5 Tropical Hardwoods You Should Consider For Your Next Flooring Project

Tired of looking at the same old oak, maple, or birch floors every time you stroll around the house? Add a little more interest and excitement to your humble floors by swapping out those old-fashioned woods for some durable and exotic tropical hardwoods. Discover the top five best tropical woods for flooring and the unique benefits provided by each option.

Plantation Teak

Teak is a long-lasting and majestic looking dark hardwood, but it's also slow growing and takes a long time to replace after harvesting. If you're concerned about finding sustainable woods that don't have a major negative impact on the tropical rain forests, look for plantation teak. These teak trees were planted just after the turn of the century on plantations planned by European colonists, so these trees are maturing now for regular harvests that don't impact the rest of the environment, as long as the plantations are well-managed.

Plantation teak boards also tend to cost a little less than wild harvested varieties since teak trees can be particularly difficult to retrieve from a dense and naturally growing rain forest. For the least impact on the tropical environment, look for teak grown in South America instead of Burma or Indonesia. Plantations in Brazil and the surrounding countries actually improve the rain forest's health, even after logging operations moves through the area.


Need a warm and welcoming wood that attracts plenty of attention without the high price tag usually associated with zebrawood and other eye-catching tropical hardwoods? Try a new hybrid wood known as Lyptus. Bred from standard eucalyptus to grow wider trunks for more usable boards for flooring, this hybrid also matures after just 15 years on a plantation. This means that lyptus is a very sustainable wood that has little impact on the health of native rain forests. It's also hard enough to last for years without being so dense that it's nearly impossible to nail through, a common problem with other tropical hardwoods like ipe.


Lyptus is praised for having a golden hue and strong grain that helps it look like mahogany at a lower price. However, nothing truly compares to the outstanding red tone offered by genuine tropical mahogany wood. This hardwood offers other flooring benefits like

  • Greater length and width of boards without knots or splits, resulting in a more streamlined look with fewer seams
  • Strength and stability thanks to a tight grain pattern and natural warp resistance
  • Mid-range hardness, which allows for faster installation without compromising the longevity of the floor.


It's harder to find the prized jatoba wood from a certified sustainable harvesting source, but it's worth the effort if you want a golden hardwood with an intensely orange color. Ranging from a ruddy brown to a shining gold, most varieties of jatoba also feature strong and bold streaking. These streaks are more widely spread than the fine striping found on zebrawood or oiled birch, making them less distracting in a room that already features plenty of accents. Aside from its beauty, jatoba is one of the hardest wood species that can still be installed as flooring.


Finally, consider the Caribbean rosewood for bedrooms, nurseries, and other areas that benefit from a darker and more calming wood pattern. A chocolate brown color pairs with unique patterns based on the specific grain of each tree. Some boards show off complex curling and quilting patterns, while others sport a speckled grain that blends in well with the background color. Rosewood is not as distracting or brightly colored as other tropical hardwoods, making it feel more peaceful and comforting for a room where relaxation is the main goal.

For more information about unique options for hardwood flooring, contact a local flooring company.