How to Find Out What Type of Wood Floor You Have


Simply taking a glance at the floor will often allow you to identify the kind of wood that was used to construct it. A great number of species, including oak, pine, and fir trees, are quite easy to identify. Before you begin sanding the floor, it is essential to determine if the boards are solid or engineered, which is something that cannot be determined just by glancing at the surface. In addition, your vision might be misled by a stain or glaze that was deliberately applied to make one species of wood seem to be another. This was done on purpose. It’s possible that you’ll need to remove some of the finish before you can give it an honest evaluation.

  1. Simply by inserting your fingernail into the surface of one of the flooring boards, you will be able to determine whether or not they are constructed from a hardwood or a softwood. It is not going to leave a mark on a hardwood like pine or fir, but it will leave a mark on a softer wood like pine or fir. The number of options is reduced as a result of this technique.

  2. Examine the finish of the floor with a guide to different types of wood. The Wood Database is a helpful online catalogue that you may access here. The grain of the wood, how close it is and which way it runs, as well as the wood’s level of hardness are all characteristics that may assist identify the species.

  3. If the floor has a dark stain or is painted, look for an area of the floor that is out of the way and out of sight, such as behind a closet or under a cabinet, so that you may scrape the finish off of a portion of a board there. To expose the wood, you may use a pull scraper, and then you can check its appearance against images in the Wood Database.

  4. By studying the boards’ cross-sections, you may determine whether or not they are solid or engineered. After prying up the threshold or transition piece with a pry bar, a doorway is a good spot to accomplish this. A good place to do this is in a doorway. If that is not possible, pry off a baseboard and place a mirror in the space between the board and the wall.

  5. Sand a part of the floor using a palm sander and sandpaper with a grit of 20 if you are exposing a hardwood floor that has been covered with another kind of floor covering. This will remove any adhesive or tile mastic that could be on the floor. After removing all of the adhesive, use the wood species book to determine the kind of wood that was in the region that you sanded.

    Things You Will Need

    • Wood species catalog

    • Pull scraper

    • Pry bar

    • Mirror

    • Palm sander

    • Sandpaper, 20-grit


    When the wood has been treated with a dark stain, different species like birch and maple might have a very similar appearance; thus, it is essential to remove the stain in order to make a definitive identification.

    It will make the task of re-staining and refinishing the board much simpler if you are cautious to scrape the finish and stain off of just one board.