Timber Flooring

The differences between hardwood and softwood timber flooring

Living room with hardwood timber flooring and two windows

When it comes to choosing the right timber flooring for your home, the type of timber you select can make a significant impact. Two of the most popular options available on the market are hardwood and softwood timber flooring. While they may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences between the two that you should be aware of before making your final decision.

What is hardwood timber flooring?

Hardwood timber flooring is made from timber that comes from deciduous trees. These trees are known for their slow growth and high density, which makes the resulting timber much harder and more durable than softwood. Some of the most popular hardwoods used for flooring include oak, maple, and cherry. Hardwood flooring is often preferred for its rich color and intricate grain patterns.

Benefits of hardwood timber flooring

Here are some of the hardwood timber flooring which you can consider before making decision about the timber flooring type:

  • Hardwood flooring is incredibly durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic and wear and tear over time.
  • It is resistant to scratches and dents, making it an ideal option for families with pets or young children.
  • Hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished multiple times, which means it can last for decades if properly maintained.
Solid oak wood timber flooring

Solid oak wood timber flooring

Drawbacks of hardwood timber flooring

The following items are some the drawbacks of the hardwood timber flooring:

  • Hardwood flooring can be more expensive than softwood due to the slow growth rate of the trees used to produce it.
  • It can be more difficult to install than softwood due to its density, which may require special tools or expertise.
  • Some hardwoods are more prone to natural defects like knots and sapwood, which can affect the appearance of the finished product.

What is softwood timber flooring?

Softwood timber flooring, on the other hand, is made from timber that comes from coniferous trees. These trees grow faster than deciduous trees, which means the resulting timber is less dense and softer. Some of the most popular softwoods used for flooring include pine, fir, and cedar. Softwood flooring is often preferred for its lighter color and more consistent grain patterns.

Benefits of softwood timber flooring

Softwood flooring like hardwood timber flooring has its positive points, and some of them are mentioned below:

  • Softwood flooring is typically less expensive than hardwood due to the faster growth rate of the trees used to produce it.
  • It can be easier to install than hardwood due to its lower density, which may not require special tools or expertise.
  • Softwood flooring can be a more sustainable option since coniferous trees can be grown and harvested more quickly than deciduous trees.

Drawbacks of softwood timber flooring

For a better decision making about the right timber flooring type, it’s recommended to consider the drawbacks of the softwood timber flooring as well.

  • Softwood flooring is less durable than hardwood and may be more prone to scratches and dents over time.
  • It cannot be sanded and refinished as many times as hardwood, which means it may need to be replaced sooner.
  • Softwood flooring may have a more uniform appearance than hardwood, which may not appeal to those who prefer more natural variation in their flooring.

Environmental impact of timber flooring

Both hardwood and softwood timber flooring have the potential to be environmentally friendly options, depending on how the wood is sourced and produced. When selecting timber flooring, look for products that have been certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), which ensure that the wood comes from sustainably managed forests.


In conclusion, the choice between hardwood and softwood timber flooring ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget. While hardwood may be more durable and have a more natural appearance, softwood may be a more economical and sustainable option. Whichever option you choose, make sure to select a high-quality product and have it installed by a professional to ensure the best results. It is always recommended to use our free professional flooring team in Melbourne consultation to choose the best flooring option like timber, laminate flooring, or vinyl flooring

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