Yellow Birch comes from the sapwood portion of the tree and is the most common birch wood used for flooring installation or refinishing. Yellow birch is often mistaken for maple given its similar blonde color, but there can be faint red tinge, too. Yellow birch typically has a medium grain that is relatively straight, with an occasional wavy or curly grain pattern appearing.
Yellow Birch’s Janka scale point value is 1260, just below red oak, and is the most popular Birch Wood used for flooring given its availability, hardness, durability and favorable price. In addition to Yellow Birch being popular for flooring, the relative hardness also makes refinishing birch floors a sensible option.
Sweet Birch’s Janka scale is 1,470, just above Maple. This type of birch wood for floors is sometimes also called “Black Birch” or “Cherry Birch” likely because it has reddish tinge and can appear closer to cherry wood when correctly stained. While Sweet Birch may appear like cherry wood, it is harder than American Cherry wood, which comes in just below 1000 on the Janka scale.
Paper Birch’s Janka scale is 910 and is the softest of birch wood used for flooring. It’s also sometimes called “White Birch” or ” Silver Birch” and, despite its affordability, isn’t often used for flooring given its susceptiblity to scuffing, scratching adn denting. It’s the least durable birch for flooring.
Birch floors do accept a stain, but because of its pattern it takes a stain with a difficulty similar to maple. There is a risk that inappropriately applied stain can make the wood blotchy. Because of this, if you aren’t experienced, it’s advisable to consult a professional floor installer and refinisher. Another common error is uneven staining of a floor, or inconsistent lacquering, oiling or varnishing as the last step.
Professionals such as those from Hardwood Floors Minnesota have the training and experience to avoid those errors ensuring your oak floor is refinished with the appearance you expect. Call 763-286-1839 today to discuss your project and receive a free in-home estimate.