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Maple Hardwood Flooring: Pros and Cons

By Fortino Rosas / March 14, 2022 / 0 Comments

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    One of the most important parts of constructing or renovating a property is the flooring. There are a variety of materials and styles to choose from when it comes to flooring — wood, vinyl, marble, among others. Despite the plethora of options, there is one type of flooring that is known to be consistently popular whether for residential or commercial purposes – maple hardwood flooring.

    The reason behind its popularity mainly lies in its durability against stress. In fact, maple is a staple material in creating boards for skateboarding – a very intense sport!

    Take note though that even maple wood has different varieties and each specific variety may be more suited to a specific design preference. 

    We provide you with the key advantages and disadvantages of using maple hardwood.  

    Advantages 

    Can blend with many types of interior designs

    This type of material is quite flexible when it comes to tone blending. It can make a room look elegant and expensive but it can also make an interior look warm and cozy. In other words, it has enough flexibility to be effectively used whether a property is for business or for residential purposes. 

    maple hardwood flooring in living room
    Maple hardwood flooring in the living room

    Moreover, it is not hard to design a room with a maple floor. Colors are not limited to just neutral tones or black and white. An interior design can use bold colors or muted colors and it will still look great with this particular kind of flooring material.

    So whether it is a nursery or children’s room, a living room, a master’s bedroom, or a home office, a flooring with maple wood material will easily fit in any design concept. 

    More durable than other types of wood

    Maple flooring is considerably durable and scores higher than most other types of wood in the Janka Hardness Test – a test that determines a wood material’s durability against physical force. 

    Type of WoodJanka Hardness Rating
    Rosewood1780
    Maple1450
    Oak1360
    American Beech1300
    American Cherry950
    Cedar900

    The durability of maple is one reason why this type of flooring material is used in gymnasiums and bowling alleys where the floors are often subjected to hard action. So if you’re planning to put up a commercial gym with heavy equipment or you’re a homeowner wanting to put up a small gym or exercise room inside your house, using maple hardwood for your flooring would not be a bad idea.

    Also, a house being built for a family with children will benefit well from having a maple floor. Children can be quite a handful most of their younger years. They will jump on the floor, drag their heavy toys on it, run around, and do all sorts of things that are enough to cause damage if the construction material is too low quality to withstand a beating. 

    Low maintenance 

    Solid maple flooring does not require a lot to maintain. It can easily be cleaned with just regular sweeping and mopping using a solution of mild soap, things that are usually found in the kitchen. It does not require expensive equipment and cleaning material to preserve its quality. Even with just the bare minimum, the floor will last a generation. Nonetheless, in order to keep it glossy, it needs to be buffed every two years. 

    There are, however, additional ways you can opt to do in order to keep the flooring in pristine condition for as long as possible, including:

    • Cleaning up any spills and mess immediately from the floor
    • Using cleaning solutions specifically recommended by the flooring manufacturer when cleaning larger stains
    • Placing rugs or carpets in areas that are frequently used such as areas near doors or beneath a sink in order to cushion it from constant impact
    • Monitoring the humidity level and trying to keep it at thirty-five (35) to fifty (50) percent in order to preserve the condition of the wood and prevent it from deteriorating

    Keeps indoor air dust free

    This type of flooring material is ideal for people who easily develop allergic reactions to air contaminants and dust as it is naturally resistant to such air quality issues. Even people who are not allergic to dust are at risk for developing illnesses when inhaling dust and air contaminants often. 

    Children are particularly prone to developing allergic reactions to dust and air contaminants. Thus, a material that is resistant to dust is actually a good investment for the health of your family. 

    Has a clean and polished look

    Maple used as a flooring material has a subtle graining, making it almost unnoticeable. Unlike oak wood, it does not have sharp contrasts. Thus, it has less imperfections compared with other hardwood flooring materials. In effect, the floor looks cleaner and has a more homogeneous appearance. 

    maple hardwood flooring in kitchen
    Maple hardwood flooring in the kitchen

    In other words, the entire floor from its surface down to the bottom will appear to be made of the same quality of material. It will not have an uneven appearance that can sometimes happen to floors made of other materials over time. 

