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Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring | Information Guide
Brazilian Hardwood Flooring Information
Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Floors: The Tree
Brazilian cherry is hailed among many hardwood flooring enthusiasts as, "The kind of Hardwoods". This South American native tree has a misleading name. The tree which produces "Brazilian cherry hardwood floors" is NOT a cherry tree. In fact, the name "Brazilian Cherry" was created here in the US as a marketing device to give this hardwood a name which was easier for consumers to remember. These trees are known as Jatoba trees in their native regions of Central America, southern Mexico, northern South America, and the West Indies.
Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Floors: The Wood
The Jatoba tree has extremely hardwood. This is one of the many qualities which distinguishes this exotic tree from the other species of tree which are utilized in the production of hardwood flooring. This exotic species of wood scores an impressive 2,690 lb. (11,950 N) on the Jenka Hardness Scale. The Jenka Hardness Scale is a scale which was developed to measure the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. Although Jatoba's hardness falls in the upper mid-range of the Jenka Scale over all, it is still harder than any wood which grows natively in the US.
The appearance of Brazilian Hardwood is its most distinguishing factor. Most often seen in a deep, blazing cherry red, with wine colored and brown or grey undertones, this hardwood species is very easy to spot, which is partially the reason it became such a popular species of tree to use in hardwood flooring.
You can learn more about Jatoba by visiting The Wood Database .
Brazilian Hardwood Flooring: The History
In recent years, Brazilian Hardwood has declined in popularity as red colored hardwood floors has given way to the new trends of grey and or white hardwood flooring. During the height of its popularity, Jatoba was highly sought after by high end furniture makers and flooring providers. Its signature "red" color became the symbol for everything over-the-top and expensive.
In response to the demand for Jatoba, lumber dealers flooded the market which inevitably dropped the price. Over time, Brazilian Cherry's exclusivity has faded, and it has become a commodity in the hardwood flooring industry.
Jatoba is very widely used today, despite being an exotic species. Due to a highly saturated market, and decline in both solid hardwood flooring, and specifically, exotic hardwood flooring, Brazilian Cherry has reached a price of roughly $3-8 per sq. ft. (not including installation) which is on the low end of cost for hardwood flooring.
Brazilian Hardwood Flooring: The Bad Wrap
Jatoba has acquired an undeserved reputation over the years. The main problem is that many lumber dealers were passing off 3-4 species of trees as "Brazilian cherry". This meant consumers couldn't be confident that the wood which they had played a premium for, was actually Jatoba. As consumers began to realize this, they grew weary of anyone claiming to sell Jatoba, which lead to the decline in popularity and sales. According to an article on Wood Shop News titled, "Jatoba starts to lose some of its Luster"
''The consensus among lumber dealers interviewed by Woodshop News is that finding quality Jatoba flooring is more difficult than it once was.
'The difference between the grade of flooring three years ago and what I put in my house during the early 90s is incredibly [inferior]," says Myles Gilmer, owner of Gilmer Wood Co. in Portland, Ore. "There's not as much supply as there was, but then again you get these cheap flooring outfits who are flooding the market with all these funky species [like] Santa Maria that have usurped the position of Jatoba and the flooring business because they are so much cheaper.' "
Additionally, many hardwood flooring companies have complained that the wood is difficult to work with due to its density. Brazilian cherry is known for its resistance to nails, dye, stain and screws. The grain is often interlocked which can present many problems when working with the wood.
Brazilian Hardwood Flooring: The Verdict
In the end, consumers who are looking for an exotic species of wood for their hardwood flooring shouldn't automatically rule out Jatoba. Despite some PR issues, Brazilian Cherry is an extremely durable, and arguably beautiful exotic hardwood which comes at a very reasonable price tag. Consumers should make sure to only purchase lumber from legitimate lumber dealers in order to ensure that they are getting authentic, Brazilian Grown Jatoba. This hardwood has been a staple in the wood industry for 20 years. Despite its decline in popularity among big spenders, Brazilian Hardwood is still a beautiful, rich hardwood that can look great in any space.