

Because of its exceptional qualities and comparatively scattered growth in the wild, Brazilian Walnut tends to be pricier than many other species. So, you can expect to pay anywhere between $4 and $9 per square feet of flooring. While this may seem steep, you will likely enjoy Ipe floors much longer than if you choose a less expensive species. Of course, this depends on the type of wear and tear you plan to put on your floors or deck.

Why You Must Keep Sustainability in Mind

One potential drawback to Brazilian Walnut is the traditional harvesting practice. Because this species grows sparsely, spread throughout forests — not in tight groves like many domestic species — it was once common practice to clear-cut vast rainforest areas for small harvests, a practice that leads to deforestation. While this sort of clear-cutting is now illegal in most countries, it is crucial to confirm that your Brazilian Walnut flooring originates from a sustainable source.

Deforestation due to clear-cutting in South America
Example of a deforested hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Amazon Rainforest, arguably the most devastated natural habitat on the planet, rests at the center of Brazil. Many times, when you hear a term like “Brazilian Walnut,” “Brazilian Cherry,” “Brazilian Maple,” etc., it can reference wood from unsustainable harvesting practices. So, choose a source that grows/ farms trees specifically to create new timber resources. Ask your flooring manufacturer or retailer if they support the Lacey Act, which works against illegal logging practices to ensure the safety of endangered species and ecosystems.

Final Thoughts

To date, Brazilian Walnut flooring remains among the top flooring species used in homes and outdoors. Moreover, it is particularly well-suited to our climate here in Colorado. Many people feel like flooring that will withstand the worst you can throw at it (for decades to come) is worth the extra cost. Then again, it may not be the right choice for you. Are you still trying to make a flooring decision? Let us help you choose the right hardwood flooring for your home and lifestyle.


First published on Nov. 5, 2015.


General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Home Decor Pets Species

This is How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring for any Home

So, you’re thinking about retiring your old floors, or you’re moving into a new space, and you’re interested in a natural, easy-to-maintain flooring choice. Of course, hardwood is an excellent pick for many people — it’s easier to clean than carpets and is known to stand the test of time. But, there are so many available options that finding the best hardwood flooring can be overwhelming.

How to determine the best hardwood flooring for your home:

  1. First, understand the pros and cons of hardwood floors.
  2. Next, examine your lifestyle.
  3. Then, set a realistic budget.
  4. After that, explore various hardwood types and species.
  5. Once you know the rest, research your finish options.
  6. Finally, consult with an expert.

Each of the above items has its own set of intricacies. In this article, we take some of the guesswork out of it for you. Here’s everything you need to know to choose the right hardwood flooring options. 

First, the Pros and Cons of Harwood Flooring:

Hardwood is a natural, long-lasting choice for home flooring. Still, it comes with maintenance responsibilities. Before you do anything else, it’s crucial to consider the pros and cons of installing wood floors in your home.


The Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Hardwood is durable… as long as you don’t overexpose it to water.

While hardwood floors are durable and can withstand spills and stains with proper treatment, they are especially prone to water damage (kind of like the wicked witch of the west); this makes them a risky candidate for areas like your bathroom, kitchen, and entryways. Installing hardwood in rooms where they are exposed to liquid will lead to damage.

It is easy to refinish, but not so easy to install.

Most people will tell you it is easy to refinish hardwood floors, as long as you can stay off of them for a few days. Even so, it is difficult to install them, even for experienced DIYers. So, in the beginning, be prepared to hire a professional for the installation. At the very least, consider hardwood flooring installation classes

It is considered a wise investment.

The homeowners’ paradigm is that hardwood flooring will increase the value of your property. Most homebuyer’s jump at the idea of purchasing a home with hardwood floors — in many cases, even when carpet covers the original wood flooring. So, in the long run, the initial investment is probably worthwhile.

Hardwood flooring isn’t likely to go out of style.

