Brazilian cherry flooring is one of the several exotic species found domestically. This hardwood, not related to its American cherry counterpart, originates in Central America, the West Indies, Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru, and is one of the densest species available.
This species is one of the most common in Brazil and, domestically, is one of the more popular exotic options. The hardwood has a distinct reddish appearance that darkens over time. Specifically, the hardwood, in its natural state, has gray to white sapwood juxtaposed with salmon red or orange-brown heartwood. The hardwood seasons with time, taking on a russet or reddish brown appearance with dark streaks.
Color variation changes with grade. Most Brazilian cherry found domestically is milled in South America and is classified in one of the following grades:
- Clear Grade, which is characterized by a consistent red color.
- Select and Better Grade, which is lighter and pinkish compared to its Clear counterparts.
- Rustic Grade, which has a greater presence of white sapwood.
Brazilian cherry flooring has a 2350 Janka scale rating, making it 81-percent denser than red oak. While the durability offers excellent shock resistance, it complicates installation, particularly sawing and planing. The wood, however, isn't so hard that both hand and power tools can be used and is fairly straightforward to sand. Because of the density, planks must be pre-drilled before nails are added. Density has an additional asset; Brazilian cherry flooring is relatively resistant to decay and insects compared to other species.
Finishing is equally significant and affects the color. An oil-based stain lets the wood develop a deeper red hue over the years. But before an oil-based stain is added, applying lacquer or de-waxed shellac is recommended to preserve the wood's natural color. A water-based finish safeguards the hardwood's natural shade longer.
All types of Brazilian cherry flooring can be found through Hurst Hardwoods. Type depends on where the flooring will be placed in your home: engineered is ideal for below-, on-, and above-grade areas, while solid hardwood should never be placed in spaces with moisture, radiant heat, or a concrete subfloor. Prefinished offers quicker installation, while unfinished Brazilian cherry gives you the choice of a stain.
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