Hickory Hardwood Flooring: Pros, Cons & Everything You Need To Know

Kenneth Wilson

Thinking about installing hickory floors in your home? Hickory hardwood floors continue to be a popular choice among many homeowners in the country.

Thanks to its durability and unique style, it gives you one-of-a-kind flooring that will undoubtedly impress any guest.

That said, it's still essential to determine the pros and cons of hickory hardwood floors, so you know if it's the best choice for your home.

The Basics of Hickory Hardwood Floors


Generally, hickory is not a rare hardwood flooring material. But it’s highly durable, visually appealing, and improves the resale value of your home.

Like many other flooring options, however, hickory floors also come with a fair share of downside. Most of these setbacks boil down to different personal preferences, though.

Brief History


Hickory is among the most common tree species in the USA and Europe. There are 12 primary Hickory species in the country, with all materials considerably usable lumber.

You'll be surprised– some hickory trees produce edible nuts (Pecans). If you're a big fan of pecan pie, hickory trees are your best friend!

Types of Hickory Wood


For your reference, hickory trees are available in different sizes: starting from shellbark trees (up to 60 feet) to large shagbark trees (growing up to 80 to 100 feet).

Most hickory tree species produce flowers with the characteristic droopy leaves. When it comes to wood grain, an essential factor in flooring, you can count on most hickory wood materials to be relatively similar.

Hickory Wood for Floors


Hickory is a highly durable selection if you're picking between domestic lumber choices. It doesn't require high maintenance and is known to be water-resistant.

Not to mention, it has a unique look and charm that will impress anyone at first glance. Homeowners that aren’t too fond of the rustic appearance may easily opt for stained options to meet their home’s interior aesthetic

Fortunately, if you don’t want to limit your options to solid hickory wood only– you can pretty much consider other hardwood flooring alternatives (such as fake wood options).

You’ll be surprised to see hickory patterns from cork floors to concrete floors that mimic the appearance of wood.

Factors to Keep in Mind in Choosing Hickory Floorboards


Before you invest in hickory floors for your home, here are a few critical factors to keep in mind.

Amount of Heartwood


Depending on how the hickory tree log is cut, your floorboards will generally display a blend of brown, off-white, and tan colors.

Hickory floors made specifically from heartwood have better color consistency. Not to mention, it's also more durable and less prone to dents and scratches.

Floorboard Length


If you opt for smaller floorboards, expect more seams. This may only cause water to seep in and leave damage.

In contrast, more extended floorboards have a more consistent look. Homeowners planning to follow a rustic look for their living spaces can consider this an essential factor.

Double Curing


This refers to an intricate process where the wood is air-dried for about 3 to 6 months. Then, it is kiln-dried before the planks are commercially manufactured, so they are moisture-free. Double curing is critical for hickory floorboards to enhance their durability and performance.

Pros & Cons of Hickory Wood Flooring


To determine if hickory floors are the best choice for your home needs, let’s discuss the good and the bad if you choose to go with this route.

Spoiler alert: You can expect better than bad. The main disadvantages pertain to its appearance– which will depend on personal preference.

Pros:

  • Lightens Rooms: Natural hickory floors can lighten any room drastically. Hickory features unique grain patterns and a light, natural tone. You can also find this material in plenty of variations– from creamy brown hues to a shade of dark brown. Don't worry. You can also choose darker hickory varieties close to teak flooring colors.
  • Takes Stains Well: If you’re one of those homeowners who aren’t big fans of the natural hue of hickory– the good news is, this material takes stains and finishes rather well. You can keep the gorgeous grain in whatever hue you prefer (depending on your home’s aesthetic).
  • Harder Than Oak Flooring: Are you looking for scratch-resistant floors? Hickory wood is a great option to consider, with an 1820 score on the Janka scale. It's around 30% stronger than the standard white oak floors.
  • Requires Little Maintenance: Even though hickory floors are notably durable and rugged, you'll discover that it requires little to almost no maintenance on your end. That is if you follow proper upkeep for your hickory wood floors.
  • Highly durable: You have plenty of options to consider in choosing between different hardwood floor types (oak, maple, and pine). However, hickory is one contender you shouldn't underestimate. Domestic hickory trees grown in the USA are notably one of the most rigid and most durable surfaces available in the market today. It's also less prone to most types of damage, making it ideal for use in high-traffic living spaces such as living rooms and kitchens.
  • Increases Your Home Value: You'll find that hickory floors will cost you more than oak flooring. However, this high upfront cost will also increase the resale value of your property than other typical wood floorings (so it’s best to think of it as a long-term investment). Note: While the unique look of hickory floors only appeals to a specific audience, this means you will need to find buyers to make a sale.

Cons:

  • More expensive than oak: As previously mentioned, hickory floors are cheaper than other exotic wooden flooring materials like mahogany. However, if you compare it to the likes of oak floors, it might still be quite expensive. You can buy solid hickory floors for $4 per sq/ft on average. This is a dollar more than standard solid oak material. If you're planning to change a room's entire flooring to hickory floors– it may cost you about $100 to $200 more.
  • Not so Eco-Friendly: Several hickory species are borderline endangered. If you want to stick with environmentally-friendly floors, you may want to consider other options such as hemp flooring.
  • Grain Pattern can be Visually Unappealing to Some: Unfortunately, some people aren't fond of hickory's unique grain pattern. It would be pretty challenging for you to find a prospective buyer should you plan to place your property on the market at some point.

Are Hickory Floors the Right Choice for My Home?


Before anything else, it's best to consult a local flooring expert to double-check the areas of your home in which hickory hardwood flooring can be ideally installed.

  • It's not ideal to use in a bathroom
  • It can be a so-so flooring material for a sunroom
  • But it's best suitable for living room and bedroom floors

If you’re a big fan of the rustic appearance and grain patterns of natural hickory– consider it an excellent flooring material for your next project!

Just keep in mind how it may cost you a bit more than other standard flooring choices. If your heart is not 100% into it, there are plenty of other flooring types to consider. (Related: EVP Flooring For Your Home: Pros, Cons & Costs)

Kenneth Wilson
January 4, 2022
Cost Guides, Flooring

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.

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