Brazilian Cherry vs. American Cherry Hardwood Flooring


If you’re considering buying cherry hardwood flooring, you’re not alone. Cherry wood is a beautiful and exotic wood species that is highly sought after and constantly requested at Floor Coverings International. You might be surprised to learn, however, that not all cherry wood is the same. In fact, there are two distinct varieties to choose from: American cherry and Brazilian cherry. Learn the differences between these two varieties and discover which one is best for you.


The first difference people are likely to notice between American cherry hardwood  and Brazilian cherry hardwood is the way they look. Each species has a distinct sapwood and heartwood look to consider when making your decision. In this area, one option is not inherently better than the other; the right cherry species for you will depend on your preferences.

  • Brazilian Cherry Hardwood

Brazilian cherry wood has a darker and deeper coloration than American cherry hardwood. There is also a greater degree of color variation in Brazilian cherry than in American cherry. Brazilian cherry sapwood is a gray-white color, while Brazilian cherry heartwood has a color scheme that ranges from salmon-red to orange-brown. The heartwood darkens over time, turning into more of a reddish brown and blending with the other boards, decreasing some of the color variation.

The grain of Brazilian cherry flooring is also distinct. The grain in the floor is mostly interlocked with a pattern that is straight and tight. The texture of the grain ranges from medium to very coarse. The graining of the wood will also depend greatly on how the wood was initially cut when it was harvested.

  • American Cherry Hardwood

American cherry wood is lighter than Brazilian cherry and has a lesser degree of color variation than Brazilian cherry hardwood. American cherry flooring has a sapwood coloration that ranges from light brown to pale brown. It also has a distinct pinkish tone that is absent in Brazilian cherry. The heartwood coloration ranges from light brown to a darker reddish brown. Certain manufacturers will blend the heartwood and sapwood colors together to create a more consistent and uniform appearance between the boards.

American cherry flooring has graining that differs from the Brazilian variety. The graining is very wavy and fine with a unique flake pattern in some cases. The texture is consistently smooth with some rough pockets.

  • Staining

Some owners choose to stain their hardwood floors to get the color they want. If you have cherry hardwood flooring, it is recommended to refrain from staining the wood. Both of these wood species have a beautiful natural look and the grain of the wood might not receive staining well. In fact, when people stain their hardwood floors, they are usually trying to imitate the natural look of a wood like cherry wood. If you have cherry hardwood flooring, the best thing to do is keep it in its natural state.

Janka Rating

The Janka Rating System is used to determine the relative hardness of wood. The hardness of the wood can help you assess its durability and determine which type is best for your situation. This is important when choosing between cherry hardwood flooringvarieties because American cherry and Brazilian cherry have very different Janka ratings.

American cherry hardwood has a rating of 950 on the Janka scale. Brazilian cherry hardness far exceeds this score, with a rating of 2,820. This puts Brazilian cherry at nearly three times the hardness of the domestic American variety. This information can change which floor you decide to get. For an area that will not get a lot of foot traffic, American cherry is a good option. For a busy family with pets or a business with a lot of activity, the hardness and durability of Brazilian cherry flooring makes it the better choice.

No matter which cherry hardwood flooring option you decide to go with, Floor Coverings International can meet you flooring needs. For more information about Brazilian or American cherry hardwood flooring or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us today!

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