If you have ever played “Minecraft”, then you noticed, that a lot of birch trees were used for building there. A big fan of carpets and hardwood flooring, I got interested in this tree and its characteristics. Is birch good for making floors? Is it hardwood or softwood?
Be sure, that birch is hardwood. Many homeowners select birch hardwood flooring for its durability, strength, and attractive look. Being just slightly softer than oak, the birch serves as a great type of hardwood floor, which suits almost any room. People like birch hardwood for its unusual colors (starting from creamy and ending with slightly reddish and light brown) and straight texture. To know, what disadvantages the birch hardwood has, just continue reading.
What Are the Advantages of Birch?
Choosing the right tree for the hardwood flooring is a hard topic for each homeowner. A lot of conditions you should take into consideration while selecting the type of flooring in your living room, entryway, bedroom, and beyond.
Probably, birch is not the first option you pay attention to. But I advise you to give it a chance, as this tree is so good for making hardwood floors. It has 5 advantages.
1. Birch is a durable and robust wood
One of the easiest ways to define the durability of the tree is to know its Janka rating. Janka rating is the classification of hardwood trees, used for making floors and furniture, according to their hardness. The harder tree is according to the Janka rating, the more durable floor will be made from it. In the Janka rating, there are different species of birch trees and each of them has some score. The most widespread for making hardwood floors is yellow birch with a rating of 1260. Its strength is just a little weaker than the red oak has.
2. Birch hardwood floor is an environmentally friendly
Birch hardwood floors can be recycled as many times as you need. You’ll use it for years, painting it in different colors, if necessary. It won’t end its life in the ocean, just like the floors, made of synthetic materials. Besides, birch is a tree, which is widely used in medicine and cosmetology for its bactericidal properties. With this floor, the air in your room will be fresh and pure.
3. Birch hardwood floor is an inexpensive option in comparison with other kinds of trees
Birch floor is a great option for homeowners with a shortened budget. It is less expensive than oak and maple, but it still serves well and looks very noble.
4. Great unique pattern and attractive appearance
The birch floor has that special vibe, which works well with any kind of interior style. Depending on the species of the birch tree it is made of, the floor color ranges from light beige to slightly reddish. The floor, made of sweet birch, has a light brown tint.
The unusual color is not the only thing, which adds the birch hardwood some extra points of charm. The other thing, which makes the birch floor attractive, is its straight texture and unique natural pattern. The pattern makes the birch tree so popular among floor and furniture manufacturers.
5. Resistance to splitting
They install the birch hardwood floor by nailing it to the subfloor. That’s why such quality as resistance to splitting is very important for the birch hardwood floor. The hammered nail won’t split its straight surface and will keep the birch floor boards steady.
So, I hope, I convinced you that the birch hardwood floor deserves its chance. But don’t hurry up to the nearest floor-making company to order birch hardwood. Read the list of its disadvantages first.
What are the Disadvantages of Birch?
Unfortunately, even the greatest species of wood have some list of disadvantages. The birch is not an exclusion. So, be ready to hear some cons of the birch hardwood floor.
1. Birch absorbs lots of moisture
Birch hardwood floor is not the best option for wet rooms. So, avoid birch hardwood for the floor in the kitchen or bathroom. If you live in a wet climate, refuse this kind of floor, too. Being very hard, the birch wood absorbs moisture like a sponge, which you use to clean your plates. During the rainy season, the birch floor will stay wet all the time. It dries very slowly, too. The wet birch floor cracks very easily. So, don’t use birch hardwood floors in rooms with high humidity levels.
My readers often ask me, “Is birch wood waterproof?”
The answer is “no”. It is not waterproof. That’s why you shouldn’t use birch boards outdoors for the porch or terrace.
2. Birch wood is not resistant to fire
I know that each kind of hardwood floor burns very well. But in the case of birch, its ability to burn is even higher than other trees, like oak or maple, have. That’s why birch is the most popular wood for use in home fireplaces.
It’s very important to comply with fire safety rules in the room with birch flooring.
As you see, the birch hardwood floor has more advantages than disadvantages. It makes birch a popular choice for homeowners all over the world. Still, my readers write me so many questions about birch flooring. Very often they are confused, about what to select, birch or oak floor. Let’s see, what choice is better.
Which is Better Oak or Birch?
Both, oak and birch are a great choice for a cozy elegant home. They both look noble and attractive. They both are environmentally friendly and durable.
Oak is harder than birch, that’s why it is a better choice for places with high traffic. If you are looking for a floor in the office, where many people come every single day and damage the wood surface with their boots and high-heeled shoes, then an oak floor is your option. But if you need the flooring for your house, where the traffic is moderate, you may easily get the birch hardwood. It looks not worse than oak flooring, but it costs less.
How to Maintain the Birch Hardwood?
The birch hardwood floor nailed or glued to the subfloor, will serve you for decades. Even if the birch floor will lose its luster and charm, you can re-paint it. After that, such a floor will look better.
But despite its super long durability, the birch floor needs the right care and maintenance. Here are the tips that will help you to keep the beautiful birch flooring great through the years.
Cover the birch floor with mats or carpets in the high-traffic areas
I’ve mentioned that high traffic is harmful to the birch hardwood floor. That’s why if you have such a floor in the hallway, where all your guests come from the outside in the street shoes, you should cover it with a mat or carpet runner. If you have an office chair and roll it over the room with birch flooring, get the chair mat to protect the surface.
Use pads under the furniture legs
Although the birch floor is resistant to heavy loads, I recommend putting pads under the legs of your wardrobe, bookcase, or bed. The heavy furniture, which you don’t move for many years, can leave indentations on the birch floor surface. To prevent it, use the pads for the furniture legs.
Clean the birch floor once a week with a broom or vacuum cleaner
Regular cleaning is the key to the long and proper service of the birch floor. Even if you are super neat, lots of dust and debris come into your house on your shoes and on the paws of your pets. It is very important to clean the birch floor from sand, soil, and pet hair. So, get a powerful vacuum cleaner or soft broom and clean the dirt off the floor regularly.
Wipe the birch floor with a soft damp cloth
As you remember, the birch floor is not water resistant. So, I don’t recommend you to make wet cleaning of the birch floor too often. But once a week you should take a slightly wet soft cloth or sponge and wipe the floor from dust.
Get rid of any kind of spills on the birch floor immediately. Otherwise, the birch floor will absorb the liquid fast and it will be hard to dry it out and get rid of stains.
To wrap up, birch is hardwood, which is used for making floors and furniture. As a hardwood floor, the birch has lots of advantages, including an attractive look, unique pattern, and reasonable price range. Nevertheless, it is not waterproof, which makes it a poor choice for wet rooms.
Still, birch hardwood is a great budget option, which I recommend to homeowners from the USA and abroad.