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Hardwood Flooring Product Profile: What Is Black Walnut?

black walnut hardwood flooring dining room

Black walnut is a beautiful hardwood that will add interest and value to your home; these hardwood floors will add a spectacular look to any room.


I live near a castle.

Some might say Craigdarroch Castle is not exactly a castle. It might be more of a bonanza extravaganza right out of the imagination of a local, Pacific coast multi-millionaire coal baron. But it is right down the street.

Oversized mansions were built as symbols of success for wealthy North American industrialists, especially during the Victorian period. This 20,000-square-foot mansion, built in the nineteenth century, was created in what is identified as a Richardsonian Romanesque style, and is situated in a residential neighborhood. It was a study in luxury for the time period. At the same time, it is perhaps less sophisticated than it might have been because the result was rather ostentatious rather than beautiful or well-designed.

But what’s wonderful about this castle is its wood.

Exquisite panelling and flooring

Not only does it look like it leapt off the pages of a novel by Sir Walter Scott, but the home is filled with exquisite wood panelling and flooring, created with the most wonderful woods from around the world. The high level of craftsmanship evident in the exterior masonry and detailing is also evident in the wall and floor surfaces, stained glass, and joinery found throughout the interior. The combination of native and imported materials was unprecedented.

walnut hearthstone hardwood flooring bd

Jasper Hardwood – Mountain Home Artisan Collection – Walnut Hearthstone

The wood includes mostly American black walnut, but also jarra, rosewood, maple, holly, white oak and local garry oak. The use of these different woods from both international and local sources is not only eclectic and sensational, it also gives the space a warmth that allows for different types of moldings, engraving and inscriptions which make the home a more welcoming place.

Here’s how to bring that same warmth and magic into your own home with black walnut flooring. Black walnut is a beautiful hardwood that will add interest and value to your home, even without heritage status and the budget of a coal baron.

Black walnut stats

Latin name: Juglans nigra
Janka Hardness rating: 1010 (less than red oak)
Common color spectrum: Light pale brown to dark chocolate brown
Stability: Average (less than red oak)

A rich American vintage

It wouldn’t be inaccurate to describe black walnut as a fine wine among domestic hardwoods. Also known as American walnut, black walnut is a hardwood typically grown in the central and eastern United States, and it features a color that varies from a light pale brown to dark chocolate brown with undertones of gray or even a purple or red shade to its grain.

Regardless of the grade or how it is cut, unfinished walnut flooring has a darker appearance than other hardwoods, with lighter and darker parts in the grain of the wood that enhance its rustic appeal. The color of black walnut can get lighter over time, however, if it is exposed to light. Remember to let the wood rest for a few months before you cover it with an area rug, just so that it tones to the correct color for your space without fading. Even so, like a sophisticated bottle of wine, this type of wood has a deep patina that grows richer and more complex with age.

Transitional Kitchen by Minneapolis Tile, Stone & Countertops Granite Pro, Inc.

Similar to other North American hardwoods such as cherry, black walnut is softer than its South American counterparts such as Brazilian Walnut. This doesn’t mean it is a poor choice, however; black walnut is very durable, which means that it’s not subject to insect infestation or rot. It’s a wonderful long term investment.

Warm, sophisticated, and inviting

This hardwood isn’t just a pretty face, however. Black walnut flooring is all about comfort, castle or no castle.

What it comes down to is how this flooring feels under your feet. Black walnut usually has a straight grain, and its plain-sawn surfaces are soft and comfortable to walk on. While woods with more knots might align with a hipster design sensibility, this option can add timeless beauty and comfort to your favorite room with its fine, smooth surface texture. In this way, black walnut creates a space that can create warmth and luxury for your family and friends.

Modern Bedroom by Sherwood Park Interior Designers & Decorators Willow Tree Interiors

Lavish love on your home

I’m lucky to live next to one of the earliest, most flamboyant and best preserved of the bonanza castles in this country.

What I haven’t told you about the story of this castle is that our illustrious local coal baron, Robert Dunsmuir, built it for love.

Having carried off his wife, Joan, to the wilds of the Pacific coast from her native Scotland, he worked with his architect to combine elements from a variety of architectural styles to create a dramatic design that was intended to evoke the romance of her homeland. He wanted her to feel cossetted and safe, so that she could raise their thirteen children in peace.

So he built her a castle, and he filled it with black walnut floors and walls.

Adds value to any home — not just castles!

The traditional and authentic look of black walnut flooring adds value to any home, even those without turrets. These hardwood floors will add a spectacular look to any room. For subtle elegance in a hardwood floor, try black walnut plank flooring for a warm and welcoming look.

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