When you’re purchasing wood flooring, you already know that you’re bringing a timeless aesthetic into your home. With naturalistic grains, wood flooring can add depth and texture to a room, and can completely change the overall dynamic of your home for the better. Amongst homeowners everywhere, the common consensus is that oak is the reigning champion when it comes to species of wood flooring. Oak is versatile in appearance, rated moderately on the Janka Hardness Scale, and is modest in price. But before you go running straight to the first oak flooring retailer you can find, there’s a few things you should bear in mind. Whilst oak flooring has individualistic character and personality, there is still a myriad of variations you need to consider. Oak flooring can be made available in many different forms, so it’s best to get acquainted before diving in head first. Here are just a few things you should look out for:
All wood flooring, including oak, has to be given a finish to make it suitable for use. Whether purchasing prefinished oak boards or choosing to finish your oak flooring at home, your desired finish can drastically alter the look and feel of your wood. Whilst there is a variety of finishes available on the market, the two most popular options are oil and lacquer. Surprisingly, these finishes can make the same floorboard appear completely different. If you wish to preserve the natural, traditional look of oak, oil is a great addition. The oil is absorbed into the wood itself, leaving the textures and grains of the surface exposed. However, if you want to take the elegance of your oak flooring to new heights, lacquer will deliver excellent results. Resting above the surface, lacquer provides a characteristic shine and increases the wood’s resistance to spillages.
Oak is an undoubtedly exceptional choice of species. That doesn’t mean, however, that it doesn’t vary in quality. It’s important to bear this in mind when choosing oak, as different grades of wood can deliver wildly different effects. A prime grade of wood will have almost no imperfections. If present, knots will be small, and the grain will be close. Prime grade oak flooring is perfect for more formal appearances, but if you’re looking for something slightly more rustic, it’s better to choose a lower, distressed grade of wood. Natural and character grades of oak flooring take advantage of the knots, variety of grains, and cracks to produce the aesthetic of a country cottage or woodland lodge.
The thickness of your wood flooring won’t affect its overall look, but it will alter your board’s durability. As a result, thicker planks have a slightly larger price-tag but will stand up to high levels of footfall for longer. This doesn’t mean that buying thicker wood flooring is always the right choice. Tailor your oak flooring to the environment that it’s being placed in. If you’re installing oak flooring in a room that doesn’t receive much traffic, you can’t go wrong with thinner planks. This will save you a hefty sum of money when it comes to renovating your floors.
Oak flooring has an unmistakable appearance and has the ability to make any home look iconic. Traditionally, wood flooring consists of single planks laid side by side at varying intervals. But this is not the only style of oak flooring available. Depending on the style of your boards, oak can look cozy and casual or bold and formal. This is most evident in parquet patterns. Styles such as Chevron and herringbone wouldn’t be out of place in the stateliest of homes!
Engineered Wood vs. Solid Wood
When installing new flooring, you need to be certain that the type of floor you’re fitting is suitable for the conditions of your home. Whilst solid oak is strong and stylish, traditional hardwood flooring can be prone to warping and shrinkages when placed in areas of high moisture and humidity. That’s where engineered wood comes in. Composed of a core of compressed timber and a surface layer of solid wood, engineered boards have increased stability. This means that you can have wood flooring in kitchens, direct sunlight, and over underfloor heating, without having to worry about compromising your floor’s structural integrity. On top of that, engineered wood flooring is indistinguishable from its solid wood counterpart, so the appearance of your new oak flooring will still look as stunning as you envisioned.