Oak Flooring: Durability and Style in One
Oak flooring has been the preferred floor choice for homeowners for decades. It is available in a wide variety of different colors, patterns, styles and finishes making it easy to find one to suit any room of your home. You can buy unfinished, pre-finished and specially treated oak flooring but there is no real trade off in quality because all oak floors are high end, solid hardwoods. This makes oak an ideal choice for high end homes and extremely practical for many households.
The reason oak flooring is so popular for hardwood floors is that oak trees are some of the oldest trees in the world. They have perfect growing conditions which make them very adaptable to growing conditions in your home. This makes oak trees a great choice for people who are planning on installing their floors at a later stage in life. Oak trees are naturally resistant to pests such as termites and oak worms so you will not have to worry about introducing any new household addition to the family. And with oak flooring being so easily available, cheap, affordable, strong and beautiful, you have nothing to lose.
There are two types of oak wood floors that you can install in your home; solid oak flooring or engineered oak flooring. Both are made from the wood of the oak trees but the difference lies in the way the boards are sub-floored. In solid oak floors, the sub-floor is completely solid and cannot be penetrated or damaged in anyway. Engineered oak floors on the other hand have a solid board sub-floor that is glued and screwed together. This allows moisture to seep through the boards and can therefore be more susceptible to mildew and mould.
Types of solid oak flooring
The main differences between solid and engineered oak flooring lies in terms of the hardness of the wood. Solid wood floors are harder than engineered ones but not by enough to be deemed unbreakable. With a rating of 5.5 on the Mohs scale, hard wood floors are just about as hard as steel. The higher the number assigned to a material, the harder it is.
Oak flooring options available today have far more features and benefits than in years gone by. For example, there is now a high grade synthetic variety available that is almost as durable as oak flooring but is half the cost. You also no longer have to worry about dead nails and splinters. All this can be done while maintaining the look and durability of hardwood floors.
While oak flooring has always been known for its natural beauty, modern technology has resulted in many engineered varieties that have been manufactured to closely resemble the appearance of solid wood. You can still choose from a variety of stains and finishes to help give your oak flooring variety and individual character. Engineered oak flooring has the same strength and durability as solid wood floor products. However, the savings in cost has allowed manufacturers to produce engineered products at a much lower cost than solid wood alternatives.
Perhaps the most common reason for choosing oak flooring over hardwood floors is due to the fact that it is considerably easier to clean and maintain. Oak is one of the easiest materials to care for. Compared to other types of hardwood floors, oak has little need for extra cleaning. It is also naturally anti-microbial and thus easy to keep fungus and mold at bay. One interesting fact about oak flooring is that it resists fire.
When comparing hardwoods such as oak, or softwoods such as ash wood there is one to watch out for – clear grade. If you notice that the finish on your new floor appears cracked or chipped, chances are it is not clear grade and will actually have a higher gloss than most clear oak flooring does. Some vendors will try to sell you oak flooring that is “clear grade”, but it will have an extremely low gloss and be very uneven. In order to keep your floors looking great throughout the years and maintaining its durability, stick with the highest quality, highest shine, and lowest natural occurring scratches and chips.