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Reclaimed Maple Flooring - A Review

Updated on October 20, 2010

Maple Tree

Beautiful maple leaves
Beautiful maple leaves

Introducing the Maple

Maple belongs to the Aceraceae family. It grows between 10 and 45 meters in height (30-145 ft) and is often planted as an ornamental tree. The maple is of course famous because of the syrup that can be made from the tree which has become nearly synonymous with Canada. Maple was popular hardwood in North America to make sports floors and floors for historic and public buildings. Antique maple flooring or reclaimed maple flooring is available from many suppliers in North America.

There are a number of maple tree varieties. The most popular for making flooring are sugar maple (which is often called ‘hard maple’ or ‘rock maple’), Sycamore maple (in Europe) and Brazilian maple. In North America the best maples for flooring come from above the 38th parallel where the shorter seasons produce maples with closer, more uniform grain.

Red Reclaimed Maple Flooring

Red reclaimed maple flooring
Red reclaimed maple flooring

The Grain, Color and Birdseye Maple

The grain of maple is one of the key reasons for its popularity for a flooring material. The grain is distinctive and subtle. The heartwood of maple varies from blond to a pale reddish color. The lighter maple flooring makes a room look bigger and lighter. When choosing reclaimed maple flooring it is important to remember that maple doesn’t stain well, so don’t be tempted to buy cheap reclaimed maple flooring thinking that you can later stain it to a color of your choice.

Birdseye Maple is not a specific type of maple tree; rather it is an effect that can be found in all maple varieties and in other hardwoods. Birdseye maple refers to maple with a wavy grain and eye-like markings. It looks like tiny swirling eyes in the grain. Scientists are unsure how the Birdseye pattern is made. Birdseye maple is used in the dashboard of a Rolls Royce. New or reclaimed Birdseye maple is very expensive. If you have Birdseye maple flooring in your house don’t throw it away thinking it is without value.

Blond Reclaimed Maple Flooring

Blond antique maple flooring
Blond antique maple flooring

Reclaimed Maple and Antique Maple Flooring

Much of the reclaimed maple in America was originally used as flooring and so it is often called antique maple flooring. It is rare to find maple used as beams. Maple is often salvaged from schools, gyms, public buildings and warehouses. Because reclaimed maple is often taken from a flooring situation it is often possible to find antique maple flooring that has few dents, scratches and holes. This obviously depends on how carefully the maple flooring was removed; but for those people looking for a less rustic type of reclaimed hardwood flooring, reclaimed maple may be an ideal choice.

Beware that the high sugar content of maple makes it unsuitable for hot and humid climates where termites are attracted to the sugar.

The advantage of reclaimed maple flooring is that it makes strong and durable hardwood flooring. Maple flooring has a Janka Hardness rating of 1,450 pounds force, making it harder than oak. Many gym floors and bowling alleys use maple. The reason for this being that maple provides excellent traction for athletes and bowlers alike; and of course maple is hard enough to withstand the punishment of sporting events.

When looking to buy reclaimed maple flooring look around and get a few quotes. The price of reclaimed and antique maple varies greatly. It is often one of the more expensive types of reclaimed hardwood flooring. A good place to start is to find a good directory of reclaimed hardwood suppliers on the internet.


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    • smartcontentz profile image

      smartcontentz 3 years ago from Japan

      Good luck!

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      We have maple flooring in our 1929 home. Much of the wood is actually birds eye maple. We are refinishing it but it concerns me placing the stain, I have heard horror stories about how difficult it is to stain. Wish us luck!

    • smartcontentz profile image

      smartcontentz 5 years ago from Japan

      I think it depends on the price of wood in your location and the quality of the wood. It also has to be dried and milled.

      Also use is important: wood sold for firewood goes for much less than wood for furniture for example.

      However, look at reclaimed hardwood flooring websites and you will see you have potentially a nice chunk of money in the old yarn factory.

    • profile image

      Wendy 5 years ago

      I have 75 thousand sq ft of blond maple. It's 80 yrs old and is coming out of an old yarn factory. I have someone looking at it but need to know what it's worth a sq ft. Do you know?

      Thank you