Hardwood flooring options: cottonwood
The cottonwood tree grows natively in Canada as well as the northern portions of the United States. Its name derives from the fact that cottonwood trees often produce puffs of white fluff that greatly resemble cotton in its natural state. A tall, elegant tree, cottonwood also goes by a number of other names including galm, boreal, California poplar, tacmahac, and balsalm poplar. Indeed, its scientific name is Populus balsamifera.
Sapwood and heartwood
Both the sapwood and heartwood of this species are fairly pale in appearance. The sapwood tends to exhibit colours in shades of white, cream, or even light yellow. The heartwood, in contrast, can range from a light whitish-grey to a pale tan. The grain tends to be uniformly straight, but is rather pronounced, with a texture best described as coarse. Staining the wood will make the grain stand out much more than it does in the natural wood.
Other consumer considerations
Unlike some woods, cottonwood tends to be odourless. It dries quickly after harvest, which can be problematic because it can be tricky to dry it properly. One drawback to cottonwood is that it is somewhat susceptible to decay.
With a Janka hardness rating that barely tops 1000, cottonwood is one of the softer species classed as hardwood. Still, it is harder than other species also used in flooring, such as black walnut. Its softness means that it cuts well, but it also means that floor sanding services professionals recognise cottonwood as one of the more difficult species to sand and refinish.