Hickory Flooring Pros and Cons

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hickory flooring

Hickory wood is among the second hardest wood found in USA, Mexico, Canada, China, and India. However, it accounts for less than 5% of hardwood flooring market in the USA. This makes it less common giving you an option if looking for something unique and different.

Hickory flooring
Hickory Flooring

Hickory flooring comes from a hickory tree, which has about sixteen species. Its makes one of the most durable, strong, resilient dense and shock resistant flooring. Hickory flooring has quite a strong gorgeous contrast colors and looks good with stain finishes. The flooring, however, is extremely expensive, prone to swelling and not DIY’s friendly. Below are some insights on the pro and cons of hickory flooring.

Types of hickory

Hickory has a Janka scale rating of 1820, among the hardest, strong and resilient wood. In the flooring market, you will find retailers and flooring specialists or stockist with below brands of hickory.

  • Laminate hickory:- This tends to be the cheapest of all brands with a price range of up to $5 per square foot of flooring. This flooring is sealed laminate with hickory photographic image. Available in 3/8″ or 1/2″ inches thickness, with a width between 5” to 8” planks.
  • Engineered hickory:- The price of these brands cost from $2 to $8 per square foot of the flooring.
  • Solid hickory flooring:- This is the best quality that exists as finished and unfinished products. It goes for $3 to $10 per square foot. It is available in 3/4” thickness with a width of between 3″ to 5″ planks.

Pros and cons of Hickory flooring.

pros and cons of hickory flooring

Pros of hickory flooring

Intrinsic Aesthetic

Hickory wood has wood grains, knots, mineral streaks all on a single board. The wider boards are preferred to reveal all these intrinsic patterns on your floor. It is also good at retaining stains.

Manufacturers provide a lot of variety to choose from. Alternatively, you can get a staining expert to work on your floor for the desired style and designs. Hickory has rustic look for lovers of logs cabin or country cottages.


Hickory has different species to choose from. In the flooring market, there is also the availability of different styles. There are also different types to choose from; Solid, Engineered or laminate. The planks have also different widths, stains, and finishes to choose from.


Hickory flooring is extremely durable. It’s one of the best floorings for areas with high traffic. Its also can be able to sustain daily wear and tears for a longer time than other floorings.

Low-Cost Maintenance

Just as other hardwood floorings, hickory needs little or low-cost maintenance. The flooring once installed and properly sealed, can last for long. It just requires simple cleaning: regular sweeping, vacuuming or occasional mopping.

You may consider refinishing after 5 years for solid hickory. Select engineered hickory with the thickest wear layer, such that you can just refinish it once in its lifetime.


Hickory flooring especially made from solid hickory is ecofriendly. It’s none VOC flooring thus its use promotes the sustainability agenda of Millenium development goals. It is being grown in abundance of species, ensure you check they are sourced from a framed plantation.

Increases Home value

Among the most benefits of hickory is increasing the house or home value to the potential buyers. It can help increase your house resale value a lot.

Shock resistance

Due to its density, strength and resilient hickory flooring is a good resistance to shock and impact. Falling objects may leave no damage on your hickory flooring. Its also good scratch resistance than teak and walnut flooring.

Lightens the rooms

Light shades of hickory may help lighten your darker rooms. It can help make your house look brighter. Its a good option for you if you prefer light shade flooring.

Hickory rustic appearance
Hickory rustic appearance

Cons of flooring

Shrinking and Splinting

Hickory is susceptible to shrinking and splitting. It’s extremely important to ensure your floor is well dried before installation. Also, it may not be a good flooring choice for moist environments like kitchen laundry or bathroom.


The cost of hickory is between $5 to $15 per square foot inclusive of installation. On the average plan to spend $3 to $10 and save $2 to $5 for installation. The solid hickory has the highest installation cost. Real wood hickory comes with a high cost.

Due to hickory flooring susceptibility to moisture damage, you need to incur other costs in the measure that prevent moisture, insect damage. In addition, you may need to incur costs to prevent decay and rot due to natural wood features.

It can Rot

Hickory as any wood floor is prone to rot and decay. It can also be attacked by insects. You need to put appropriate measures in place to overcome this underlying problem.

Difficult to install

Due to its hardness and resilience, its difficult to install. It’s not a good plan to DIY, in case you are planning to. You may consider precut or prefinished board for DIY.

Hickory tends to shrink thus if you DIY it may twist or warp. It would not be a problem if you hire a professional installer.

Rustic appearance

Although it is still an advantage, some people may not be pleased by the rustic look. It may not be ideal in areas or with someone who wants a clean modern look.

Is Hickory good for flooring?

Yes, Hickory provides one of the best flooring materials. It lies second in the list of hardest and durable hardwood with a Janka scale rating of 1820. It is one of the unique floors with natural knots and gorgeous contrasting colours.

Do hickory floors scratch easily?

Hickory is extremely resilient and hard to scratch. however, care and maintenance need to be taken for it to last longer. In addition any misuse will definitely leave dents on your hickory flooring. Hire an expert to instal your floor to avoid warping and splitting which might be a problem if you DIY.

Is Hickory flooring better than Oak?

Hickory is harder than oak and thus a better flooring for your house. Hickory has a bolder look and available in broader plank than oak and maple.

Does hickory add home value?

Yes, hickory flooring can extremely add value to your house. Hickory is a hardwood that makes one of the most durable, resilient, comfortable and has a warm and soft feel on your feet. House buyers will definitely consider the house floor among other factors.

Photo of author


Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

4 thoughts on “Hickory Flooring Pros and Cons”

  1. When refinishing otherwise good condition hickory floors, how much needs to be taken off to allow a dark stain to be put on the floor?

    • Hello, Emily… assuming you have good condition hickory floors that have never been sanded and allow me to put a caveat that you got the knowledge to sand and refinish or say a good DIY. How much to sand depends on the type of your hickory floor (solid hardwood flooring or engineered hardwood). For solid flooring, you can comfortably sand and refinish until you get the desired look to stain.
      However, it’s good to note the engineered hardwood floor, the much you can sand depends on how thick the top layer(which I don’t recommend sanding and refinishing).
      In addition, you may need to consider the method of installation (the floating floor I don’t recommend sanding).
      In conclusion, the solid hardwood-hickory flooring can be sanded and refinished many times, unless too old and extremely worn-out to the tongue and groove. However, to get to such(worn-out to tongue and groove) may take generations.

  2. Does 180x14mm solid Hickory Flooring need to climatize before laying ?
    If so for how long ?
    Thanks Anthony

    From Melbourne, Australia


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