Hickory vs Maple Flooring: Which is Better for Your Home?

Debating between hickory and maple flooring? You’re not alone! If you’re planning a home renovation or remodel, flooring is one of the most important choices you’ll make. It’s an investment, both financially and emotionally. You want it to look great and stand up to everyday wear and tear while also meeting your budget. So which type of flooring should you choose? Read on to learn the pros and cons of hickory vs maple flooring and decide which is the right one for you.

Quick Summary of Key Points

Hickory is a hardwood with a prominent grain pattern while Maple is known for its smooth, even texture. Hickory tends to be harder and more durable than Maple, whereas Maple is favored for its light color options and uniform appearance.

“Choosing between Hickory and Maple really boils down to what you value most in your floors. Hickory tends to be more durable, while Maple can offer a smoother, cleaner aesthetic. It’s my belief that both choices have their merits, but the best one depends on the specific needs and lifestyle of the homeowner.”

Gregory Buchanan , Certified Flooring Contractor

Hickory Hardwood Flooring

Hickory hardwood flooring is known for its strength, durability, and striking visual appeal. Its intricate grain pattern and beautiful stains make it an ideal fit for a variety of home decor schemes. Hickory has a very pronounced grain pattern—and two different grain patterns: Checkered and Striped. The Checkered grain pattern occurs in wider pieces of Hickory, while the Striped grain pattern can be found in narrower planks.

When it comes to hardness and scratch-resistance, Hickory ranks near the top of all wood flooring types. This makes it an ideal choice for those with high-traffic areas in their homes or those who have pets whose nails could potentially cause scratches. That being said, it’s important to note that although Hickory is hard and resistant to scratches, it is not completely scratch-proof; durable finishes should be used on Hickory floors to maximize their longevity.

Finally, because of the wide range of colors available in Hickory hardwood flooring—from subtle blondes to deep russets—it can easily be tailored to individual design tastes, giving it widespread interior design appeal.

Given its unique visual appeal, strength, and long-lasting properties, Hickory is often considered one of the best solid hardwood flooring choices available today. To really understand how Hickory stacks up against other materials like Maple, it’s important to compare their grain types and hardness levels. These topics will be explored further in the next section about “Grain and Hardnesses”.

  • Hickory and maple timber both have a Janka hardness rating of 1,450, making them both incredibly durable hardwoods.
  • Hickory wood is more widely available than maple but is typically more expensive.
  • Maple is more uniform in colour than hickory which can have varying grain patterns and tones.

Essential Points

Hickory hardwood flooring is known for its strength, durability, intricate grain pattern, beautiful stains and wide range of colors. It ranks near the top in hardness and scratch-resistance, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas or those with pets. Hickory is often considered one of the best solid hardwood flooring choices available today. To better understand how it stacks up against other materials like Maple, it is important to compare their grain types and hardness levels.

Grain and Hardnesses

It is important to consider grain and hardnesses when choosing a flooring material, as it influences both looks and durability.

When comparing hickory and maple flooring, hickory remains the hardest of the two, with a rating of 1820 on the Janka Hardness Scale. Hickory is a bolder looking choice because of its darker hue and richer figuring in the wood grain. In comparison, maple has a rating of 1450 on the Janka Hardness Scale, which makes it less durable but also easier to maintain than hickory. While hickory’s grain may be bolder, maple offers a more refined and lighter look with a wide variety of color choices.

Both hickory and maple provide unique sensibilities for your home that require considered assessment when making your decision. The aesthetic appeal of each type should be weighed against its hardness, maintenance requirements and availability, among other characteristics.

While hickory is harder, both are good flooring options to consider when decorating your home. Moving forward onto Maple Hardwood Flooring will allow us to compare further qualities that go into selecting a flooring material for your home.

