Hickory Flooring Pros and Cons: Is it a Good Choice?

By Samuel N •  Updated: 09/02/22 • 

Hardwood flooring is one of the best among the different types of flooring materials available. There are different hardwood floors, and they all have an unmatched natural beauty that can match different home decor. Whether its modern, traditional, country, or more, hardwood flooring will match that.

Hickory is one of the woods you can select for your hardwood floors. But, before you decide, is it a good wood for flooring? Here I’ll talk a little about hickory, and its pros and cons, to help you make an informed decision.

About Hickory Wood Flooring

Hickory is one of the densest and strongest hardwoods native to North America. Up to 12 species grow in the U.S. It has a reputation of being tough as nails and has a Janka hardness of around 1150 to 2140 pounds-force (lbf), but most North American species fall around 1800 to 1900 lbf.

The heartwood of hickory is brown or reddish brown, while the sapwood is lighter in color. The wood is primarily straight-grained but can also be wavy and irregular. Because of its hard nature and density, hickory has different uses, like making tool handles and flooring.

Pros of Hickory Wood Flooring


Durability is one of the best qualities of hickory wood flooring. Floors are meant to suffer abuse, which can be an overlooked fact. However, hickory hardwood flooring and its hardness make it highly resistant to many factors. Foot traffic, furniture scraping across the floor, liquid spills, and exposure to light may cause fading over time; hickory can handle all these very well.

Buster and Gracie survey the new Hickory floors

Buster and Gracie survey the new Hickory floors

Its durability also means it is easy to maintain. You don’t have to worry about refinishing it or getting special products and professional care. Just sweeping, vacuuming, and dy mopping occasionally will do.

Better Water-Resistant

Wood is a porous material. However, depending on the density of the wood, it can be better at resisting water. Hickory wood is very dense, which makes it one of the best in the market here in the USA. It may not be 100 percent water-resistant, but it works well.

Hickory Flooring in the Kitchen

Hickory Flooring in the Kitchen

Sealing hickory improves its water-resistant levels. However, clean up liquid puddles and spills immediately to keep hickory flooring in good condition.


Hickory comes in both lighter and darker shades. It offers a different variety of hues that should match your home decor. From light creamy brown to darker brown and golden brown, you have different varieties to choose from.

Newly Installed Hickory Flooring at Home

Newly Installed Hickory Flooring at Home

The prominent knots that give hickory wood a rustic look are prominent from its appearance. This creates a warm tone in your home and will compliment the rustic decor. The grain is also distinctive, which gives hickory flooring elegance and sophistication.


If you’re unsatisfied with the natural beauty of hickory flooring, you’re in luck. Hickory takes a stain very well. This gives you the option of bringing out the grain pattern with the hue of your choice.

Less Expensive

Hickory is not cheap. However, when you compare it to some exotic woods, it tends to be less expensive. With hickory wood flooring, you’ll get durability and aesthetic value without paying for an expensive imported wood.

Cons of Hickory Wood Flooring

Expensive Than Domestic Woods

Hickory is a cheaper alternative to imported exotic woods. However, it is more expensive compared to most domestic hardwoods like oak. Maple, walnut, or oak hardwood flooring are all cheaper alternatives you can check out. The installation is also expensive and might require a professional to do it properly.

Not DIY=Friendly

The strength and better density of hickory flooring can also be its Achilles heel. For DIYers and beginner woodworkers, cutting, shaping, and sanding hickory can be challenging. If you’re looking for a hardwood you can install by yourself; hickory is not it.

Installing Hickory Flooring

Installing Hickory Flooring

However, for the adamant DIYer, ensure your tools and equipment are sharp and ready for the task. You can also opt for pre-finished or pre-cut planks, which removes the hassle of cutting and shaping hickory wood.

Is it a Good Wood for Flooring?

Yes, hickory is a good wood for flooring. Its advantages supersede its disadvantages. It is also durable, dense for better water resistance, and comes in various looks and beauty. For the disadvantages, it is challenging for DIYers and more expensive compared to locally available hardwoods. However, when installed right and maintained properly, hickory floors are a good choice for generations to come.

Samuel N

Samuel N is the founder of Improve Floor and has been in the flooring industry since 2005. Since then, his mission has been to make flooring easier for everyone. He helps countless people with flooring installation, finishing, maintenance, and repairs each year.