Found predominantly in the eastern United States, American black walnut flooring is both classic and beautiful. With its deep hues and elegant style, walnut flooring is a perfect fit for a modern or natural aesthetic.
What does walnut flooring look like?
Walnut is a straight-grained hardwood that ranges from deep chocolate to light tan. Heartwood, or the wood that comes from the center of the tree, bears the deep brown hues with often purple or reddish tints. The outermost portion of the tree, known as sapwood, is typically a pale blonde or tan color. The beauty of a walnut floor truly cannot be replicated.
Unlike maple and cherry, as walnut wood ages, the color will lighten slightly and a rich honey color will start to show through the grain.
How durable are walnut floors?
Although American black walnut flooring is significantly softer than North American oak, making it more prone to dents and scratches, the wood is a heavy wood and has good shock resistance and dimensional stability.
Walnut’s natural color tones allow it to hide some scratches and dents easier than other woods. Using a lower sheen finish on the wood will also help with hiding any imperfections and wear acquired over time.
How should I finish my walnut flooring?
This wood often has much variation within a single board, and develops a beautiful natural patina over time. Because of this, oftentimes a clear finish will be used on the wood rather than staining. Moreover, stains can sometimes wash out the grain, muting the wood’s natural character.
Polyurethane is one of the best choices for finishing walnut flooring. It dries fast and only requires two coats to seal and protect the wood. Using varnishes, wax, or oils, such as tung oil or boiled linseed oil, are also prime choices for protecting your walnut floors.