Hickory is one of the more durable domestic hardwoods used for flooring. Known for a tan to reddish-brown color, hickory flooring is hard, stiff, dense, and shock resistant. In fact, many common wooden items use hickory wood; tool handles, bows, carts, golf club handles, and walking sticks are all made from hickory wood. Baseball bats, additionally, also used to be made from it. Inside the home, hickory is used for both cabinets and flooring.
As a tree common in the Southwest, hickory has a contrasting patina. The wood, when taken from the center of the tree, has a tan to reddish color, while the sapwood, or outer portion, is a white to cream shade. Hardwood sold with a combination of these shades is often listed as "calico hickory."
Hickory hardwood flooring is known for a tight grain, and finishing and staining is often a lengthy procedure. After all hardwood is installed into your home or building, the surface needs to be sanded and then conditioned to seal any imperfect grain and to prevent blotches. At this point, a stain can be applied, although which stain used will affect the appearance. Gel and light stains are preferred for hickory hardwood, as they highlight the grain, but darker stains, however, will hide the contrast for which this hardwood is known. The first coat of polyurethane finish should be applied with a foam brush after the stain, and, once it has dried, the wood should be smoothed with a floor polisher. Hickory hardwood flooring often needs more than one coat of finish, and the pattern of finishing and sanding should be done as many times as you see fit.
As one of the more commonly-requested domestic hardwoods, hickory flooring is sold in pre- and unfinished varieties and is also available as engineered hardwood. In any case, prefinished hickory flooring is ideal to cover a large area, while unfinished hardwood is ideal for matching the new wood to existing flooring.
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