Hickory Flooring Pros And Cons

hickory flooring pros and cons

Hickory is a wood flooring that is derived from four of the 19 hickory tree species that exist. This tree is native to North America and can grow between 60 and 100 feet tall but takes a long time to grow.

Hickory flooring pros and cons weigh heavily towards the cons as it has a handful of high and low characteristics that all combine to make the flooring as it is. Although, it is a very tough wood; that can take a beating, it’s cost, warping, and aesthetic conflicts makes it hard to make a choice.

The advantages of hickory may, however, be countered by its cons. There are problems with hickory hardwood flooring that can make you give the flooring option a second thought.

This wood is quite difficult to work with due to its extreme dryness, which makes it prone to splitting when being worked upon.

Yes, we all drool over a strong hardwood, but hickory might be a little bit too strong that it blunts metal tools that are used to work on it. For more hickory flooring pros and cons to help you make a better flooring choice, keep reading

Related: How to Tell What Type of Wood Floor you Have

Is Hickory a Good Flooring Choice

Yes, it is! Hickory is an absolutely good flooring choice; it is highly durable and requires minimal maintenance; it’s super water-resistant with a super-unique look and charm.

These trees can take up to 200 years to mature, so of course, this flooring isn’t readily available; only 2% of the commercially available wood in the US is hickory wood.

Hickory wood has quite a unique coloring. The outer sapwood is creamy, with slight pinkish tones running through it. The heartwood, which is closer to the core, is a dark reddish-brown. This wood also has a unique and distinct graining that is yet more subtle than other wood like oak.

There are two different types of hickory wood flooring; solid hickory flooring and engineered hickory flooring. Solid hickory flooring has a width of about 3″ to 5″ wide with a thickness of ¾”. This sort of hickory flooring option is available in three finishes: standard smooth, wire-brushed or scraped.

On the other hand, engineered hickory flooring consists of a plywood base, and a composite of a thin layer of real hickory wood is glued over the base. The planks have widths ranging from 5″ up to 8″. They can also be 3/8″ or ½” thick. They are available in many different finishes as well.

So if you’re not out for solid wood flooring, you can opt for hardwood floor alternatives and fake wood flooring options with hickory patterns available in other floorings like cork and even concrete; they look closely similar to real solid wood!

You can also alter the unique and original rustic appearance of hickory hardwood flooring if that isn’t your style. A great thing with a solid floor is that you are able to change existing stains and apply that of your choice.

Read: What Is Vintage Hardwood Flooring?

Hickory Flooring Pros And Cons

Listing the good and bad properties of hickory will help your decision-making when planning a long-term home modification.

The Advantages Of Hickory Floors

1. Beautiful and Rustic Appearance

One of the best things about hickory flooring is its high aesthetic appeal. This flooring is available in a number of options, including planks and laminates, and typically has a lighter shade that brightens up a room.

When the wood is waxed, it gives the reflection of natural light a soft, warm glow that adds elegance and warmth to your room. Hickory has a darker wood grain and knots that maintains a very natural look even if you stain or wax the floor.

2. Durability

Any flooring will be subjected to abuse at one point of use. You may accidentally scrape across the floor surface with furniture as you move them or spill food and drink, footwears may also track in dirt or mud onto the floor; these are different reasons the floors’ natural light may begin fading over time.

The hardness of hickory adequately matches the wear and tear that comes with the use of flooring; they are highly resistant to marring and also holds stain better than many other types of wood; you can further increase hickory’s water resistance by waxing the floor.

The Disadvantages Of Hickory Floors

As they say, everything with advantages also has disadvantages, and hickory floors are not left out. Although it may seem like the perfect flooring, here are some problems with hickory hardwood flooring.

However, it may interest you to know that many of the disadvantages of hickory floors fall on a case-by-case basis, so it may not apply to you.

1. Aesthetic Conflicts

You might experience a bit of aesthetic conflict with hickory flooring because some of the qualities that make the flooring desirable also carry a disadvantage.

Their visual appeal enhanced by the wood’s light shade also makes scuff marks and scratches very visible in high traffic areas. Lighter woods is not a great complement to rustic room designs and contrast with darker English-style studies or similar dark-themed rooms.

Marks created during the cutting and sanding process of the wood are also more visible than darker woods. Their tight knot grain also gives the floor an overly “busy” look, especially when using narrow boards.

2. Cost

There are different expensive wood floorings such as rosewood and walnut, but hickory is also topping the charts when it comes to cost. Although they are very durable, hickory flooring may not prove cost-effective when compared to other options.

This is particularly true if you are purchasing pre-finished hickory wood. This flooring may be a good choice when you are searching for a specific look, but you might likely find cheaper alternatives, all of which are aesthetically pleasing and durable, like hickory.

You can also opt for low-quality options for hickory, but it may be a risky choice as these vary greatly in both color and durability from real hickory.

3. Requires Professional Installers

If you are looking for a floor you can install yourself as a DIY project, then hickory may not be your best choice, although you carry out the installation yourself if you so desire, equipped with adequate flooring installation knowledge, if you want a smooth and beautiful result, you may want to hire a professional installer.

The thickness of hickory wood is both a curse and a blessing; their hardness is responsible for their undying durability but would also be the reason you end up with multiple blunt and blunt cutting blades.

You will experience great difficulty cutting and sanding the wood. To prep the wood for stain, it must undergo water popping to open up the wood’s density so it can absorb stains.

You would also need a wood conditioner to get an even stain, although the extra effort pays off in some way as any applied stain holds better on the hickory than with other hardwoods.

You can also make the installation less tedious by purchasing your boards pre-engineered and even pre-finished. This gets you boards that are already cut into sizes and stained, although they come at a higher cost.

The difficulty in installing or replacing hickory floors should be put into consideration before you decide to choose them to be a semi-permanent flooring option; hickory flooring is an investment that costs both time and money, so choose carefully.

4. Warping

Hickory flooring is predisposed to warping and swelling more than other types of wood if not installed properly before installation; hickory wood must be properly dried and allowed to acclimate to local conditions for a few days before it is installed.

Read: Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring


The hickory flooring pros and cons discussed in this article will help you make the right choice of flooring for your space.

Although hickory wood is hailed to be the unbeatable and indestructible wood flooring option, there also exist problems with hickory hardwood flooring, one of which is its difficulty to use and install; this is caused by a feature that gives them the indestructible title.

With a clash of pros and cons, deciding if the hickory floor is right for you is a completely personal discussion depending on your needs.

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