Limited choice of hardwood in Japan


Old 03-17-16, 07:16 PM
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Limited choice of hardwood in Japan


I am having a hard time choosing hardwood flooring for my house.

In Japan most houses have engineered wood since it is much cheaper. Another reason is Japanese do not do much research when having a house built. They just want something cheap and great looking. It is in their culture to entirely rebuild their house after 30 years or so, instead of taking care of it and making improvements with time. Personally, after spending years in the USA, I really want to emulate the feeling and atmosphere of a house with real wood.

Anyway, on the first floor, where the dog (white shepherd) will be free to roam, I am hoping to get a hardwood resistant to scratches. I realize that there will be some damage though, and am Ok with that. Of course, as it is Japan, shoes will not be allowed in the house.

On the second floor, mostly bedrooms, I wanted something softer but which would not dent easily (I have two daughters who love to jump and run around).

Also, we are hoping to get a light brown floor to go with blue-grey walls.

Finally, since the winters are pretty cold (similar to Massachusetts, I guess), there will be lots of dry air inside the house, and I want to keep warping and cupping to a minimum, even if I need to use a humidifier in winter, and AC in the summer.

I have been looking on the janka scale and and cross-reference with stability but the more I look, the more confused I am (it is the Internet after all!)

Since I am located in Japan, the choice is slightly different. We could get these without too much trouble.

White oak
White pine
American cherry
American walnut

To sum it up:

1st floor: durable, scratch resistant, naturally light brown color a plus.
2nd floor: softer but quite resistant
Both floors: stable in Winter and Summer

Thank you,

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Old 03-17-16, 08:34 PM
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Maybe you did not look around enough. There are many species of high quality hard wood available for flooring and furniture. Much depends on your budget because some may be imported and they cn even get the cheap American wood.

The names for the wood may not be familiar to you. but people in the flooring and furniture business know the properties.

Old 03-17-16, 08:53 PM
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Thanks for your answer. Actually, I asked my contractor what they recommended, and their answer was: "most customer use oak". It gives me an idea of what can used and done, but I can't help but overthink it and keep looking around for stability and hardness ratings to find the perfect flooring for us.

So far, budget has not been an issue since we have made some sacrifices in other places to get some leeway concerning floors.

Personally, I love american walnut color and pattern, but it may be too soft. Ash would be a good compromise with price, hardness, and stability but I would need to have it stained.
Old 03-18-16, 03:46 AM
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You might want to look into prefinished oak. The factory finish is tougher than any site applied finish and you don't have to deal with the sanding dust and finishing down time in your house.
Old 03-18-16, 04:12 AM
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Walnut is not a "soft" wood. As Marksr indicated, a prefinished floor, whether it is oak, hand scraped walnut, hickory, all will serve you well. The finish will generally have a 50 year wear factor.
Old 03-18-16, 04:19 AM
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Just to be clear the factory finish can still be damaged but it is a lot tougher than site applied! Pet's nails are always hard on wood floors
Old 03-18-16, 07:00 AM
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I have a pre finished oak plank floor in my kitchen. The finish is near indestructable.
Old 03-18-16, 07:09 AM
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Oak is a long lasting hardwood. My previous house had the original Slovenian oak parquet which was installed when the house was built in the late 1890s. Except for one problem area, it looked immaculate.
Old 03-18-16, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for the input. It seems walnut would cost double the price of oak. I am just worried about cupping. The few model houses I saw with oak, had roughly half an inch gap between the planks. It is winter, and no one lives there yet (so low ambient humidity) but I cannot shake that feeling.

Anyone had cupping problem when humidity is low (less than 30%)?

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