Hardwood floors are timeless in the decor world; it was considered a luxury interior decoration asset as early as the 1600s and is popular still today. If you choose hardwood, your floors are likely to stay in style as long as your home stands. According to GentlemanZone Magazine, hardwood stands for luxury and fine taste. It is the warm and shiny glaze of wood that noblemen love to this very day.

It isn’t the coziest flooring to walk on.

One of the downsides to hardwood flooring is that it can be hard and cold on your feet compared to carpeting. Because it is so hard, it doesn’t absorb sound; this can lead to more noise when walking around with shoes. Some people might not like this idea, for a number of reasons, and will opt for carpeting instead. But, if you’re still undecided, there are ways to reduce sound with hardwood floors.

It is an allergy-friendly, eco-friendly, low maintenance flooring option.

People with pets will tell you that carpets need to be vacuumed daily to keep a hair and dander-free home. If you have allergies to pets or pollens, you can be sure hardwood floors will be much easier to maintain, and you’ll experience fewer attacks. Also, most of the wood used for flooring materials are sustainably sourced and use non-toxic adhesives and finishes.

Next, What You Need to Consider About Your Lifestyle:

Your lifestyle dictates the best hardwood flooring option for your home — foot traffic, kids, pets, and maintenance crucial considerations. Are your floors prepared for wear and tear, or will choose luxury options for their aesthetic appeal? Consider the following.

While you probably won’t be bowling on your floors, you may live in a home with a lot of guest foot traffic, kids playing, or pets running around. In this case, you are going to expose your floors to scratches; this requires a “harder” floor and finish (or a ridiculously laid-back attitude).

Is Hardwood Flooring Good for Homes with Kids and Pets? via @macwoods

On the contrary, if you have a lifestyle with more solitude, you might be able to afford to go with softer wood and a natural oil finish. If you require people to take their shoes off at the door, take precautions when moving furniture, your home isn’t prone to messes, and you expect things to stay this way, there’s no reason to worry yourself too much over potential scratching and stains.

Recommended reading for the best hardwood flooring care: 

Then, get Clear About Your Flooring Installation Budget:

While some homeowners consider hardwood flooring installation to be a DIY job, more often than not, they require professional installation. Whether you install the flooring yourself or hire someone to do that for you, be realistic about your budget. It’s always a possibility that you will end up spending more than you anticipate by the time everything is complete.

According to Home Advisor, the national average cost of installing hardwood in 2018 is $4,415. But this can vary tremendously based on the project.

What to consider when you set your hardwood flooring budget:

  • Cost per square foot of flooring
  • Size of the project area
  • Subfloor, joists, and other structural materials
  • Floor finish
  • Molding replacement
  • Professional labor costs
  • Future flooring repair & replacement costs

In addition to the installation (all materials and labor), you must consider the cost of repair and replacement for your hardwood floors. So, while you may have the initial budget for an exotic species like Padauk, think about whether you will have the funds to repair or replace a more expensive floor in the future, should you have to. If you have to refinance your home to pay for new floors, it may be best to choose an option that is on the conservative side of the price scale. 

Recommended reading to set your hardwood flooring budget:

After that, Consider Solid, Prefinished, Engineered, and Laminate Flooring Options:

There are three main hardwood flooring options: solid, engineered, laminate, and prefinished. Here are the similarities and differences.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood is the term used for planks of wood, cut directly from the tree — it is precisely what you think it would be; this is the flooring that has been around for ages. It is the most natural and customizable type of hardwood flooring. If you choose this option, you can have any wood species, stain and flooring finish you like. The only downside is that, in general, it can be slightly more prone to damage than your other options and typically more expensive. It would be the obvious choice for any luxury home and is the only type of wood flooring that can be refinished.

