Is Mahogany A Hardwood? Benefits & Downsides
The wood mahogany appears in many different places. It is a scent found on your favorite candle, and a color. All these things are based on the wood mahogany. Despite the name mahogany being used in a variety of different ways, few people know much about the wood that provides it. What type of wood is mahogany? Is mahogany a hardwood?
Mahogany is indeed a hardwood. In fact, it is one of the most popular hardwoods on the market due to the fact that it has many characteristics that are prized by woodworkers and professional craftsmen. Since mahogany is a hardwood, it absolutely can be good for flooring. Mahogany is strong and has a great grain and warm colors. However, it can be difficult to find and very expensive to use in large areas.
If you are curious about using mahogany for your floors or just want to learn more about this exotic wood, this quick guide will cover everything you need to know.
Mahogany Wood Overview
Mahogany wood is cut from large trees that thrive in Earth’s densest rainforests. Mahogany trees can grow as tall as 70 feet and have 50 feet of spread around the trunk. The trees can live to be as old as 350 years old, and they thrive in the hot tropical environments around the equator.
Mahogany has long been prized for its characteristics and has been used in everything from wooden ships to furniture to flooring. However, that popularity came at a cost. Mahogany trees were the target of severe deforestation in many parts of the world during the colonial period. Since then, many countries have put bans in place that regulate the export and sale of true mahogany wood.
Mahogany imports from certain countries such as Peru and Cuba have been outlawed in an attempt to stop people from cutting down the old trees. Most modern mahogany comes from Africa or specialized plantations in Central America. The result is that mahogany is difficult to find and can be extremely expensive to buy.
The characteristics of mahogany that have made it popular for centuries also make it a great option for flooring as well.
Benefits of Mahogany Flooring
Mahogany has a whole host of benefits that make it perfect for flooring. Many species of mahogany are extremely hard, even harder than cherry and oak in some cases. That makes mahogany a great choice for high traffic areas of a home. It is scratch, dent, and ding resistant. Mahogany is also resistant to fungus, rot, and insect damage which are all favorable traits to have when you are looking at natural wood floors. Other woods can be susceptible to termites and mold over time, but mahogany will stand up to these threats better than most.
Lastly, people love the way mahogany looks. It has a rich reddish chocolate color and straight vibrant grains. The result is a floor that looks natural, uniform, rich, and warm. It can fit into nearly any design and any style. Mahogany is also easy to care for. Since it resists most forms of wear, all you have to do is make sure it stays clean and undamaged.
Downsides of Mahogany Flooring
Despite the numerous benefits of mahogany floors, there are some downsides to choosing it over other materials. First, mahogany is expensive. Since the wood is largely imported and can be hard to find, the price is much higher than other simpler wood floors. This can be a challenge for anyone on a budget, especially when other more common floors are a lot more affordable and generally easier to find.
The rarity of mahogany can also pose a challenge if you need to get more material for a job or if you run into a situation where you need to replace or update a section of the floor in the future. Finding the same product weeks or months apart can prove difficult.
Second, mahogany is prone to some color changes and discoloration. Mahogany starts off warm and light, but it will darken over time. The darkening process is directly related to the amount of light, especially natural light, that the floors receive. This can lead to cases where a floor changes color to a shade much darker than it was originally, and it can darken unevenly. This process can take years. So, after three to five years, you could have a floor that looks completely different than it did when you installed it.
But if you have the money for it, you can have mahogany floors for a lifetime.
Mahogany is a species of hardwood that comes from hot tropical climates. It is extremely durable, has a rich color, and has been popular for hundreds of years. Today, mahogany makes great flooring, but its limited availability makes it difficult to find and expensive to buy. If you are willing to track down mahogany flooring and can pay the premium prices, it will make excellent flooring that can last decades with minimum upkeep.
Featured Image Credit: optimarc, Shutterstock