Maple Hardwood Flooring

Maple hardwood flooring is praised for its resilience and durability, making it an excellent choice for a variety of living spaces. It comes in both solid and engineered varieties. Solid maple flooring, made up of one piece of solid wood, can be sanded and refinished several times over the course of its lifetime, while engineered maple flooring, made up of several layers of wood that are pressed together, is typically thinner than the solid option but cannot be refinished as often.

When considering maple hardwood flooring, there are pros and cons to consider. On the plus side, maple floors tend to be very hard-wearing and resistant to damage with either a clear finish or stained; they offer superior levels of noise dampening compared to other hardwoods like oak; and since it’s naturally light in color, it helps brighten up dark rooms. On the downside, because this type of flooring is so durable, it’s also harder on the feet when walking over it—although proper cushioning can help alleviate any discomfort—and it is not as scratch-resistant as some other woods may be.

In terms of aesthetic and color options, however, maple hardwood flooring offers plenty of choices. The range of colors can run from creamy pale whites to deep browns with red undertones. Maple floors can even be stained to resemble other types of wood such as walnut or cherry. Whether you’re going for something traditional or more contemporary with your décor, you’re sure to find just the right combination with maple hardwood flooring.

Next we will discuss the various aesthetic and color options available with maple hardwood flooring.

Aesthetic and Color Options

When comparing Hickory and Maple flooring, the aesthetic and color options are key components of the decision-making process. Hickory is known for its versatility in terms of color options – it can have russet, brown, and even blonde colors – whereas Maple wood is more limited, offering options ranging from white to reddish-brown. Hickory floors also tend to be naturally softer and graining that looks “tiger-striped” in nature, with occasional knots and whirls. This characteristic makes it popular with homeowners who favor a traditional rustic feel.

Maple floors can be stained to take on a range of colors including walnut and espresso, however it cannot mimic the effects of more diverse wood types such as oak or hickory. For example, those wanting a high contrast look in their flooring should lean toward choosing hickory as it tends to have more variety in terms of colors and shades within it’s grain patterns. Furthermore, fewer knots and swirling lines make maple a great option if creating a clean look is desired.

Regardless of which type of flooring you decide is best for your aesthetic needs, both Hickory and Maple offer an array of colors that appeal to a broad range of tastes. In the next section, we will discuss installation costs associated with these two types of hardwood floors.

Installation and Costs

When it comes to installing hickory or maple flooring, there are certainly pros and cons to both. Hickory is a hardwood that typically calls for professional installation due to its hardness and thickness, which could add costs to the overall project. Meanwhile, maple is also very sturdy—though not as hard as hickory—so homeowners opting for a do-it-yourself approach might find it less intimidating.

When it comes to cost comparison between the two, hickory typically tends to be more expensive because of its hardness and density. Maple, on the other hand, can generally be found at more affordable prices due to its availability. It’s important to note that these prices can vary depending on the species of wood being used, so comparing different brands and styles of each material can help you determine which option better fits your budget.

Regardless of which type you choose, having a qualified contractor estimate installation costs or doing a proper cost analysis yourself will help ensure your project runs smoothly in terms of both budget and timeline.

Now that we have discussed the installation and cost differences between hickory and maple flooring, let’s move on to the next section where we will discuss longevity and durability.

Longevity and Durability

When deciding between hickory and maple flooring, it is important to consider the longevity and durability of each option. Depending on your preference, one wood may be better suited for your needs than the other:

Hickory Flooring:

Hickory flooring is an extremely hard and resilient timber that makes for a long-lasting and durable material for your home. It is generally considered the hardest and strongest domestic hardwood flooring available in North America. Compared to other popular hardwood options such as oak or maple, hickory floors can typically last up to twice as long as these woods. The thickness of the boards is also key when considering the strength of hickory over other species – with typical boards ranging from 3/4” to 5/8” thick, hickory stands up well against everyday wear and tear. Furthermore, its natural grain pattern gives added durability due to its anticlastic surface structure, resulting in a more resistant wood surface with outstanding moisture absorption qualities.

