The species of wood influences its appearance and durability. Traditional Oak species have pronounced variations in grain and shade that add character; while Maple’s wood grain is cleaner and more understated. There are many exotic species available that take their distinctiveness from a combination of origin, color and surface characteristics. Not all species of hardwood are equally hard. If your floor is likely to take a lot of abuse, consider Ash, Maple, or Oak, for extra durability. See the Jenka Scale of Hardness in the next section.