If you are in the middle of a remodeling project or you are planning the interior design of your house, you must have realized that choosing the type of flooring that you will lay is a very delicate task.
Not only will it determine a large part of our style, but it will affect many other factors in the house. The materials that you have at your disposal today are many, but we are sure that you would like to know which are the most popular materials on the market and why people choose them.
Undoubtedly one of the most used materials by homeowners is oak. The most common varieties are white and red oak.
In this article, we will talk about the benefits of oak for your floors and we will take a careful look at all the qualities and defects of this material so that you can make a better choice.
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Why is oak such a popular choice?
Its popularity is mainly due to the US market. In the United States, oak is the most purchased material for house floors.
This has a simple explanation. In America, there are 60% of all oak tree species in the world. Except for Hawaii, Alaska, and Idaho, it is native to almost every state in the United States.
25% of all tree fauna found in forests is some type of oak and in this country alone there are more than 90 varieties of oak.
This makes its price quite cheap and can compete with other wood species on the market like solid wood floors made of cherry, hickory, walnut, or pine.
It is also worth mentioning that red and white oak are world famous for all their characteristics: durable, resistant to blows and scratches, resists humidity better than other woods, underfloor heating, easy maintenance, good insulation, a multitude of options, and the wide range of styles and materials with which they can be combined.
This makes oak one of the strongest competitors when it comes to wood flooring. Next, we will talk about all the benefits that oak wood floors can offer you.
Benefits of oak floors
This is the main characteristic of oak, no matter if you are thinking of installing white oak flooring or red oak flooring. According to the Janka rating, red oak has a hardness of 1,290 points, while white oak has a hardness of 1,360 points.
This will ensure you a high-traffic floor. Capable of withstanding a lot of activity and an oak floor is generally estimated to last you 20-30 years. Some brands even offer a duration of up to 50 years.
That is why oak is used in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. It is also a great option in kitchens and even bathrooms, spaces in the house where wood is exposed to humidity, and temperature changes and is more in contact with all kinds of liquids.
Nor should you worry about scratches, since today floor seals are highly effective and even provide some impermeability against humid environments or climates.
2. Sustainable option
Thanks to the fact that they are one of the most popular materials in the manufacture of furniture, solid hardwood floors, boats, and cabinets, the raw material from the forests are preserved and cared for so that there are no supply problems.
In the United States, which is the place where this material has the greatest acceptance, the government has instituted forest protection programs that allow the regular planting of new oak trees throughout the country.
3. A hygienic option
Solid oak flooring does not encourage the growth of parasites and bugs. Unlike carpets, which are one of the most popular choices for homes and apartments, hardwood floors do not harbor mites, bacteria, fungus, or pet dander.
Oakwood does not remain with impregnated odors and absorbs carbon from the air we breathe, regulating and maintaining a healthier environment for all members of your home.
4. Add value to your home
The investment of a wooden floor can become expensive if we buy it with other options such as polished cement, vinyl, or ceramics.
But people who know about real estate report that houses with hardwood floors increase the value of the house when it comes to the sale.
This is because well-maintained hardwood floors reduce cleaning and maintenance costs. In the long run, they are a more profitable and beneficial option for new owners.
New homeowners also prefer different types of wood flooring because of underfloor heating.
What is underfloor heating? In the house, it is the most effective way to heat different rooms.
It is based on a hygroscopic wood system that prevents the deformation of your wood. This stability between the woods can significantly affect the heating of the room using a floor heater.
5. Great variety of options
You have a wide variety of options when it comes to oak hardwood for your floors. As we said before, white and red oak are the most commercial. Although both are excellent options, each one has certain characteristics that will broaden your options when choosing new hardwood floors for your home.
White oak has a yellowish color while red oak has a pinkish tint. It is called red oak for the tree’s leaves, which turn deep red in the fall.
The veins of the oaks also provide a unique and unrepeatable design, while the tiles or vinyl have the same pattern.
If you like wood grains, you should know that red oak has more ornate, while white oak has fewer grains and has more discreet patterns and shapes.
Oak floors are treated with transparent sealers or with very light stains since the idea is to preserve their grain and tone. But you can also stain the wood. In fact, in the market, you can find a great variety of oak wood stained in different colors.
There is also a technique to change the color of oak wood using ammonia gas. This type of wood is called smoked oak and is usually made with European white oak.
The tannins present in the oak wood react to ammonia, thus acquiring deeper and more vivid colors.
Remember that working with wood will allow you to be more creative and give the design of your house a very personalized style. A kitchen, for example, looks great with oak planks because wood provides a warmth unmatched by any other material.
6. Easy to clean and maintain
Wood is one of the easiest materials to clean, you only need a cloth to remove dust and dirt.
In addition, high-quality floors are quarter-sawn so that the wood does not damage or warp with moisture absorption.
You can also clean up spilled liquids on wooden floors on the spot if you act quickly. Then all you need is a floor cleaning product that restores the shine of the wood.
Many modern products help us preserve hardwood floors without scratches. There are specialized wax products that will solve the problem of some unfortunate scratches.
If you were very unlucky and one of your floorboards broke or cracked completely, it is very easy to put in a replacement. Unlike tile, you won’t have to go looking for the exact pattern, just make sure it’s the same type of wood and has the same sealer or stain as your floor.
7. Good Acoustics
Hardwood floors work well with both acoustic and thermal bases. This material is a great insulator from outside noise as it helps to eliminate vibrations and hollow sounds.
That is why places like theaters, music studios, or where ballet and contemporary dance are practiced always have wooden floors as their first choice.
Disadvantages of oak floors
Although oak is a great option, we must mention some problems with this material, so that you can be aware of its strengths and weaknesses and can make the right decision for your home.
If you do not take good care of oak floors or buy low-quality wood, in the future the wood will expand and contract with different changes in temperature and humidity. This is solved by placing a good base layer when installing your floors and allowing the wood to acclimate to the environment before starting the installation.
If you are looking for an unusual design, then oak is not the material you are looking for. When looking for more modern options, polished concrete or tile floor may be more appealing to you because oak is very popular and its prices are accessible in the market.
If you are looking for a product that will last for a long time, oak floors are a great choice. The initial investment may be somewhat expensive, but keep in mind that this material lasts at least 20 years and you will only need to maintain it occasionally.
They also increase the value of your property and are a sustainable option for the environment. Oak will never go out of style and thanks to its popularity you can find it in different styles and colors.
We hope this guide has served you and now you know all the benefits of investing in oak floors.