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

A convenient option for homeowners is to choose prefinished flooring. Again, this is precisely what you might think it is: hardwood flooring planks that are finished prior to installation. Both engineered and solid hardwood, exotic and common species come in pre-finished options. The upsides are that installation takes less time, you will be able to walk on your floors sooner, and you will not have to inhale sometimes toxic VOCs of polyurethane finishes. It can be more expensive than unfinished planks, but that is usually made up for by negating the final step of installation. It might be difficult to find high-end species, yet many people still consider this the best hardwood flooring option.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring 

Not to be confused with laminate flooring, engineered hardwood flooring is a semi man-made product. However, it is made from several layers of real wood. The top layer is a piece of solid wood lamella, and it is most often prefinished. So, if you choose this option, colors and grains are preserved. At a glance, you won’t be able to tell the difference between solid and engineered hardwood, as you are basically left with the same color and appearance of natural wood flooring.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is another choice that many modern homeowners go with, especially in rentals or homes with small children. Homeowners with laminate flooring claim that it is extremely easy to keep clean. With laminate flooring, you don’t have the high risk of water damage. It is also less prone to sun damage and staining. But, there is a downside: it is obviously not wood. This option doesn’t leave you with the same unique grain variants and color evolution as many hardwood options.

And, Explore Common and Exotic Hardwood Species:

If you like the idea of solid wood flooring, it’s best to look at several different species. There are common American species like Oak, Maple, and Hickory, that you’ve probably already thought about. You should also look at exotic species like Australian Cypress, Merbau, or Burmese Teak. Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the most popular species that we work with to inform your journey to the best hardwood flooring.

Black Cherry:

Black Cherry Hardwood Flooring

The heartwood of Black Cherry is a stunning red-brown color and the sapwood ranges from pale to light brown with an almost pink tint. Rather than using this type of wood for an entire floor, it is usually used for accents and borders, creating a luxury decor feel. This species is more stable and softer than oak with a moderate hardness.


Birch Hardwood Flooring

Birch grain is generally wavy or curly but maintains an even, medium texture. The heartwood of Yellow Birch is usually red-brown while the sapwood is white or yellow. The heartwood of Sweet birch is generally dark brown with reddish tones and the sapwood is typically lighter. It is more stable than red oak and is known for absorbing shock.


Red Oak Hardwood Flooring

Oak grain is coarse with a flame or curvy pattern. White oak varies from light brown to off-white with hints of pink or gray and is naturally protected from many insects and fungi. Red oak has a strong, reddish tint and is slightly less durable than white oak, but is more likely to absorb shock. These are two of the most common species used in flooring. 


Heart Pine Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Southern Yellow Pine and Heart Pine (aka “Blue Pine”) are the two most common Pine species used in flooring. Heart Pine is yellow but contains occasional bluish-black sap stains. Southern Yellow Pine ranges in color from orange and light yellow to yellow and brown. It is known for its knotty grains and is much softer than its rival Oak flooring options.


Sugar Maple Hardwood via @macwoods

Sugar Maple is available in a myriad of colors. The sapwood can range from a creamy or pale white while the heartwood can be creamy white to reddish-brown. It has a closed fine, light grain and subtle appearance overall. Occasionally, on the higher end of the price scale, Maple grain presents quilted, “fiddleback,” or bird’s eye patterns.


Black Walnut Hardwood via @macwoods

Black Walnut, another common American hardwood species, contains a myriad of heartwood tones ranging from beautiful medium browns to almost purple hues. The straight, open grains can occasionally burl or curl, but for the most part, maintain a long brushstroke look.  It is softer but more stable than typical American Red Oak hardwood.

African Padauk:

African padauk Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

African Padauk is a popular exotic hardwood flooring option, mostly because of the way it changes color over time. In the beginning, Padauk floors might be reddish-orange, but will darken to red and can eventually become purplish-brown to black with age. Padauk is significantly harder and more stable than oak, making this one of the most durable available flooring options.  


Merbau Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Merbau has medium to high color variants on each board. It is especially lustrous, with golden yellow streaks throughout. Like Padauk, it changes color with age, typically starting out reddish-orange and eventually turning dark reddish-brown. The sapwood is, however, much lighter than the heartwood. Merbau grain is coarse and either straight, interlocked, or wavy.

