Having a neutral color and easy-to-stain surface, Oak hardwood is one of the most popular options for flooring. With a neutral color, Oak flooring is ideal for any room in a home or building; light enough to blend in and distinct enough to stand out.
Although with similar properties and appearances, Red and White Oak have some notable differences, including hardness and color.
Characterized by a uniform light reddish color, Red Oak encompasses over 200 subspecies across North America. It consists of heartwood and sapwood of a similar shade. The wood itself is characterized by open but somewhat coarse grain, which makes it more receptive to staining, and has a plumed or flared appearance.
With a Janka Hardness Scale rating of 1290, Red Oak is a durable wood species. Knowing this is helpful for many reasons, especially during installation as this hardwood has good holding ability, sands well, is ideal for bleaching, and is also resistant to splitting.
Possessing many of the same qualities and characteristics as Red Oak, White Oak flooring displays a white, cream, or light brown shade. Despite less variation when cut, White Oak also has the appearance of longer rays.
Also durable, White Oak earns a Janka scale rating of 1360, making it slightly stronger than Red Oak, and thus better for machining.
While not ideal for bleaching, White Oak does posses a high concentration of tannins, making the wood resistant to insects and fungi. It’s also an outstanding choice for installation over radiant heat systems.
Various sawing methods are available with Oak flooring; each one creating a different appearance. The most common, plain sawn Oak flooring, typically has a plumed appearance. Rift Sawn, on the other hand, gives the wood a tighter grain pattern, and Quarter Sawn gives it a flaked appearance. A combination of each of these unique methods is called Live Sawn and is used in the immensely popular wide plank European French Oak flooring that has dominated the industry over the past several years.
French Oak engineered hardwood flooring features wide width, long length planks that are perfect for opening up interior spaces of all sizes. While some French Oak floors feature actual White Oak harvested in France, the term “French Oak” really refers to a specific aesthetic style. This flooring replicates an antiqued, aged, “Old World” look that compliments a wide range of interior design styles ranging from coastal to Mediterranean to modern farmhouse and more.
Most manufacturers offer both prefinished and unfinished engineered French Oak hardwood flooring; the latter affording homeowners with the opportunity to create a truly custom wood floor with a stain of their choosing. As is the case with any engineered hardwood floor, you’ll want to pay attention to the thickness of the top wear layer as this is the determining factor on how many re-sandings and re-finishings you will be able to complete over the lifetime of the floor. As a general rule, on average, a 3mm wear layer will allow for 2 re-sandings & refinishings. Floors with a thick 4mm wear layer will typically yield 3.
As you can see, Oak floors give homeowners many different benefits depending construction (solid or engineered), finish (prefinished or unfinished), species (Red, White, or European style), grades, cuts, widths, lengths, and more. When shopping for the lowest prices on top quality Oak hardwood flooring, there are a lot of factors to consider!
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