Birch, Yellow – Total Wood Species Guide

PROS: It comes in colors from pale whitish-yellow to a light brown. Sometimes it can be more of a light reddish-brown. Yellow birch is more golden than other species of birch. It makes for a very rustic looking floor. Straight, closed grain pattern with some interesting figuring. It is a unique hardwood floor. However, it looks like maple and is often mistaken for it in older homes. It has good bending properties which means that it won’t split easily. It has an excellent holding ability when it is nailed. It has a uniform texture that makes it a very nice floor covering. It has medium hardness.

CONS: It is actually fairly soft and tends to dent a little too easily for my liking. Being close-grained and a high density wood, it won’t take stains very well. If you must stain it, it is possible, but pigmented stain will go on blotchy. It has a swirly grain pattern. This means that the stain will turn out splotchy. It’s also not very moisture stable and may develop gaps in time. It takes a long time for birch to dry. This is why it has a tendency to shrink. It has very little luster so it will have a somewhat dull appearance.

TREE FACTS: Yellow birch is native to the northeast part of North America. It is called a “yellow birch” because the bark is yellow. It is the most valuable of all the native birch trees. The birch tree is New Hampshire’s state tree. Yellow birch is the most common species of birch that is used for flooring. Historically, birch bark was used for making canoes.