    Cleaning the house will take less time when the materials already make the house look neat and polished. There are flooring materials that can take a day to clean–a time that can, instead, be devoted to spending time with your family or other pursuits. 

    More affordable than other materials 

    The ready availability of this kind of material makes it less expensive compared to other materials that are hard to procure either because they are rare in number or the trees that produce the wood for such materials grow only in particular regions and have added costs for shipping.

    See below the average cost per square foot of maple hardwood flooring compared to other materials:

    Type of WoodAverage Price per Square Foot
    Maple$6-10
    Oak$7-14
    American Cherry$11-17
    Pine$17-25

    For those who are just starting their family, it can be cost-effective to look for materials that will not break the bank. It will help first time homeowners to stay within their budget to select materials that are readily available, of high quality, and that will last for as long as possible – maybe when the last child finishes college and you are ready to renovate and give your house an entirely new look. 

    Helps in neutralizing sounds

    Maple wood, like most hardwoods, neutralizes loud noises such as thumping, thudding, as well as vibrations. Thus, it is among the best choices to use when aiming for a quieter environment. It is also ideal to use this type of material for flooring on properties having more than one floor. 

    The superior acoustics of maple will help in reducing the sound from floors above such as walking, running, moving furniture, dancing – all of which children are bound to do 100% of the time. Using this kind of material will help you enjoy peace and quiet in any other part of the house such as a home office or your own bedroom. 

    Less harmful impact on the environment

    It is easier to grow maple than other wood varieties such as cherry, oak, or walnut. This short period of growing time makes it easier to replace those that are cut for commercial purposes. It can be kept abundant in order to respond to the demand of construction. Hard maple grows from less than twelve (12) inches a year to twenty-four (24) inches a year and provides a harder and denser wood. 

    Maple wood is said to be sustainable because of its carbon sequestration potential and large growing stock. In simpler terms, the hard maple variety, which has a lifespan of 400 years and grows as tall as sixty (60) feet to seventy-five (75) feet, can store greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and, in effect, help in mitigating climate change.

    As to its large growing stock, the forest volume of maple trees is approximately 1500 million cubic meters. In the U.S., around thirty-six (36) cubic meters of maple grow but less than half of it is harvested yearly. 

    Lessening your carbon footprint is actually among the main concerns of home builders these days. It is important to pay attention to how much a material used in construction will impact the environment. Afterall, your children will be dealing with the consequences of environmental degradation – the same children who you are building a house for. 

    Disadvantages

    Not totally scratch resistant

    Although maple is unquestionably durable, it can easily sustain scratches and other marks owing to its lighter color and fewer grains. Hence, if the surface is scratched or if an object leaves a mark, it is easily visible on the smooth surface of the floor. 

    One of the most common causes of scratches on the floor are pet scratches and those that children make. It is almost unavoidable that a pet will scratch the floor, especially notoriously active pets such as dogs and cats. Having children running and dragging things around the house will also cause scratches and marks on surfaces. 

    maple hardwood flooring scratch

    It is to be noted though that this problem is really common with all types of flooring materials. In spite of not being scratch-proof, maple is durable and will not easily break. 

    Does not react well with heat and humidity 

    This problem is likewise common to hardwood materials. Environments that experience extreme changes in heat and humidity are not really ideal for maple as a flooring material because this type of wood is sensitive to heat and humidity.

    It can cause the wood to expand and contract and then bend and split. Nevertheless, this can be remedied by using a humidifier in order to regulate the humidity levels below the floor during summers and prevent the floorboards or planks from shrinking and shifting during the dry winter season. 

