Brazilian Cherry/Jatoba Hardwood Floors
Brazilian Cherry hardwood grows in Brazil (obviously) and is often referred to as Jatoba, its Spanish name. Due to the climate and growing cycles, Brazilian Cherry is much harder than the typical oak you traditionally see here in the US. On the Janka hardness scale, Red Oak is a 1290 while Brazilian Cherry is 2350 – almost twice as hard as oak.
Please note that this article may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
But, the main reason customers love Brazilian Cherry hardwood is its beauty. The redness and depth of color is unparalleled, along with the richness of its smooth graining. Even if you stain oak to be red, you can’t get same effect – it’s impossible. Take a look.
Brazilian Cherry typically comes in wider planks which is more stylish and makes the space look larger. What a lot of customers don’t realize about Brazilian Cherry is that there is a lot of color variation across the planks – some will be lighter and some darker.
Unfortunately, many sample boards in the stores and/or the store clerks don’t explain this, so some customers feel misled. I always explain this to my customers because I want them to understand what they are getting – last thing I want is for someone to be surprised.
Most fans of Brazilian Cherry love this color variation because it celebrates the beauty of a natural product. But others, want a more uniform look for their house, and for those customers, Brazilian Cherry is not the best option.
Virtually all hardwoods darken over time due to light – just like our skin tans in the sun from the melanin, so does hardwood. And, Brazilian Cherry, along with the other exotic hardwoods from South America, tend to darken more as they are more sensitive to light.
So your Brazilian Cherry will start out lighter, but over the first year will darken to its brilliant red tone. Customers do need to understand this and realize that spaces with area rugs or furniture won’t darken as much, so if they move them, those spaces will be lighter. But, not to worry as once they are exposed to the light, they will eventually catch up.
Some customers get Brazilian Cherry and American Cherry confused. These are 2 very different woods. Brazilian Cherry is more brilliant in its redness and it’s a very hardwood (2,350 on hardness scale) vs. American Cherry is actually a much softer wood (950 – significantly softer than oak). It’s graining is different – doesn’t look as rich and it dents super easily because it’s so soft.
Related hardwood articles:
- How to eliminate or reduce the redness in Brazilian Cherry and American Cherry woods
- Most popular hardwood flooring species
- Hardwood flooring trends
Complementary products that will prolong the life of your floors
Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring-Westchester NY
13 thoughts on “Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring-Westchester NY”
We see more Oak here in middle GA, but occasionally a custom home will have beautiful Brazilian Cherry floors.
Anita – Yes, oak is more common here in NY as well, but Brazilian Cherry is definitely gaining in popularity.
Have you ever stained jatoba hardwood floors to tone down the red? What stain did you use?
Yes, we have. We have found Dark Walnut to drown it out the most (even moreso than jacobean and ebony). You can still see red undertones – looks like a mix of ebony and red mahogany.
Thank you for your tip! I would never have guessed that since on swatches dark walnut looks much warmer than jacobean and ebony. I thought I had to go with the stain with the most green undertones to make the jaroba the least red possible.
Hi again, from your experience does the stain on brazilian cherry need to be water popped in order to better hide the red? I also heard it can be hard to get brazilian cherry stained easily. Would water popping help with that? Thanks for your help!
Danielle – Oh yes, the water popping can help. I would test that to see which way you prefer. The water pop will cost a bit more, but it may be the better way to go.
We haven’t had issues with Brazilian Cherry stain absorption/evening (that happens more in maple with the closed pores). The water popping will help open up the pores to increase stain absorption and hence it will probably make t darker and less red.
A little typo there, I meant I heard it was hard to get brazilian cherry stained evenly.
IWe have decided on prefinished Jatoba 5×3/4. We’ve looked at least 3 suppliers and are leaning towards Indusparquet. Do you have an opininion? Milling, finish quality, and short boards are all concerns. Do you have a manufacturer to recommend?
Indusparquet has gone through so many changes throughout the years and I haven’t used them recently. I would try to avoid lots of shorts…or else buy extra. Nature is a good brand to consider. We probably did more unfinished than prefinished Brazilian Cherry. I would avoid Lumber Liquidator brands as those have terrible milling and a lot of defects. Their samples look great, but they are very misleading.
We want to refinish our Brazilian Cherry floors on the main floor to get rid of the bright red and to match the rest of the home which has grey-stained oak. Is it possible to stain BC floors grey? If so, how would you suggest going about doing this? Thanks!
Hi Lori. First, I want to set the expectation that your Brazilian Cherry floors will never match the oak. They are different species with different graining, color variation and there is some underlying red in the Braz Cherry floors, no matter what you do. (And, the color variation across the boards is different).
That being said, you can come pretty close, but you will need some talented refinishers who are very experienced with gray. And, this will be more expensive than the typical sanding and refinishing. First, you will need to bleach the floors. This will drown out some/most of red (but not all). Then, you will want to sand and refinish them gray. Read this article for more info on how to do it. It has all the products to use/where to buy them. https://theflooringgirl.com/flooring-and-color-trends/staining-hardwood-floors-gray-westchester-county-ny.html
You want to mix ebony and white stains. Then use Bona Traffic HD. all the info on where to find the items is in the other post. The darker the gray, the easier it will be as more of the red/pink will be drowned out.
Alternatively, you can go dark and use a dark walnut. That will also drain out more of the red (again, not all of it). If you go that route, use an oil based poly. Do not water pop. Just a regular sand and refinish. Also, there is new super dark stain called True black and that would probably drown it out even more, but you should have them test that and/or a mix of true black/dark walnut. We have not tried True black on Brazilian Cherry yet. But test it to see. (Note: Dark Walnut turns out darker on Braz cherry than Ebony and Jacobean, even though it’s the opposite on oak). No matter what they do, test the samples.