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Out of all flooring options, hardwood is undoubtedly the most sought-after. There are so many species and each is unique in its own way.

Among them, oak and maple are often the top choices, but choosing between them can be confusing. Oak, for instance, ages well, while maple is loved for its light finish which tends to suit modern spaces. But it ultimately boils down to personal preferences.

Fortunately, The Reno Superstore offers a large collection of oak and maple flooring at great prices. To help you understand a little more about them and empower you to make a more informed decision, let’s compare.

Oak vs. Maple: Which Is the Better Flooring Choice?

Oak and maple are great options when it comes to hardwood floors. But, like any other flooring material, they have their benefits and downsides.

1. Strength and Durability

Strength and Durability

Oak floors are legendary when it comes to their strength and durability, and can last up to 200 years with proper care and maintenance. 

Red oak is more common than white; it rates 1290 on the Janka hardness scale. (White oak being harder rates 1360.) It is ideal for moderate to high-traffic areas, so can be installed in places like living rooms and common passageways.

Maple, on the other hand, rates 1450 on the same scale. This makes it harder than oak and ideal for rooms that have high foot traffic.

It is important to note, however, that there are many species of maple and their hardness varies accordingly. For instance, black maple with a hardness of 1190 is somewhat hard, but sugar maple is the most durable.

2. Appearance and Style

Appearance and Style

Stylish floors make a great first impression, so how do oak and maple compare?

Firstly, oak floors tend to age well and work best in a traditional setting. They come in a variety of natural shades, from limed white to very dark. This offers a larger variety to customers who want options. They are loved for their active grain patterns which help hide small dents and irregularities.

By contrast, maple offers light natural finishes with a subtle grain pattern. So if you have a contemporary setting with large open spaces, maple wood is a good choice as it will provide consistency.

3. Staining and Finishing

Staining and Finishing

Unless you’re installing the pre-finished kind where the staining is done at the factory, wooden floors require staining and finishing.

Oak floors absorb stain very well so it’s easy to change colors when refinishing them. That means their coloring can range from very light textures to deep ebony. 

Please note that red and white oak is not so named because of the actual colors of the wood; this instead refers to their bark. Red oak tends to have pink undertones while white oak is darker, with gold and brownish tones.

Maple, which does not absorb stain as well as oak, tends to appear a little blotchy. Maple tends to take darker stains differently, and the results are often grey floors which is a very stylized look but not necessarily a disadvantage.

Also, they tend to yellow over time when exposed to natural light. To combat this issue, use a high-grade water-based polyurethane varnish.

4. Resistance to Moisture

Resistance to Moisture

Solid hardwood floors are prone to warping and damage when exposed to high moisture, which is why you shouldn’t install them in bathrooms or basements. 

However, oak is quite stable and performs well in summer humidity as well as dry winter conditions. Dehumidifying basements during the summer months and humidifying the air in the winter are recommended.

Maple floors need stable environments; meaning the air temperature needs to be between 55 and 75°F, with indoor humidity between 35 and 50 percent. As mentioned, hardwood floors are not resilient against humidity. Oak may show a bit more stability, but it’s best not to install them in humid areas.

5. Maintenance and Care

Maintenance and Care

Hardwood floors in general are low maintenance. Regular sweeping and vacuuming are all that is required for their upkeep. Using a damp (not wet) mop prevents dust from accumulating.

Oak and maple are both hygienic options when kept clean, reducing the occurrence of allergens that usually occur with carpet. If you have any doubts about their care routine, consult your installer.

6. Price Tag

Price Tag

Hardwood floors are an expensive as well as a long-lasting option. If you’re looking for an affordable option that resembles solid hardwood, engineered wood (in the species of your choice) is the better bet. To learn more about solid wood and engineered hardwood, read here.

Oak and maple cost almost the same. The price entirely depends on product availability. The cost of maple varies according to its grade, so make sure you ask which grade you are getting. The clearer the maple, the more expensive it tends to be; the lower grade ones (those with mineral streaks and pin knots) are more affordable.

Oak and maple are both great flooring choices, with each lending a unique quality to your home. Which you choose depends on you. Make sure to add the cost of installation to your budget when planning a remodel. It is best to hire reputable floor installation services to ensure the best results. To make the most informed decision, consult the experts at The Reno Superstore.

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