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Oak Hardwood Flooring in Living Room

Hardwood Oak Flooring

Oak hardwood flooring spans two species, white oak and red oak, and looks beautiful in all types of homes–from rustic to contemporary.

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Hardwood Oak Flooring

Oak Hardwood Flooring in Bathroom

About Oak Hardwood Flooring

You may be most familiar with the look of white oak thanks to its surge in popularity, but as you search for the perfect flooring for your home, it's helpful to know more about the hardwood itself. Oak hardwood flooring spans two species, white oak and red oak, and looks beautiful in all types of homes–from rustic to contemporary. Native to North America and the northern hemisphere, respectively, both oak wood flooring options offer durable versatility and their own unique looks

What Is Oak Hardwood Flooring?

Oak flooring consists of either red oak or white oak planks. Red oak has a classic hardwood vibe with colors ranging from pale tan to medium brown with a reddish tint. White oak flooring is naturally darkerwith nutty brown hues and a simple grain pattern. Thoughboth stain easily, white oak takes lighter stains, like cool greys and bleached whites, better. 

Appearance

How do you want your space to feel and what colors best compliment your decor? Oak flooring is very versatile and can match almost any design style you have your eye set on, so answers to these questions can help determine which oak flooring best meets your needs. 

White oak flooring is the darker hardwood, featuring warm brown hues that can turn golden over time. The planks showcase the wood's medium grain with narrow, straight lines and small pores, which make for a flat finish. You’ll often find white oak floors in homes with open floor plans since they can bring warmth and coziness to a space. 

If you'd like to lighten up your home, red oak flooring may be for you. Its natural tones run from light white to golden brown with hints of pink and red. Though straight-grained, red oak flooring can also feature sleek swirls that give it a classic hardwood feel. 

Durability and Maintenance

When it comes to durability, you can't go wrong with either oak wood flooring option. Though white oak flooring is slightly harder, both are tolerant of heavy traffic, so you won’t have to worry about your kids and pets constantly running in and out of the house. Plus, both oak woods are fairly resistant to dents and scratches, leaving you less worried about potential damage and giving you more time to focus on what matters: your family. Oak isn't waterproof, so avoid using it in high-moisture rooms and wipe up spills quickly to avoid damage. 

Maintaining oak hardwood flooring requires regularly sweeping or vacuuming without the beater bar. The manufacturer’s label will give you instructions specific to caring for the oak flooring you choose. 

Lifespan

When you purchase oak floors, you’re investing in a lifetime of flooring. Oak wood flooring can hold up to 100 years or more of use under the right conditions. These include: 

  • Proper installation
  • Quality materials 
  • Routine maintenance based on the manufacturer's guidelines

You may notice fading from wear after a few decades, but that only adds charm and character! Don’t worry, though, if you’re set on keeping your floors in polished condition, both red oak and white oak floors can be sanded and refinished when you're ready for a fresh look. 

Installation

The subfloor in your home will help determine which installation method is best for your oak flooring: gluing, nailing, or stapling. Professional installers are recommended to ensure the installation meets warranty standards, giving you the best lifespan, appearance, and durability available.

Before installation, the oak hardwood planks need to acclimate to the temperature and moisture levels of your space for at least 72 hours. Skipping this step could cause the wood to expand or warp, which is why we recommend hiring a professional installer to ensure this process goes smoothly. 

Oak Hardwood Flooring: Pros and Cons

In general, opting for oak wood flooring is a good investment. The dense hardwood can last a lifetime, withstands pets and busy households, and delivers timeless beauty for all interior design styles. 

Like everything else, oak flooring has its downsides. Though it's dense and resilient, it doesn't offer any soundproofing qualities like carpet or cork. You'll want to consider your climate, too, since a rise in humidity levels or even drastic temperature changes can lead to expanding and contracting. Though not a drawback to all homeowners, the popularity of oak wood flooring makes it less unique but no less gorgeous. 

Red Oak vs. White Oak Hardwood

Red and white oak trees are two distinct species with different densities and characteristics. But when it comes to oak flooring, their differences lie mainly in their appearance. 

  • White oak is darker than red oak and better suited for lighter white or grey stains. 
  • Wide plank white oak lightens up a space and works beautifully in modern and contemporary spaces. 
  • Wide plank red oak flooring warms up each room, which explains why it's often used in rustic, cabincore, and farmhouse design styles. 
  • Red oak is slightly softer than white oak, though close enough that they're almost equally durable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is oak a good choice for flooring?

Yes! Oak hardwood flooring is a classic for a reason. Not only is it readily available and dependably resilient but also beautifully adaptive to fit your home's design style. 

Do oak floors scratch easily?

Oak flooring is tough, but like all hardwood floors it can scratch under certain circumstances. You can help prevent scratches by regularly sweeping or vacuuming, using doormats and rugs, and lifting rather than dragging heavy objects.

How hard is an oak floor?

White oak floors are on the durable end of the hardwood spectrum after maple and hickory. Red oak is slightly softer but still considered a medium-range hardness. Both species of oak flooring can withstand the wear and tear of a busy household.

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