Why It’s America’s Favorite Hardwood
September 21, 2022 | By Bruce Product Expert
Hardwood is a favorite among U.S. homeowners, trailing only carpeting. However, unlike carpeting, wood flooring’s popularity continues to increase. And when it comes to the choice among hardwoods, oak flooring remains king.
Among all wood-type segments, oak hardwood flooring accounts for most hardwood sales. So, what’s the allure of oak? Why do Americans choose this wood species as a wood flooring of choice when other species like maple, hickory, cherry, walnut, and birch are available?
Oak is a Sustainable Flooring Option
Oak trees are prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere – native to every state except Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii. Indeed, the tree is especially prevalent here, as the U.S. accounts for 60 percent of all oak (Quercus) species.
In addition, nearly 25 percent of all growing stock on timberland in eastern forests consists of oak trees. Some 90 native oak varieties are in the United States, but roughly 435 species dot the landscape across five continents worldwide. However, red oak and white oak dominate the market for flooring purposes.
The species is carefully managed due to its prevalence and popularity in furniture, cabinetry, boats, and hardwood flooring. The U.S. forest management and protection programs ensure oak trees are regularly replanted in forests.
Owing to its abundance, you can expect oak flooring to be more economical than other hardwood flooring options.
White Oak vs. Red Oak Flooring
As mentioned, red and white oak own the solid hardwood flooring landscape, with the former the most popular. You can distinguish the two based on grain and color.
You might think your hardwoods will be red because it’s called red oak. Not so. The red refers to the tree’s leaves, which turn bright red in the fall. To be clear, though, the wood isn’t red, but it does have a slightly red tint.
On the other hand, white oak presents a mix of browns and tans, everything from dark brown to beige. As a result, white oak is darker in color than red oak.
When used with a natural finish, red oak becomes pinker while white oak picks up more honey tones and gets darker. However, red oak moves to a deeper red when stained, and white oak becomes a darker brown.
From a grain perspective, white oak owns a smaller, tighter grain than red oak. That gives it a straight, more uniform appearance. Red oak has a more free-form grain with swirls and variations. Its grain is also wider than oak. And because red oak is lighter than white oak, you can see the grain more readily.
That tighter grain also makes white oak more stable and dense than red oak.
Durability, the Janka Scale
One of the outstanding features of oak flooring, and why homeowners select it so commonly, is its durability owing to the overall hardness of the wood. That hardness is measured by the Janka Scale. White oak has a score of 1360, whereas red oak has a score of 1290.
So, oak flooring is a good bet if you’re looking for flooring that holds up to high traffic from kids or pets. And by the way, when installed correctly, oak floors provide better acoustics because they don’t vibrate or create hollow sounds. That’s a plus if your kids are rambunctious.
Its durability makes oak flooring great in dining rooms, hallways, walkways, and living rooms. White oak, especially engineered white oak, is an excellent option for kitchens and bathrooms. It’s also inherently more resistant to liquids.
That durability also makes oak flooring last a long-time. Typically, you can count on getting 25 to 30 years out of an oak floor. But manufacturers like Bruce warrant some of their residential oak hardwoods like Dundee and America’s Best Choice for 50 years.
So when you talk about hardwood flooring that can last you a lifetime, you better believe it’s true – especially considering you can refinish solid hardwood two to three times. Did we mention oak flooring minimizes scratches?
Even if you encounter scratches, you can use a hardwood touch-up kit to mask any issues. As a result, you won’t have to worry about refinishing an oak floor any time soon.
Oak Floors Improve Hygiene
Carpets track dirt. In addition, they’re a breeding ground for parasites and bugs. So if anyone in your family has allergies, they’ll be exposed to some nasty allergens. But not with wood flooring like oak.
Oak floors don’t harbor microorganisms, allergens, and the like. Moreover, unlike carpets, their smooth surface reduces bacteria growth, mold, mildew, and animal dander build-ups. And they don’t trap unpleasant odors if your dog has an accident.
You may not be aware, but hardwoods absorb carbon to keep air balanced and healthy.
Oak Floors Are Timeless
Face it. Wood floors have been around for a very long time, unlike some other flooring trends (remember shag carpet?). It fits any design or architectural style. So, you can install solid oak flooring today and not worry about it falling out of favor if you sell your home 15 or 20 years from now. And yes, solid wood floors, even engineered wood floors, increase your home’s value.
Part of their timeless appeal is that oak floors come in so many color schemes that you can match your floors seamlessly to your décor and tastes. Bruce, for example, offers more than 140 color variations of oak hardwood flooring and another 80 plus options of red oak and white oak engineered hardwood.
By the way, you can use the Bruce hardwood flooring visualizer tool to see how each color plays out in your room. You can even order wood floor samples if you’re the touchy, feely type.
You can also adjust plank widths to fit a room – narrow planks to make a room feel larger and illicit a contemporary look and wider planks for a more rustic, modern farmhouse appeal. If you’re particularly keen on a rustic look, you can get oak flooring that’s distressed or hand-scraped.
Easy Maintenance Flooring
Consider this as if everything you’ve just read isn’t enough to understand why oak floors are so popular. Oak flooring is easy to maintain.
Today’s pre-finished hardwood flooring is manufactured to resist damage and stains. All you have to do is occasionally sweep or light vacuum your floors.
Apart from the finishes, oak has natural features that
Best of all, if your oak hardwood flooring gets damaged, you can easily replace planks versus an entire floor.
Ready to Make Oak Flooring Your Favorite Hardwood?
Take the easy route if you’re interested in hardwood flooring but not sure what to choose. Shop for oak flooring. It’s America’s favorite for so many reasons.
Hardwood flooring equals a long-term investment, unlike almost any other flooring option. And oak flooring brings sophistication and timeless beauty to your home, making you the envy of friends and neighbors.