Solid hardwood floors are on many homeowners’ bucket lists. But when it comes time to actually choose the right flooring material for your home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed!
If you’re a fan of light-colored wood flooring, maple is an obvious choice. This beautiful hardwood is affordable, tough, and easy to source. Plus, it’s more environmentally friendly than some of the other most popular wood varieties on the market.
Although maple is incredibly hard, it isn’t the most durable wood flooring overall. Homeowners must use caution when installing this material in rooms prone to temperature or humidity changes. And if you want to stain your new hardwood flooring now or in the future, maple is far from the best option.
Here’s what you need to know about maple flooring and whether it’s right for your home:
What Are the Pros of Maple Flooring?
Beautiful Natural Color
Many homeowners choose maple flooring for the color alone. This hardwood offers a wonderful finish without the use of additional stains.
Maple wood boasts a creamy blonde color. This finish pairs perfectly with modern design trends like Scandinavian and Bohemian. Compared to darker varieties of hardwood, maple can give any living space a bright and airy aesthetic.
Fits Many Budgets
Maple wood is available in many different grades. While some grades of maple are higher quality than others, several are suitable for use as residential flooring.
So whether you opt for solid hardwood or engineered flooring, maple fits into almost any budget.
Extremely Hard Finish
Maple is one of the hardest species of hardwood on the market. Heavy impacts are far less likely to dent maple than other types of hardwood.
If you need proof of maple’s durability, keep in mind that this wood is often used to finish bowling alleys. And few households will experience the same degree of wear and tear as your neighborhood bowling center!
This is obviously great news for anyone thinking about using maple for their home’s floors.
There’s no need to visit a specialty retailer to get your hands on high-quality maple flooring. This wood is available almost anywhere.
Part of the reason maple is so popular in home construction is its sheer sustainability. Maple trees grow much faster than many other species, resulting in far fewer resources being consumed to create the same amount of wood.
Plus, maple trees grow across the entire globe. There’s no need for harmful deforestation (though, sadly, it does still happen) or long-distance transportation when farming this type of hardwood.
What Are the Cons of Maple Flooring?
Difficult to Stain
If the natural color of maple isn’t your cup of tea, it might be best to skip this flooring material entirely. Or, at the very least, invest in pre-stained maple wood for your home.
The very tight grain of maple wood means that it doesn’t play well with some stains. Trying to stain maple flooring yourself will often lead to a blotchy finish. Professional staining yields much better results but isn’t always an option for those refinishing an existing floor.
Prone to Scratching
Don’t mistake maple’s hardness for all-around damage resistance. While maple flooring will hold up to heavy impacts, it’s more vulnerable to scratching than other types of hardwood.
Scratches can be prevented by properly sealing your maple floors for added protection. But skipping this step (or not performing routine maintenance) could result in unsightly and uncomfortable gouges in your hardwood flooring.
May Warp and Split
Maple is very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. This can result in unattractive warping or splitting in the wood over time.
Think carefully about where you want to install hardwood flooring in your home and whether those areas experience frequent atmospheric changes. Avoid installing maple wood in moisture-prone spaces like bathrooms, kitchens, or sunrooms.
Minimal Grain Pattern
If you’re drawn to hardwood flooring for the stunning natural grain, maple is not for you!
Maple features minimal grain patterns, which creates a smooth finish that many people find desirable. However, this same trait is a big turn-off for homeowners who want a rustic textured appearance to their new flooring.
Sensitive to Light
It’s not unusual for hardwood flooring to fade or discolor with consistent sun exposure. Maple wood, in particular, tends to turn yellow or amber with regular light exposure.
The sunlight from a window or glass door can lead to one part of your maple floor being a different color than the rest. Strategically arranging furniture or using area rugs can help prevent this from happening.
Although these changes are unavoidable — they are the result of natural oxidation in the wood — certain stains and sealants may exacerbate them. Research the potential for products to speed up oxidation before applying them to your maple floor.
Maple flooring is incredibly versatile and fits within most homeowners’ budgets. Is it the right choice for you?
On top of being affordable, maple wood is also better for the environment than many popular alternatives. Anyone who prefers bright, airy interior decor should consider installing maple floors in their living spaces. This wood is remarkably hard and offers a beautiful finish without the use of stains.
Of course, no hardwood is perfect. Despite the hardness of maple flooring, it’s still vulnerable to scratches, warping, and splitting. Regular sun exposure can also damage maple floors by causing discoloration. And if you want the ability to stain your hardwood floors, maple’s tight grain pattern is far from ideal.
Do you think maple wood’s affordability and sustainability outweigh the potential cons? Which rooms would you consider installing maple flooring in your own home? Let us know in the comments!