Oak is one of the most popular flooring options in Canada. Easily available and well-loved, it is safe to say that oak flooring is a staple in both homes and businesses. It is also easy to work with, looks great, and is available in a number of colours.
So, if you are looking to install oak flooring in your Toronto or Mississauga home, The Reno Superstore is the right place to start. But, we always say that it is best to understand everything about the flooring of your choice before you buy.
So, here is everything (important) you need to know about oak flooring. Is it the right choice for you? You decide.
Three Key Ways to Recognize Oak Flooring
There are many hardwood flooring choices, however it is relatively easy to identify oak just from looking at it, provided you know where to look. Indeed, if you have never dealt with wood flooring before, then it can be difficult to distinguish it from other species.
Here are some identifiers to watch out for.
Oak comes in a number of different colours, but its grain pattern is unique, making it one of the easier wood species to recognize. There are mainly two types: white and red oak.
White oak flooring tends to be light beige, with more of a yellowish tone than brown; red oak has a pinkish or reddish tone.
The hardness of your wooden floor is very important. White oak measures 1360 as per the Janka Hardness Scale; red oak is 1290.
Even though the Janka rating of oak is not as high as other options like maple or hickory, it does not affect oak’s day-to-day performance. So, if you are looking to install flooring in a medium-traffic area, it is best to choose white oak over red.
- Grain Pattern
Typically, oak is straight-grained with an uneven texture. White oak is slightly more water-resistant. Red oak, on the other hand, has open pores and does not have the same cellular growth so can take on water.
Oak also has rays running along its grain. Red oak sometimes has dark dotted lines running across its planks. The same is true for white oak too, except these dotted lines resemble more like long striations.
The interesting thing about oak flooring is that there isn’t just a single type of oak tree. At least 60 varieties of oak are growing across Canada, with white and red being the most common. Both make for durable and stunning flooring choices that are ideal for busy homes.
Now, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of oak flooring.
Benefits of Installing Oak Flooring
Oak flooring has been a staple in Canadian homes for decades. There is good reason for that, as, in terms of grain, price and durability, it is easily one of the best choices.
But what does this mean to you? Here are some of the top benefits of installing oak hardwood.
Hardwood flooring expands and contracts when exposed to different temperatures. Oak flooring is one of the best options when it comes to stability. Compared to other types of hardwood like maple or hickory, oak offers better stability when exposed to moisture.
If you are looking to install a less expensive hardwood lookalike, engineered hardwood flooring or vinyl is the best choice for moisture-prone areas.
Oak flooring looks great and stains easily (unlike other hardwood variants), which means you can find oak in different colours.
Most hardwoods don’t stain easily, so there is less chance of finding variations. With oak flooring, you can find styles as light or dark as you wish to match your decor.
As mentioned, oak comes in a range of colours from light beige to brown and red. Moreover, the same tree can display a whole spectrum of colours from within. In most cases, the outer wood tends to be lighter, but it can vary. Please note that white oak tends to darken over time when exposed to direct sunlight.
Oak floors require minimal upkeep. But, realistically, their health depends on their finish and the amount of traffic they receive. Always make sure your wood flooring is professionally installed, such as via The Reno Superstore, for the best results.
Avoid using harsh cleaning products and other chemicals on oak floors. A regular cleaning routine will keep your floors looking good for years to come.
4. Availability & Price
One of the main advantages of oak flooring is its availability. Sometimes during a renovation, there is a need for extra planks. If the hardwood you are using is not easily available, it can get expensive as well as difficult to find the same wood.
In general, oak flooring is locally available and therefore affordable. Please note that your price depends on the size of the area you are flooring. For instance, wide plank hardwood oak flooring will be priced differently than random lengths.
Oak is one of the densest types of hardwood flooring available, with white oak being denser than red. This quality makes oak flooring quite hard and durable, so it stands up to regular wear and tear. Make sure to choose oak flooring with a good finish for increased durability.
While wood flooring in general does not come with many cons, it is good to understand everything about oak flooring before installing it.
Disadvantages of Installing Oak Flooring
1. High Tannin Content
Oak wood flooring has a high tannin content, which means it can react with oil finishes and cause damage when exposed to cold, wet weather. For best results, avoid installing it in wet and cold areas of your home. For well-kept oak floors, periodically re-stain and maintain them.
Much like any other species of hardwood flooring, oak is on the expensive side. Make sure to factor in the cost of the area of installation, the type of oak flooring you select, and installation charges.
If you feel like oak flooring is expensive, you can opt for oak engineered hardwood flooring, or vinyl flooring, so you don’t break your budget.
Now that you know the pros and cons of installing oak flooring, you can make an informed purchase.
But that’s not all. We get a lot of questions about the differences between white and red oak. So, here is a side-by-side comparison.
White Oak vs. Red Oak
Even though white and red oak are closely related, there are key differences in the way each looks and behaves.
● It has a tighter, linear grain pattern.
● It is available in neutral, slightly yellow undertones.
● It easily accepts different stain colours.
● It is generally preferred for a modern setting.
● It is more water-resistant.
● It has a shorter, more dramatic grain pattern.
● It is usually available in reddish-pink undertones.
● It does not accept stain colours that easily.
● It is more suited to traditional settings.
● It is less water resistant due to its open pores.
Both white and red oak are great flooring options. It is a good idea to think about what you want your floors to look like before you invest in any particular species of hardwood.
Should You Go with a DIY or Professional Installation?
Many homeowners like to install their own flooring as it saves money. But, is it the right choice? It is if you have the expertise and tools to complete the task. Otherwise, taking the DIY installation route can lead to serious flooring concerns later.
It is highly recommended that you hire professional installers for better and longer-lasting floors. Poor or subpar installation leads to spending more money, so choose wisely.
Is Oak Flooring Right for Your Home?
It is advisable that you explore different types of hardwood flooring before you make your selection. Is oak flooring the right choice for your space? When you choose flooring, always keep in mind the area of installation, your budget, and everything related to the type of flooring you are installing. If you are in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask the experts at The Reno Superstore in Mississauga and Toronto.