Hardwood floors enhance every area they’re installed in. These durable and versatile floors have nearly universal appeal and work in any style of home. The key is to discover which species of wood will work best in creating the look that you’re after.
While some wood species will give you a rustic look and others will give you a traditional or formal appearance, for contemporary settings, the best material to choose is ash.
Ash flooring can give you the warmth and character you need to keep your contemporary setting from becoming overly cold or sterile. At the same time, ash also has enough cool tones and a light, clear color that will allow it to complement any modern home.
Ash is a very hard wood with a lot of character and grain definition. The grain itself is similar to that found in oak, but the color variation is its own.
Ash ranges from a creamy white to light gray-brown over its majority, with the heartwood showing as a rich, deep brown. The overall color and tone of the wood are fairly light, without the pink or red tones of red oak or the blandness of maple.
This makes ash an excellent choice for use in contemporary settings. The light color works well with open floor plans and light-filled spaces. The grain and color range add character and give interest to the floor, without adding a specific pattern or any busyness to the room. This helps ensure that your interiors have character and interest, but not so much that they compete with the rest of the space. All of this is ideal for flooring in contemporary spaces.
Ash Hardwood Flooring Pros and Cons
Like all materials, ash has its positive and negative attributes, which may make it more suitable for one area than for another. Ash is a very hard, durable flooring. It scores 1320 on the Janka hardness scale – harder than oak, beech, or heart pine. This makes it ideal for areas that get moderate amounts of foot traffic, as it can handle them well without scratching or denting. The material isn’t as hard as maple or hickory, which means that it’s going to be easier to cut.
If newer growth ash is used, it can be difficult to find longer or wider planks. This is due to the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle that feeds on ash wood, which can mean that early harvesting is necessary.
However, old-growth ash can give you beautiful, long, wide planks that can really show off the character, color and grain of the wood. Old-growth ash is available in random widths and lengths, which can create some unique looks on a floor. It’s not going to be super consistent, so it’s often not the best choice for formal or traditional floors where consistency is key. This is another reason why ash works so well in contemporary settings, as the variation enhances the look in these spaces.
Ash is also a particularly good choice for lofts and other open spaces. This is because the elastic nature of the wood makes it an excellent shock absorber. This can help cut down on echoing footsteps in an open area. It can also feel slightly more comfortable underfoot than some more rigid styles of flooring. Ash also remains smooth under friction, not becoming splintered or rough to the touch. This means that it wears well over time, no matter what purpose the flooring has. This is one reason why ash is often used as a handle for tools, as well as being the most popular material for making baseball bats.
Ash can be slightly higher in maintenance than some exotic hardwoods. It’s less termite and moth-proof, so if you live in an area that is prone to these insects, you will need to keep up treatments more regularly with ash than with some other types of wood floors. However, for use in a contemporary interior in a city setting, this is unlikely to be a problem.
Get a Contemporary Floor with Character
One of the biggest benefits of using ash in a contemporary interior setting is the fact that it doesn’t require any special stains or sanding to achieve its look. Unlike other floors that need to be stained a white or lighter color to help them work in a contemporary home, ash’s natural color and grain complement these settings on their own. This means that you’ll spend less time worrying about the finish of your floor and more time enjoying it.
Old-growth ash floors are not as common as they once were, which can also give you a more unique flooring that will set your home apart from the others. Be sure to visit Elmwood Reclaimed Timber to learn more about what’s available and get a character-filled floor for your contemporary setting.