Choosing the Right Material for Hardwood Floors

Finished Cherry floor

Finished Cherry floor

While hardwood floors offer beauty and a fairly easy-to-maintain surface, they require care in selecting and preparing the right materials. A smooth, consistent finish and an even, flat surface are vital for a quality hardwood floor. The floor will be seen and walked across by everyone who enters the building. A well crafted hardwood floor helps define the room and will contribute significant value to the property.

Depending on the color scheme and the surrounding decor of your home, you can choose from a number of hardwoods that will work well for flooring.

At J. Gibson McIlvain lumber company, we ensure that the wood you receive ranks in the highest grades and shows consistency in grain and color.

A few popular hardwood choices include the following:

Tall walnut dresser

Tall walnut dresser


Sourced from Pennsylvania and other regions in the Ohio Valley, Appalachian Cherry is a solid, heavy wood popular for interior applications.

Lacking a distinct grain, this wood lends itself well to being cut into multiple floorboards that will lay side by side. Careful selection of wood along with using the right stain will ensure a floor’s color and pattern looks consistent across boards. Learn more.


A rich dark brown color, craftsmen have used Walnut in furniture, flooring, and other indoor architectural work for centuries. Almost as popular as Cherry, many flooring manufacturers use Walnut to create floor boards.

With hardness at a mudguard level, the wood cuts and finishes readily. While the color right after milling can vary from brown to purple, and even to a cream color, steaming the wood evens out the spectrum to a dark chocolate brown color. Learn more.

Sapele doors

Sapele doors


Imported from Africa, Sapele ranks on the soft end for hardwood, lending itself well to cutting and machining. Highly visible stripes on the wood alternate between light and dark, so this wood works well if you want a noticeable grain on your floors.

This wood also tends to cost less than many other imported hardwoods, offering an option to save while not sacrificing quality. Learn more.

Red Oak

Readily available at reasonable cost, this wood grows throughout a large portion of North America. For consistency in wood color and grain, we sell Red Oak primarily from regions further north, where colder weather tends to produce more durable material.

You may want to stain Red Oak for a better chance of a homogeneous surface due to the abundance of pores in the wood. Learn more.

White Oak

White Oak

White Oak

Also ubiquitous throughout North America, White Oak provides strength and a straight grain. This wood works well for consistent appearance across larger boards and so is a good choice for wider floor boards.

Also useful for furniture and cabinets, a kitchen could be planned to use this wood with flooring, cabinets, and counters to match. Careful finishing and staining will enhance White Oak’s look for any floor. Learn more.

Many hardwoods will work well for constructing floor boards. J. Gibson McIlvain can send raw lumber for a flooring company to do the rest of the work or can groove the wood in advance. Consider other construction in the home, color schemes, and cost when selecting the right wood for a hardwood floor project.

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Moulding quality control at J Gibson McIlvain

Moulding quality control at J Gibson McIlvain

J. Gibson McIlvain Company

Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company ( is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.

As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.

Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.

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