    Takes considerable effort to stain maple floors

    In order to give color to the wood, professionals use a method called staining. Coloring the wood will help protect it from the effects of UV rays. Maple wood has a tight grain preventing it from absorbing stain well. In effect, the staining will leave uneven patches. 

    The areas with more open grains may absorb the excess stain. As a result, there will be noticeable dark spots on the surface of the wood. But this problem is really only commonly experienced when using light-colored maple wood

    On the technical side of things, using gel-based stain or oil-based stain is more effective on maple wood. Applying the stain using a paintbrush and removing the excess stains simultaneously with the application of the stain is a method that works effectively in achieving a uniform stain. 

    Moreover, using alternatives can also be an effective remedy to the problem of having uneven stains. An alternative to using light-colored maple is to consider using high-grade maple as it is usually mostly white. Darkening maple is more effective when using dye. 

    To put it simply, if you use the right variety of maple wood, you will not deal with this kind of problem. 

    Will fade with the passage of time 

    All things are bound to deteriorate or fade in the long run. The culprit of fading is usually direct exposure to sunlight. All light-colored hardwood such as maple will unavoidably deal with problems of fading. 

    If maple flooring is exposed to sunlight constantly, the wood will turn yellowish. Direct exposure to sunlight can hasten the fading process and will result in the wood having a dual-tone. 

    Hardwood colors deteriorate due to three components of solar heat: ultra violet (UV) light, visible light, and infrared (IR) light. Most of the damage is due to UV light.

    See below the image of a faded maple floor

    faded maple hardwood floor
    It is important to consider solar shades, window UV treatments, or rugs to help prevent fading.

    The reaction to UV light depends on the timber. Exotic and tropical woods such as Cherry wood will turn into a darker shade. Meanwhile, domestic woods such as maple fade and at a rate that is significantly lower. The type of finish can also affect a wood’s discoloration. IR light and UV light combined can react with the finish and make it yellowish or darker. 

    Does not have a grain pattern

    Maple has a look that is comparably plainer because it has fine and subtle grain. This means that it will not give a natural pattern like some hardwood floors. Generally, the maple’s grain has a straight grain with a uniform and fine texture. 

    It can sometimes have variations such as tiger, wavy, birds eye, rippled, curly, fiddleback, and flame grain. These variations are often used in customized artisan specialty furniture. These types of variations are collectively referred to as “figured wood.” It is actually a result of a specific strain, disease, or injury that the tree suffered from while growing.

    This does not, however, affect the elegant and warm appearance of this flooring material. The homey look that you wish to achieve will still be possible despite the effects of subtle graining. 

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, we feel maple hardwood flooring is a good choice for your home.

    The best material to use on flooring really depends on your specific need. Thus, a lot of factors have to be considered. The cost of the wood, availability, cost of maintenance, and durability are important factors to take into account. It is also important to determine the needs of the property where the floor will be installed. 

    A gym, for example, requires a floor that should be able to absorb the impact of heavy activities. A house with several floors and children living in it needs a type of flooring that neutralizes loud noises. Other specifics such as aesthetics should also be carefully planned. Certain types of flooring materials will not go well with specific designs and as discussed earlier, this includes maple. 

    It can sometimes be really overwhelming to select flooring materials and it is always best to seek professional opinion in order to be properly advised according to your flooring preferences and needs. 

    It can likewise be helpful to research the pros and cons of using certain types of flooring before purchasing and installing. An informed decision will help in avoiding expenses for repair, replacement, or re-installation in the future. 

    About Fortino Rosas

    Chief Floor Critic, 32 years of experience in flooring installation and sales

    Fortino Rosas is an independent flooring contractor with 32 years of experience in residential and commercial flooring installation and sales. He joined the Floor Critics team to share his expertise with our readers. Fortino has acquired vast knowledge and skills in the areas of product selection, space planning, and installation. He has installed flooring in residential, government, and commercial office projects in the Midwest. Visit Website.

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