hickory vs oak flooring challenge

Hickory vs. Oak Flooring: How Jeweled Interiors Made the Choice for Her One Room Challenge Design

When it comes to choosing a new hardwood floor, there are a number of different factors that can play a part in your final decision—including species. While LIFECORE offers five different species for its engineered hardwood floors, today we’re going to look specifically at hickory vs. oak flooring, two species that have come up during the fall 2019 One Room Challenge (sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens).

Jewel Marlowe with Jeweled Interiors recently made the choice between oak and hickory floors for the living room she’s designing as a part of the One Room Challenge. She needed a floor that really took advantage of the lighting while flowing seamlessly with the larger space, which includes an attached kitchen and eat-in area.

So how do hickory and oak hardwood floors compare, not just for Jewell but for anyone looking to upgrade their floors?

hickory vs oak hardwood flooring

Why Choose Hickory Hardwood Floors

As a species, hickory is rated at 1820 on the Janka hardness scale—the hardest domestic species. So if you’re someone with higher than usual traffic, then Hickory may be the right choice for you. 

But choosing a hardwood species goes beyond the hardness to what you really want from the look of your floor. Hickory has a unique aesthetic thanks to its complex graining and natural two-tone coloration that provides a striking contrast to the darker knots in the wood. Because of this, the boards can show significant differences when installed side-by-side for a truly stand-out style. 

Jewel considered LIFECORE Arden Always for her One Room Challenge design. This deep wire-brushed engineered hickory floor has a warm caramel color. While the wire-brushing gives it a unique aesthetic, the overall style of Always is a little more clean and crisp, making it an excellent choice for a more buttoned-up, traditional design.

Why Choose Oak Hardwood Floors

Oak is consistently the most popular species for hardwood flooring. White oak has a linear grain with underlying hues that range from golden brown to slightly gray, making it versatile for various stains and styling techniques—from a contemporary feel to a rustic look.

Though less hard than hickory, oak is actually the standard for high-traffic areas with a 1300 Janka hardness rating. Plus, oak is known for its stability despite changes in temperature and moisture, making it less likely to expand and contract.

In the running for Jewel’s One Room Challenge design was LIFECORE Anton Fresh Aire, another light brown option. Unlike Arden’s deep wire brushing, Anton is a sawn-marked engineered hardwood floor, giving it a natural yet sophisticated aesthetic that provides variety to the eye while being a little less dramatic than Arden Always.

Jewel’s Ultimate Choice: LIFECORE Anton Fresh Aire Oak Hardwood Floors 

Ultimately, Jewel landed on LIFECORE Anton Fresh Aire hardwood floors. The oak provided more of the traditional European look she was going for. In a vaulted room with skylights, the lighter brown will work well with the natural light to really open up the room. 

In its current state, Jewel said the room is, “just lacking any personality and in serious need of an update.” Sawn-marked oak hardwood flooring has just enough personality to flow well with the new design while not overpowering it.

Check out the installation of her new floors below!

anton fresh aire lifecore engineered hardwood flooring

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