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What is Cypress Flooring?

By D. Rivers
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cypress flooring is a popular type of softwood flooring that many homeowners choose to use when building or remodeling a house. Cypress flooring comes from coniferous Australian cypress trees. Primarily grown in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, cypress trees perform best in dry climates. The arid environment makes the wood very dense and exceptionally hard; the term "softwood" refers to any wood from coniferous trees, not necessarily the particular hardness of the specific type of wood.

Builders often use cypress flooring in residential and commercial buildings because of the wood's hardness. Cypress is the only softwood flooring made from coniferous trees that is harder than red oak flooring. Australian cypress wood also is harder than teak and mahogany but softer than maple.

Floors made using cypress wood are mostly blond in color with many natural darker knots and striations. The variation in cypress flooring adds a rustic feel to a room's décor. The rustic, knotty pine appearance of cypress flooring makes it a popular choice in country kitchens as well as ski lodges. Natural darkening and aging of the floor will occur over time, adding an amber or honey-colored tone to cypress flooring.

The natural knots and markings in cypress make the wood a good option for use in high-traffic areas. Australian cypress hardwood floors don't show scratches and dents as easily as other, glossier floors. The wood's natural patterns hide stains and abrasions, making them less obvious.

Contractors find cypress flooring mostly easy to work with, because the wood is easy to sand and cut. Cypress wood can be brittle at times, so installers must be careful when nailing the boards into place to ensure that the wood does not split into pieces. Trial and error and hammering from different angles can help prevent the wood from splitting during installation. Wood flooring experts who have experience working with cypress are more likely to have developed personal methods for combating this issue.

Cypress wood naturally contains high levels of sap, which can cause the flooring to express resin through its knot holes after installation. To minimize this issue, installers often choose to cover the flooring with a clear coat of protective paint. Finishing the flooring with oil can make the problem worse.

Cypress trees grow so slowly that the tree is a protected species. Responsible producers of cypress flooring sustainably grow and harvest cypress wood by planting and raising new trees. This helps prevent deforestation and ensures a lasting supply of the wood.

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