Australian Cypress:

Australian Cypress Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Australian Cypress is much more stable and slightly harder than Oak. The heartwood ranges from honey-gold to brown, and the sapwood is generally cream-colored. Cypress grain is generally closed, yet it can often resemble the knotty texture of Pine. While the stability is high, some movement can happen with Cypress after installation. 

Thai/ Burmese Teak:

Thai Burmese Teak Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Thai/ Burmese Teak sapwood is usually a light cream color. The heartwood ranges from dark, golden-brown to yellow-brown. Teak becomes richer in color when exposed to the sun, which is not typical of other hardwoods that often experience sun bleaching over time. It is more stable yet softer than Oak and has a straight, coarse grain with inconsistent texture.

Take a Closer Look at Wood Grains

Each floorboard will have a unique pattern in the wood grain, but there are some basic identifiers in the most common species used in hardwood flooring; one may be more appealing to you than others.

wood grain appearance via @macwoods

Maple, for example, has a fine, light pattern. Oak tends to have a classically beautiful grain pattern that resembles flames. Hickory grains generally have an interesting, jagged, peaked structure that resembles watercolor paintings. Cherry and mahogany, though unique in many other ways, usually have similar grain patterns in that they are non-directional and subtle. Walnut looks like someone painted long, straight brush strokes with various shades of brown on a flat surface. Each is gorgeous in their own way.

While this section is informative about hardwood species and their looks and qualities, this is not inclusive of everything you may want to know. Once you have an idea what you want, it is a good idea to further research species including Janka rating and how to protect hardwood floors from sun bleaching to learn more and make the best hardwood flooring decision. 

Finally, Understand Your Options for Hardwood Finishes:

While the grain examples above showcase various shades of brown, red, and yellow, the final color and luster of your floor will be dictated by the finish that you choose. If you aren’t set on prefinished or laminate floors, you should explore at least a few different finish options.

One of the first questions you might ask is, ‘Do I actually need to finish my floors?’ — wood is lovely on its own after all. The answer is ‘yes.’ If you install hardwood floors, you don’t necessarily have to stain them, but you do need to finish them. Otherwise, you risk exposure to damage and early aging.

Here are some of the most popular hardwood flooring finish options.

  • Wax Finish
  • Polyurethane Finish
  • Acid-Cured Finish
  • Moisture-Cured Urethane Sealer
  • Penetrating Oil Sealer

Each above item has pros and cons. Use this list to choose the best hardwood flooring finish based on your needs and wants.

Closing Self-Examination Questions to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring:

As long as you remember that you should not install hardwood flooring in rooms where they will be exposed to water, you understand all of your options, and you are clear on your budget and preferences, you’re ready for the final self-exam. Here’s what you need to ask to make the best hardwood flooring decision:

  • In which rooms will you install hardwood flooring?
  • What will the foot traffic be like in these rooms?
  • Will you choose solid, engineered, laminate, or prefinished hardwood?
  • In which species are you most interested?
  • What type of hardwood finish do you want?
  • Does your budget match the hardwood flooring options you prefer?

And, when you know the answers to all of these questions, if you still don’t have your mind made up, consult an expert to help you make a final hardwood flooring decision. Or, check out bamboo flooring as an option. Our Denver flooring company, serving the community since 1986, provides the finest quality hardwood floors, service, and installation.

Hardwood Flooring Home Decor Species

This How to Calculate Quarter-Sawn Oak Flooring Costs

Are you interest in converting your floors to quarter-sawn oak? Though quarter-sawn oak flooring costs are usually higher than plain sawn oak, the benefits are worth it. To begin, quarter sawn is less likely to swell. It is more stable and will not absorb moisture the way plain sawn does. The design of quarter sawn is also favorable because of the unique patterns that adorn each plank — the rays on quarter-sawn wood are flagrant flecks that create a lovely decorative feature for your home. But how do you calculate just how much quarter sawn oak flooring costs?

