Choosing the Right Oak
Oak flooring is a go-to choice for many people looking to install hardwood flooring in their homes. It’s widely available, extremely durable, and an attractive option for anyone considering hardwood floors. Plus, it’s pretty affordable as far as hardwood goes. If oak floors are installed correctly, finished with expertise, and well maintained, they can last a lifetime. Many people who know this about oak are drawn to the material, but what they don’t know is that there are actually two different types of oak: red and white.
A Green Choice
Yes, there are red and white types of oak, and they are both green, not literally, but environmentally. Both red and white species are grown in the United States, making oak an affordable option by avoiding international shipping costs and environmental hazards. Additionally, U.S. forestry management enforces sustainable forestry practices, which reduces the environmental impact when harvesting the wood.
Seeing Oak’s True Colors
Color seems to be the obvious difference between these two types of oak, but to the untrained eye, you might not be able to tell the difference. Contrary to how it sounds, white oak is darker in color than red oak. White oak has a tan, beige, and yellow tone. In contrast, red oak is a bit lighter in color but has a rosy undertone.
Go with the Grain
The grain is a clear differentiator in red and white oak. Red oak has a wild or varied grain pattern. Each grain is thicker and can run in zigzags. The color of red oak also makes the grain more visible. White oak is not as wild and instead has thinner, more uniform grains. The grain of each type of oak distinguishes the two, and if you are repairing an existing oak floor or continuing an oak floor into another room, you will want to make sure the type of oak is consistent. Meaning if white oak is already in your kitchen and you want to add hardwood flooring in the connecting living room, make sure the new flooring is also white oak. Otherwise, you’ll see the difference in the grain.
Worry Less about Water Damage
White oak is often used for boat building because it’s a closed-grain wood, making it water-resistant. Red oak has open cells, which means it lacks this water-resistant quality. White oak might be a better option if you’re putting oak flooring in a more water-prone area like a kitchen or an entryway. Plus, it can endure the daily wear and tear from messy pets or children.
Factor in Floor Cost
In any home improvement project, cost, of course, is a factor. Red oak is more abundant than white oak, making it slightly more affordable. It is also important to note that the pricing of oak floors can fluctuate. So, if you are worried about budget, red oak might be the better option.
What type of underlayment should you use? How many inches thick? How do you install it? And how do you avoid damaging your floors in the process?
When you work with Factory Flooring, you don’t have to worry about these questions. Our team of professional flooring installers will handle all the heavy lifting for you — literally. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the savings on your energy bill.
Need to get more flooring ideas first? Our design blog has dozens of articles to help you get started. Whenever you’re ready to tackle your insulation project, we’ll be here to help. Contact us online to get started, or call Factory Flooring at 469-583-7053