Oftentimes, softwood is referred to as “hardwood” in the flooring industry unsuspectingly. Despite its name, softwood can sometimes be harder than hardwood depending on its ranking on the janka scale. So what’s the difference?
They are distinguished by wood produced from two classifications of trees. Softwood is wood primarily obtained from coniferous trees. Coniferous trees are mostly evergreen. Evergreens are trees that have leaves throughout the year. The seeds of the trees and how they are cultivated contrast sharply as well. Conifers produce naked seeds which are dropped to the ground or transported by wind to produce new trees in other places. Softwood is considered environmentally sound because it is fast growing and more readily renewable than hardwood.
On the other hand, hardwood is produced from mostly deciduous trees. Deciduous means that it loses its foliage during certain seasons. It has enclosed seeds, called angiosperms, which are pollinated by birds and insects. Hardwoods grow gradually and slower than softwoods and as a result, tend to be denser. However this is not always the case.
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Examples include Douglas fir, a softwood, is harder and stronger than many hardwoods while Balsa, a hardwood, is much softer than most softwoods.
Many homeowners like the western feel, and clean scents, that come with softwood flooring. Here are the most popular softwood flooring options for you to choose from:
Australian Cypress Floor
Douglas Fir Floor
Yellow Birch Floor
Care for your hardwood floors
Buying Tips – not sure where to start?
Hardwood Floor Manufacturers
Hardwood Floor Brands
What is the Janka Scale?
Guidelines to keep hardwood floors looking great