Cherry wood makes excellent hardwood flooring. It’s not quite as durable as, say, cedar, but it’s quite shock resistant, which helps to prolong its life underfoot.
Cherry also has an extremely resilient heartwood that’s both sturdy and resistant to decay. This is an essential quality for hardwood flooring as wood is hygroscopic, naturally absorbing water in the air.
Woods that rot at a quicker rate such as Eastern hemlock, aren’t particularly suitable for flooring.
Cherry wood also looks amazing! The varying grain exudes sophistication, while the soft color profiles imbue the room with a rich warmth.
It’s often considered a traditional-looking wood, employed by homeowners to complement the rustic charm of a room, or as a counterpoint to a more modern aesthetic.
Another reason cherry wood has always been a flooring favorite is that the variation of color is so wide and unique, giving homeowners and developers far more tonal options than most other hardwoods.
It can be found with a subtle pinkish, blonde, or deep-red hue.
Due to its flexibility, cherry wood is also favored by craftsmen. It’s easy to carve, cut, or even mold, making their job easier, possibly even bringing overall labor costs down.
Editor's Note: Are you wondering what causes dark spots on hardwood floors? We have an answer for you as well as the top hardwood floor polish and restorer recommendations here.
Are Cherry Wood Floors Out of Style?
It’s true that many homeowners are devising ways to get rid of their cherry wood flooring, but that’s not to say cherry wood is going completely out of style.
It tends to only be a very specific kind of cherry wood that modern homeowners have a problem with, and that’s the deep red variant.
It’s a shame because hardwood flooring should be a big selling point of a house, but this polarizing hue has been turning people away for the past decade.
The problem is that it’s just not very neutral. People prefer a neutral aesthetic because muted and mild color tones open the room up, aren’t too overbearing, and give you more options when it comes to choosing furniture, What’s more, houses with a neutral theme tend to sell much faster than houses with heavily stylized decor.
We’re actually witnessing a resurgence in the popularity of dark hardwood flooring right now, but unfortunately for cherry wood, this renaissance is centered around cool colors such as grey, blue-grey, dark brown, and black.
As a response to this trend, many homeowners are using dark stain to mask the red coloring of their cherry wood floors; however, as trends are cyclical, there’s a chance this vibrant red wood will make a comeback at some point.
What Color Walls go with Cherry Wood Floors?
It’s hard to say what color you should paint or paper your walls to match a cherry wood floor as cherry wood encompasses so many shades, but white is never a bad choice.
It’s simple, makes the room seem larger, and it goes with any shade of flooring. A slightly warmer white may be preferable, as a stark white may clash with the warmth of the cherry wood.
Try not to go too creamy, though, as then there won’t be enough contrast.
If you want to get a little bit more adventurous, the deeper red hues work incredibly well with dark olive greens or even charcoal grays.
These color combinations evoke a refined and elegant feeling, but it has to be the right kind of room. Smaller, traditional builds can feel a little claustrophobic draped in dark tones.
For semi-dark cherry wood floors, a very pale, almost shimmery sage green can look amazing.
A cool pelagic blue can also help to counteract some of the warmth of cherry wood and create a very crisp and calming living space.
Terra Cotta is risky because it’s not too dissimilar in color, but if you get it just right, it can actually downplay the red in your flooring rather than accentuate it.
If you’re searching for an accent color, deep maroon will complement the flamed cherry of your flooring.
What is the Difference Between Brazilian Cherry and American Cherry?
There are a few key differences between Brazilian and American cherry wood…
- Grain - The grain found in Brazilian cherry wood is very smooth-flowing and straight compared to other woods. It has an almost velveteen look to it, the lines resembling those in a tiger’s eye stone. The graining of American cherry wood tends to be slightly waiver, with more articulate, thin lines. Sometimes it can even seem to have a flake patterning and is often smoother to the touch than its Brazilian counterpart.
- Colors - Brazilian cherry wood has much deeper colorings than American variants. If you’ve seen exceptionally dark red or orangey cherry wood, the chances are that it’s Brazilian. That said, the sapwood of Brazilian cherry wood is almost always grey-white. American cherry wood is much lighter and has a pinkish hue absent from the in-your-face Brazilian wood. The sapwood ranges from light to mid-brown, and the heartwood ranges from mid to dark, reddish-brown.
- Strength - Measuring only 950 on the Janka Scale (a hardness test that measures the resistance of wood to denting and wear), American cherry wood is much weaker than Brazilian cherry wood. Measuring 2820, Brazilian cherry wood is almost three times as durable as American.
Why is Cherry Wood so Expensive?
The pricing of wood relies heavily on your location. If the wood is native to your area and sourced sustainably, it will be much more affordable.
So, if you’ve recently been shocked by a quote for cherry wood flooring or done a double-take at the steep price tag in your local DIY store, there’s a good chance it’s a matter of proximity and abundance.
It’s also a very popular wood in the United States, which will certainly bring the price up a little.
As cherry wood normally is fairly abundant, comparatively speaking, it’s typically not that expensive. Mexican bokoto and African ebony are far dearer.
Of course, cherry is premium hardwood, so no matter how abundant it is, it’s still going to cost a certain amount.
One more thing to consider when it comes to the cost of cherry wood is the time it takes to cultivate the tree. It can take upward of a century for that signature pinkish or orangey-red patina to spread throughout the wood.
This means that properly matured cherry wood is already an antique before it’s even been processed, and when you look at it like that, the price starts to make a little more sense.
If you come across very low-priced cherry wood, be suspicious. It’s likely been harvested too early and stained a cherry hue after the fact.
Is Cherry Better than Oak?
Oak is widely considered to be the best wood for flooring due to its abundance, durability, and range of tasteful brown colorings, but Brazilian cherry wood is almost twice as hard as oak.
This level of hardness is great for resisting scratches and dents; however, dense woods tend to shift more over time. On the flip side, oak is almost twice as durable as American cherry wood.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of opinion, but generally speaking, American cherry wood has far more interesting and unique graining, the patterns making unexpected and sinuous deviations that engage the eye.
Oak graining is broad and simplistic. This doesn’t exactly mean cherry wood is better.
Many might think its ornate graining is more suited to furniture, picture frames, or musical instruments, and that the simplicity of oak’s graining makes it the ideal hardwood flooring solution.
Due to the abundance of Oak, it tends to be slightly more affordable, especially compared with Brazilian cherry wood, which is definitely a boon, but the price difference between these woods should never be all that vast.
When all’s said and done, which wood is best depends entirely on the intended application, but as long as the craftsperson understands the nature of the wood they’re working with, they’ll be able to suitably prepare it for the task at hand.