When you are searching for hardwood flooring, you will come across several different species of wood. Hickory is one of the hardest domestic woods and one of the most commonly used. You’ll often see it also called pecan. The basic explanation is that pecans come from hickory trees; thus, hickory and pecan are the same wood by two different names. That’s not entirely true, though.
Eight Kinds of Hickory
There are eight different species of hickory. Four species are known as “true hickory”, and four are known as “pecan hickory.” True hickory species are shellbark, pignut, mockernut, and shagbark. The pecan hickory species are pecan, bitternut, nutmeg hickory, and water hickory. There are local names and alternate names for each of these species, but those are the most common names. The confusion arises because a manufacturer might label any of these as hickory.
So, when you order hickory flooring, you could get any one of these eight planks. The source of the wood could be an indication of which type of hickory you are putting on your floor, though. The true hickory species are typically found in the eastern United States. They are very common.
Pecan hickory, however, is not as common. Bitternut is the most common in the eastern half of the country. Water hickory is found from Texas to South Carolina. Nutmeg hickory is only in Louisiana and Texas.
Is There a Difference?
True hickory tends to be more dense than pecan hickory, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that simply by touching planks of hardwood. Pecan is also slightly less uniform in its color. The color of pecan can be more variable and more streaky. That’s likely a result of wood from pecan orchards being used in hardwood flooring.
In summary, true hickory is a more common wood that is denser and more uniform in color and grain. It’s probably the more desirable of the two types of hardwood flooring. Pecan hickory is less dense and more variable. It also grows faster than most true hickory species. For the purpose of hardwood flooring, pecan hickory will likely be easier to work with. However, both of them can be used to create a quality floor. It’s most important that you pick a quality supplier and a good installer. If you are very interested in the specific species, you can ask the supplier. They will likely know the source of their hardwood.