One tough tree in the block
Native to temperate climate, beech trees are usually 30 to 40 meters tall, and can be found in Europe, Asia, and North America. Beech trees have a distinctive toothed leaf, and grow on a wide range of soil types (both acid, and basic), given they have enough water. They are also good at partnering up with maple trees, usually creating beech-maple forests, a closed canopy hardwood forest where they both dominate, and the habitat usually has a well-balanced supply of moisture.
Beech hardwood has a good range of applications, from firewood, to furniture, to floors. It is an excellent firewood; under fiery circumstances, it easily splits and burns for many hours with bright, calm flames. This has led many, to use it as fining agent in the brewing of beers (Budweiser being known to use it) and smoked beers, where beech chips are employed. Beech logs are burned to dry malts used by some German smoked beers, giving them their typical flavour, and is also favored to smoke some cheese. Beech has even seem service in the stock of military rifles, when other prefered woods (like walnut) are scarse, or unavailable, or simply as a lower cost alternative.
Good strength, good value
Beech hardwood flooring’s high density and hardness gives it good workability; usually comparable to hard maple, but definitely tending to have a considerable amount of movement due to shrinkage (movement and dimensional stability must be taken into account when installing), it still proves itself as an amazing contender in the hardwood flooring business.
Beech is a little bit particular for maintenance, specially in the need of the right humidity level, and proper air condition all-year-round. With these conditions met and proper maintenance though, beech flooring usually lasts well over 60 years. Beech is a bit harder than oak, ranking at 1300 on the Janka Hardness Scale. It is not as dense as Hard Maple, but it provides lower, very competitive prices, while still giving you strength, and excellent shock resistance that can last a long time when properly cared for.
Beautiful and Inexpensive
Typically a pale, creamy colour, sometimes with a pink/brown hue, beech may have a high degree of variation from heartwood to sapwood, so beware of this fact when decorating your home. Regarding colour change from light exposure, it is very limited with beech. You will need some serious strong lighting in order for it to change colour. Ultra Violet protecting coating comes defacto also, so you do not have to worry about it.
Beech wood has grain that is fine to medium textured, evenly structured, and with closed pores. Its light straw color is mellow, and its fine texture caters for the most demanding tastes. Rather often, you can find a curl in the grain, adding more body and beauty to the wood. If price is a high priority in your checklist, beech will definetely give you a good bang for the buck. Worth considering if you would like to decorate with maple, but are short on change.