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Maple hardwood flooring has a uniform texture that is a popular and appealing choice when a bright, cheerful, and "contemporary" look is desired. Hard maple is stiff, strong, dense, and extremely tough with excellent shock resistance, which means it's less likely to scratch or dent.

Habitat: Asia, North America, Mexico, Guatemala, Malaysia, Northern Africa, and Europe in the Mediterranean region.

Janka Hardness Rating: 1450

The Tree: Maples are for the most part trees with opposite, long stalked, palmately lobed leaves. The sugar maple is a slow growing hard wood tree that can reach heights of 130 feet or more and live to be very old. Often times, the trunk of an old maple can be three or more feet in diameter. The heartwood of this tree is light to reddish-brown in color, while the sapwood is a creamy white.

The Wood: Maple hardwood flooring varies from pale white to light reddish brown. It is tough, hard, fancy grained wood which is often made into furniture or used as a veneer. Some sugar maples form intricate patterns in their wood called figures. Some typical kinds of figures are "curly" and "birdseye." These figured woods are popular and are often used for decorative purposes.

Uses: Maples are used for fine furniture, flooring, cabinets and millwork. Known for carrying sound waves well, maple is used in numerous musical instruments and is also the wood of choice for bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, pool cue shafts, and skateboards.