Maple Flooring:

Maple flooring also presents a very durable wood choice for homes. Chosen by many homeowners for its striking grain patterns and wide selection of tones, maple also offers significant durability. Compared to other hardwoods, maple has less shock resistance making it just slightly more susceptible to damage from dropped objects; however, it is still an incredibly strong flooring material if taken care of properly. Maple’s natural grain pattern allows it to stand up to heavy foot traffic and normal use over time; however, it will not be able to sustain dents or scratches as well as a hickory floor would. Furthermore, since its surface is softer than other hardwoods – such as red oak or hickory – it should be refinished more regularly to maintain a like-new look over extended periods of time.

Overall, both hickory and maple bring unique strengths and durability benefits depending on your specific preferences and needs – while hickory’s hardness ensures a longer lifespan, maple offers a stunning aesthetic if taken care of properly. It is ultimately important to weigh both different characteristics when choosing between these two woods before making a final decision.

Finally, it’s also essential to consider all pros and cons of each type of wood before coming down on any final decisions – the next section will discuss in detail the many pros and cons of hickory and maple flooring.

Pros and Cons of Hickory and Maple Flooring

When it comes to choosing the perfect flooring option for your home, hickory and maple are two great options. Both wood varieties provide aesthetically pleasing style, durability, and performance. However, just like any other types of hardwood flooring, each has its own set of pros and cons.

Hickory is a popular choice because of its unique grain pattern and visible graining. It is also known for its hardness, making it ideal for heavily used areas with heavy foot traffic or pet claws. It also offers large color variation which makes it great for creating interesting visuals. Like many other hardwood varieties, however, hickory can be prone to scratches or dents.

Maple is generally not as hard as hickory so it might show more wear overtime but it is an abundant option that is usually less expensive than hickory. Maple floors have a very uniform look and tend to accept stain well if you’re looking to match different rooms in the house or create an overall unified aesthetics throughout the home. Its uniformity also allows for a smoother installation process as each board looks nearly identical. On the downside, maple does not have the varied grain patterns like hickory does.

Both hickory and maple offer their benefits to homeowners looking for hardwood flooring options but both come with different drawbacks as well. Ultimately, how one evaluates those pros and cons will determine which option is best for their home. In the next section we will look at what factors to consider when choosing between hickory and maple flooring solutions so you make the decision that works best for you in terms of aesthetics and practicality.

How to Choose between Hickory and Maple Flooring

When selecting a flooring material for your home, it is important to consider both the aesthetics and durability of each option. Hickory and maple are two popular hardwood flooring types that can add beauty and value to any home. However, they also come with some key differences in terms of characteristics, price, and installation difficulty that make them better suited for different projects. Below, we will explore the strengths and weaknesses of each type of wood to help you determine which is best for your home.


Hickory and maple have distinct visual differences that make them unique choices for any room in your home. Hickory is a hardwood with an attractive grain pattern featuring prominent knots and burls that give it depth and character. Maple, on the other hand, has a smoother grain pattern with subtle color variations throughout. This makes it a great choice for homeowners looking to create a more polished look in their living space.


When it comes to durability, hickory is generally considered to be the tougher of the two materials. It is highly resistant to dents and scratches, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas like hallways or staircases where furniture frequently needs to be moved around. Maple can also be durable when treated properly with a protective finish but may require more maintenance over time than hickory to maintain its longevity.

Installation Difficulty:

Installing either type of flooring is a labor-intensive process that should only be performed by professionals outfitted with the right tools and safety gear. Hickory typically takes longer to install due to its greater density, while maple may be quicker as it tends to cut more easily into different shapes and patterns. Despite this difference, installing either material does require significant effort from experienced technicians who understand the nuances associated with working with hardwood floors.


