If you’re planning on installing new hardwood floors in your home, you’ll have plenty of options. There are many different types of wood to choose from and all have something a bit different to offer. So which one is the best for you?
When it comes to variety of grain, price, and durability - Oak flooring might be your best bet. Oak Hardwood has become one of the most popular types of flooring in the United States over the past couple of decades, but its reputation for old-world beauty and craftsmanship dates back centuries. There are over 60 different varieties of Oak that grow domestically in the United States, which means a variety of options and a relatively low price point.
Oak is one of the best options when it comes to stability. In terms of flooring, stability refers to the wood's ability to respond to moisture levels by either shrinking or expanding. Compared with other types of wood - like hickory or maple wood flooring, Oak is a much safer bet.
Unlike many other types of wood, Oak has the benefit of being easily stained. This ability gives you the option of several different colors. Most other types of wood don’t stain as easily and therefore, you’re stuck with that color. With Oak, you are able to stain it as bright or as dark as you’d like to match the rooms décor.
Oak comes in a variety of natural colors ranging from light beige to brown and red. The same tree can display a whole spectrum of different colors within. Usually, the inner wood tends to be slightly darker than the outer wood, although this is not always so. Some woods stay the same color, white oak tends to darken over time if exposed to oxygen and U.V rays.
There are several different types of grain characteristics that depend on the species of wood. Red and white oaks are the two predominant types and are both usually straight-grained, offering a “clean” look. The characteristics that make white and red oak different are the wood’s pores. The pores in the white oak are sealed by an outgrowth of cells called tyloses, which help to prevent damage to the tree. Red oaks usually have open pores. Both types have rays that run alongside the grain, which can look like dark dotted pencil lines, which are typically shorter in red oaks.
The maintenance required for oak is usually minimal but varies upon how the wood is finished and the amount of traffic on the floor. If the wood is properly sealed then it can withstand great amounts of moisture, and usually performs better than most species. If your flooring is made of engineered wood, it’s important to remember it will withstand exposure to moisture better than solid wood planks.
Oak is one of the densest hardwoods available, with white oak being just slightly denser than red oak. Both types are much denser than other popular hardwoods like yellow birch, black cherry, and walnut. Because of this hardness, both types of oak are more durable, being resistant to denting and scratching than almost any other type of wood on the market.
Oak generally costs between $3.99 and $9.25 per board, although the prices of red and white oak vary depending on supply and demand. The size of the boards will have an effect on the price, as well, and the price differential between red and white oak can vary.
Benefits of Oak Flooring Compared to Other Types of Wood
As one of the most common types of wood flooring, Oak has many benefits that make it a top choice over other types of wood. Due to its harder grain, it stains evenly and with ease. This ability means there are numerous color options for the homeowner to choose from that aren’t available with other types of hardwood. You have a wide range of options for which shade of finish, from light to dark to choose from.
The price tends to be on the lower side of the spectrum due to the short aging process for oak trees (around 20 years to reach maturity) and there is also more abundant in the United States than other species, making it more affordable. Also, installation usually tends to be easier because the grains of each individual plank can match up with one another than other types of hardwood. Their superior stability also means they’re easier to install.
The Growing Popularity of French Oak
If you’ve decided that Oak is the right choice for your home, we at Blue Ridge Floors would like to personally recommend going with French Oak. While there are many appealing things about French Oak flooring, what makes French Oak such a desirable option is its variety of colors to choose from, it’s durability and it’s naturally rustic feel.
Found in many Victorian and Colonial homes, stepping into a room with French Oak Flooring can transport you back in time and while this type of wood has been used for decades in Europe, it’s recent surge in popularity here in the U.S should come as no surprise. Perfect for home renovations or modern home builds, French Oak offers a rustic look and feel, while still being a durable and dependable option.
Blue Ridge Floors is proud to offer the finest in French Oak flooring at any of our showrooms. Contact us today to discuss the brand and options for your project.