Are you shopping for new hardwood flooring? You may have noticed that oak hardwood is overwhelmingly one of the most popular species on the market.
Why is oak hardwood so popular?
Oak is one of the most abundant hardwoods for lumber in the United States today. It’s native in North American and can be found all across Canada and the United States. Most red oaks grow over 150 feet in height and up to 6 feet in diameter before harvest. White oaks reach 80 feet in height and up to 6 feet in diameter.
What makes oak hardwood popular
Oak hardwood flooring is used throughout American homes because of its hardness, strength, and durability. Because oak trees grow in abundance and are readily available here in the States, it’s easy for harvesters to keep up with demand. That keeps prices low while quality remains high, meaning it’s a great option for homeowners. It’s supply and demand.
Of course, the only reason it continues to be in demand is because it works well as flooring. If homeowners didn’t like its durability, it would fade from use. Overall, homeowners choose oak flooring because of its:
Character – most homeowners start with looks. And you can’t go wrong when you select oak flooring. Oak has a natural character that’s accentuated when it’s turned into planks. You’ll notice the knots, streaks, and other blemishes that give it its unique look.
Versatility – if you want a timeless look that goes well with any decor, look no further than oak hardwood. You can use oak as your base, from country charm to traditional decor, and create classic good looks. It isn’t easy to find that with any other species of hardwood flooring.
Hardness – hardwood makes great flooring. But it’s still wood, and with wood comes the possibility of marring the finish. With too much pressure, you can scratch, dent, or even buckle the planks. That’s all determined by how hard the species of wood used is during production. That’s why oak flooring remains popular. The Janka hardness test is used to measure the hardness of wood floors. The higher the Janka rating, the more pressure required to dent the floor. The Janka score for a Northern Red Oak will be 1,220-foot-pounds. Compare that to Maple at 1,010, or Knotty Pine at 690. White oak flooring isn’t the hardest wood, it does well with most of what homeowners can dish out.
Home value – while homebuyers have specific desires in mind while they shop, they don’t want too much personality already existing inside potential homes. They want hardwood – but may be cautious if it’s too exotic for their tastes. A well maintained oak flooring will allow a homebuyer to check off that on their wish lists without giving it another thought.
The difference between red and white oak
Oak flooring is the most popular hardwood for flooring in America. But what a lot of people don’t realize is there are two separate types of oak commonly used for flooring – red and white.
If you are installing new hardwood floors, either red or white oak will do a great job over time. Which wood you select ultimately will determine what style and color you prefer. Both are durable and rank well on the Janka scale. Even the pricing can be similar depending on the market you’re in. What’s the difference then?
Color – if you install your oak flooring with a natural finish, red oak tends to have a pinkish tint. It will also be brighter than white oak. White oak tends to have warmer brown tones, and finishes darker than its red counterpart. When you stain it, red oak will continue to have red undertones, especially with stains in the lighter hues. White oak will take well to browner undertones, creating a darker look. The darker the stain, the more this difference disappears.
Grain – traditionally, red oak will have a more robust grain pattern. That means you’ll have more variance in the look of your floors. White oak is smoother and has more continuity; it’s great if you desire a uniform look. If you prefer grains to help hide scratches and marks, red oak may be better suited for your living environment. If you are minimalist and want clean lines, white oak may give you exactly what you’re looking for.
Having a house built means you can go with any type of wood and create continuity throughout your home. But if you’re replacing specific sections of your home, and want to match what already exists, knowing what’s already installed becomes a bigger challenge.
We’re happy to help you determine what you have in place. This becomes especially important if you’re butting up against hardwood stairs. Overall, red oak is used more frequently in stair treads, banisters, and other transitions. If you have them in place and won’t be replacing them, chances are good it’s red oak. They are both beautiful and will handle well over the years as you enjoy your new hardwood.
Red or white oak hardwood – which should you choose for your flooring?
If you’re in the market for new hardwood flooring, either red or white oak hardwood will do. Either species stands the test of time, and will give you a beautiful base for any decor you choose.
If you’re just starting the process of looking for flooring, start by asking yourself some questions.
- What are you looking for in flooring?
- What colors and hues do you prefer?
- Are you looking for easy maintenance?
- Will you be selling your home in the near future?
- And finally: What is your budget?
While there are many different species and types of hardwood on the market today, few have the chance of taking the place of oak. Both red and white oak are here to stay because of their availability and durability. If you install an oak hardwood flooring today, you won’t regret it in the coming weeks and months.
Nothing says beauty quite the way hardwood does. And if you install oak hardwood in your home, you’ll never go wrong.
How can we help you find the perfect oak hardwood to suit your needs?
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