The cost of hardwood flooring can vary greatly depending on quality and other factors, but both hickory and maple are generally priced similarly when comparing similar grades. Options that offer greater durability or higher aesthetic standards (stain options or wider planks) will typically cost more regardless of whether you choose hickory or maple as your flooring material. It’s important to keep this in mind when setting a budget for your project as extra considerations should be factored into the final price tag.

Ultimately, choosing between hickory vs maple flooring comes down to personal preference based on durability needs, budget, aesthetics preferences, and installation difficulty levels. While both materials are beautiful additions to any home, hickory may be better suited for those looking for added toughness while maple appeals more towards homeowners hoping for a softer look without sacrificing on resilience over time. Ultimately whichever option you decide upon should satisfy your particular needs while adding value and beauty to any living space in your home

Frequently Asked Questions Answered

How do hickory and maple floors compare in terms of durability?

Hickory and maple floors have similar longevity and are both generally considered very durable flooring materials. Hickory is slightly more durable than maple, as its hardness rating is 1820, while maple has a hardness rating of 1450. This makes hickory more scratch-resistant and long-lasting compared to maple. Hickory can also cope with high levels of humidity better than maple, making it a great option for rooms with frequent moisture. Both types of hardwood do require regular maintenance however, such as waxing and sanding to keep them in top condition.

In terms of cost, which type of flooring is more economical?

Overall, hickory flooring is more economical than maple flooring in terms of cost. Hickory flooring usually has a lower price point than maple, and also requires less maintenance due to its durability and natural hardness. Hickory is also less likely to scratch or dent from heavy furniture and foot traffic. The installation process for both types of flooring is relatively similar, but due to hickory’s inherently low cost, there may be some savings associated with that as well. On the other hand, maple flooring may have higher labor costs due to the fact that it requires more refinishing upkeep over time.




8 thoughts on “Hickory vs Maple Flooring: Which is Better for Your Home?”

  1. From my professional experience, if you’re aiming for a rustic, more unique look with durability to match, then hickory might be your go-to. Yet, maple, often with its more subtle grain but sturdy nature, can offer a timeless and versatile aesthetic to your home.

  2. I reckon you’re right on the money there, Vincenzo. The charm and character of hickory sure make it an interesting choice, but I’ve seen the subtle beauty of maple win many hearts over in my career.

  3. I recall an instance in my own home renovation journey when I had a tough choice to make between hickory and maple flooring for my dining room. After intense contemplation, I chose maple due to its subtle elegance over hickory’s more particularly striking grain. It harmonized well with my existing décor, and after eight years of heavy use, it has held up remarkably well.

  4. Just like Wilfred’s comment here, I too had to choose between hickory and maple for my own living room. As an architect, I appreciate the bold statement hickory can make, but considering the Scandinavian decor theme of my house, I opted for maple. Its subtle grace complimented the minimalist design beautifully enhancing the aesthetic appeal. Years later, I still second that choice seeing how well it has endured through time.

  5. When designing for clients, especially families with children or pets, I’ve found that hickory flooring is often a better fit due to its durability and ability to hide scratches or wear. It truly adds a rustic charm while promising longevity. The pronounced grain pattern can be a striking feature if paired correctly with other elements of the room. It’s important not just to consider aesthetic but also practicality when living in the space.

  6. While I see your point about hickory’s durability, Myra, in my experience the smoothness and uniform appearance of maple flooring adds an elegant touch to modern designs which is hard to replicate with the inconsistent grain patterns in hickory.

  7. Avatar
    Wilhelmina Sage

    In my professional experience, both hickory and maple have their merits when chosen wisely as per the home’s overall design. However, I lean more towards hickory flooring due to its resistance to damage which is particularly advantageous if you have pets or children who could potentially scratch the floor.

  8. Avatar
    Kallista Featheringdale

    Having worked with both types of flooring, I like to think of them as two fine wines – each hold their distinctive charms. Maple, despite being less grainy, often exudes a smoother finish akin to a subtle yet complex white wine, whereas hickory with its prominent grain pattern can be compared to a robust red dripping with character.

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