Oak hardwood floors have remained a constant best seller for decades for a variety of reasons. Oak is durable, versatile, stable and has been easily attainable so the cost is reasonable. Hardwood floors take a beating daily with all the activity that happens on them. The finish on the hardwood floor is what makes it wear well but the wood needs to be hard enough to take the constant daily use. Wood is measured by the Janka hardness scale to measure the durability of a type of wood. Oak wood is in the middle range on the Janka scale. That means it wears well but can easily be hand scraped or distressed to give it texture.
There are two different oak species used in hardwood flooring. Red Oak and White Oak are both available in solid and engineered hardwood flooring. It is always important to be clear as to what type of oak wood you are looking at to know which best fits your needs. We’ll talk about the slight differences between the two as we look at the characteristics of oak wood.
Red oak is faster growing and more common of the two. Red oak flooring has a rosier tone and a more patterned grain. The above picture is select grade unfinished. If you’re looking for a floor that has a great deal of character in the grain, then red oak is best for you. Red oak is slightly lower on the Janka hardness scale at 1290, but the patterns of the grain in red oak make it a better choice for a busy household as the patterns will hide scratch and dent marks more.
White oak is slower growing and denser with a Janka rating of 1360. White oak flooring tends to be browner with golden or yellow tones and a less busy aspect to its grain. This picture is also select grade unfinished. Since white oak is an older tree when it is harvested, it is often used in the wider plank choices. It has a smooth clean look that is often used in a contemporary home. White oak contains closed grains and pores which make it more water resistant of the two species. This lends well to use in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.
Another benefit of oak wood is that it tends to be a stable wood. Wood is hygroscopic, meaning that it gives and takes in water based on its surrounding. If there is more moisture in the air then it will expand and if there is less it will contract. This can be an issue for areas that deal with moisture problems, especially areas that fluctuate. Oak wood is more stable than other types of wood and tends to be less affected by changes in moisture, helping to decrease the amount of expansion and contraction that can occur.
As you can see Oak hardwood flooring is durable, stable choice with versatile looks to meet your needs. When you are looking at getting new wood installed in your home it is always best to consult an expert, so please contact us or come and see our many samples of Oak hardwood flooring.