Measuring Quarter-Sawn Oak

The first thing you will want to know is how much wood you will need for the project. You’ll want to measure the dimensions of each room you’d like to convert to hardwood flooring; this is a simple task that you can do at home with a tape measure. Begin by measuring the length and width. Now multiply these numbers together to obtain the square footage of each room.

Quarter-Sawn Planks

Once you’ve configured the measurements of your flooring, you’ll need to choose which planks of quarter sawn you want to install; this is determined primarily by the width, thickness, and figure of your lumber. For low/medium fleck quarter sawn you can expect to pay between $4.08 to $24.20 per board foot based on 8” to 16” widths. For higher fleck quarter sawn it is approximately $4.58 to $27.20 based on the same widths. Use your square footage measurements to calculate how much the planks will cost you in total.

Installing Quarter-Sawn Flooring 

Installation prices vary by location, square footage, and the difficulty of your project. Furniture removal, replacement of subflooring, and removal of original flooring may be hurdles in your process. The best method to access the cost you’ll be considering is to use an online price comparison tool for your area. Clearing old furniture and removing original flooring can help to lower your estimates.

Try to get a few estimates before deciding, as some companies charge less than others. Fall and early winter tend to be down times for flooring installers. Choosing to install during these off seasons can also save you money, decreasing your quarter-sawn oak flooring costs overall.

Final Quarter-Sawn Oak Flooring Costs

After installation, you’ll want to choose your finish. Oiled oak flooring is excellent for a natural look. Natural finish oak floors cost about $1.50 to $4.00 per square footage. Once you’ve decided and calculated the above factors, you’ll total them for your quarter-sawn oak flooring costs.

Maintenance is also necessary when keeping your floor looking it’s best. Over time, the everyday tread will wear on your original oiled oak floor, meaning that you’ll eventually pay more for your floor.

Note: To keep your natural finish oak floors looking their best you’ll need to refinish every ten years or so.

Hardwood Flooring Species

Discovering the Beauty of Oak Wood Floors

Oak FlooringAre you thinking of replacing the carpet in your home with hardwood floors? Consider the natural beauty and warmth of oak wood as your new flooring choice. In a recent survey of designers across the country, Oak came out on top as the favorite of 43% of them.  At MacDonald Hardwoods, you will find wide variety and selection of oak floors that will make a lovely impression when you enter a room. Let our Denver flooring company explain to you why oak is the best choice to use when deciding which hardwood flooring to use in areas of your home.

Wood flooring is a commonly selected as an upgrade from carpet that visually expands the size of a space and adds an increased value to your property should you need to sell your home in the future. Oak flooring, with its fine grain finish, has a timeless quality that is complimentary to any style or theme already present in your home. Its durability and clean lines also make it an ideal choice for any size home.

There are many benefits of oak floors, including that they:

  • Are eco-friendly
  • Are a thermal insulator
  • Reduce heating costs
  • Are easy to maintain and clean
  • Have a long lifespan
  • Are durable and easy to restore

Oak is an eco-friendly sustainable wood with a carbon footprint that is considerably less that other types of flooring options. This factor is important when selecting what type of hardwood to install in your home. An eco-friendly option will ultimately save on excess carbon emissions in the environment, resulting in a reduction of your monthly heating costs.

Highly resistant to moisture and easy to stain, oak is a popular choice for a durable solid wood surface with a long lifespan. A preferred choice for musicians, this flooring will add depth to the acoustics of a room, is very comfortable under foot, and adds a lovely aroma to a space.

Oak flooring is a wonderful option to use in any or all the rooms in your home. MacDonald Flooring is a leader of hardwood, tile, and vinyl flooring. Contact us today at 800-639-3006 to discuss the wide variety of selections and styles for your home’s flooring update!

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