Choices of Flooring

How durable is walnut flooring?

by Roy Akirov
November, 2018

How durable is walnut flooring?

There’s no doubt that walnut wood looks beautiful in any interior design. But how durable is walnut flooring?

Putting a sleek and stylish floor in your home or commercial premises is not simply about the “here and now”. You want this investment to last. You also want your flooring to retain its flawless appearance over many years.

walnut floor in commercial office

That includes it not deteriorating, even when used in family homes and public areas – the sort of places that are prone to heavy foot traffic and lots of activity. Don’t have your room layout to be decided by how best to cover up dints, dents, scratches and other damage on the floor!

To truly answer the question “how durable is walnut flooring”, we need to start by looking at the source of the materials.

The unique nature of walnut

Walnut has been a much-loved material for home and furniture construction for centuries. This includes walnut wood cabinets from 17th and 18th century Europe that are now the star attraction in museums around the globe.

This enduring popularity is easily understandable.

It is one of the most appealing American hardwoods for its appearance and natural features. Responsible growers can provide a sustainable supply of this fantastic wood, for many domestic and commercial applications.

Walnut is a deciduous hardwood that is strong, but also more pliant than other wood species.

There are various species of walnut used in different applications, including quality flooring. This includes dark black walnut but also American, Asian and Brazilian variations.

The grain of walnut – the fine patterns you can see when the tree is cut – is straight. However, this grain becomes wavier if the wood is cut closer to the roots.

walnut flooring material slab

The advantages of walnut for flooring

Walnut’s timeless appeal comes largely from the fact it is visually beautiful. Its color can vary from light to intense brown, depending on both the part of the tree and the species that is being used.

Though it is incredibly strong, as already mentioned, walnut wood is often more pliant than other hardwood.

The relative degree of resistance offered by different woods is measured by something called the Janka hardness scale. It is traditionally calculated by the amount of force needed to drive a steel ball into a wood sample. Here in the US, the results are expressed in pounds-force (lbf).

The variation in the Janka hardness of various flooring materials is wide. And the different species of walnut also provide different readings. For example, we stock Brazilian walnut that has a high Janka score.

Rhodium Floors is always happy to discuss this measure of hardwoods, as well as other grading rules and industry standards

It is true that if you need a highly resistant and impervious flooring surface, there are tougher options than some species of walnut.

How durable is walnut flooring for households and commercial premises?

For example, if you have flooring that is likely to be the victim of heavy or constant impact, then teak or cherry wood may be a better option if Brazilian walnut is too expensive. If something hefty hits your walnut flooring, such as a large piece of equipment, it could dent its more pliable surface.

However, for normal household and commercial premises, all the walnut flooring we supply can withstand all other forms of wear and tear extremely well.

That’s because its moderate density but high strength makes it shock resistant. It can also cope with some of the environmental features that could crack or warp other woods. In a nutshell, harder woods are more vulnerable to decay than softer woods.

The relative pliability of walnut compared to other hardwoods can be an advantage in other ways too. It lends itself well to carving and modern manufacturing equipment. Surface integrity and smooth cuts can be easily achieved, in the right hands.

That last point is highly significant though, when answering the question “how durable is walnut flooring”.

Manufacturing, laying and maintenance matters

Much depends on the manufacturing techniques and expertise use to turn walnut wood into flooring. You need a quality supplier. Rhodium Floors sources from mills that take wood seriously,

Many experts recommend that prefinished walnut flooring materials are the best option. They tend to be more durable particularly for family rooms, hallways and other areas of the home where there’s lots of activity.

How the flooring is laid is also crucial to its durability and resilience. Whether you choose strip, plank or parquet flooring, expert installation ensures that you get a surface that can withstand a substantial amount of use over many decades.

The third factor that affects “how durable is walnut flooring”, is how the property owner looks after it!

Hardwood flooring is always relatively low maintenance, one of the main factors of its enduring popularity. Unlike carpeting and other options, keeping it clean and in good condition is easy.

However, walnut flooring – just like other wood options – can be affected by harsh chemicals or abrasive motions on its surface. This means that maintenance to keep it resilient and looking good largely involves not interfering with it too much!

After many years of use, you may need to refinish walnut flooring. In expert hands, it can be a quick and affordable process to simply restore the surface to its best. In fact, walnut flooring can be made to look “as good as new” for a fraction of the cost of replacing it with other materials.

What to look for

As mentioned, finding good quality suppliers and installers goes a long way to safeguarding the durability of your walnut flooring. You can discuss with them the space you need to cover and the best options in terms of species and styles.

Incidentally, the straight grain is one of the key features of walnut flooring. Though you can choose dark stains that obscure much of the effect. Take a look at the range of finishes that Rhodium Floors offers to select your own personal preference.

However, the natural color and grain of walnut are among the reasons it’s superior for flooring. Not only do these features add character, they also help to disguise minor damage that could be obvious on other flooring materials.

The distinctive structure of walnut, making it more pliable than other woods, also provides a degree of shock absorbency – and soundproofing!

Are there harder options? Yes, there are, unless you specify Brazilian walnut.

However, for some homeowners and specifiers, the only way forward is walnut flooring, and all species used by Rhodium Floors have their individual merits.

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