Know Your Wood Species: Oak Wood Flooring

April 30, 2013

Oak Wooden Floors are indeed very impressive. “Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow.” Nowhere is this truer than with Oak flooring. For centuries, Oak has been one of the most popular types of wood flooring for our interiors, thanks to its natural durability, attractive grain and rich colouring.

Why Oak floors?

One of best features of Oak wood is its high quality, hardness and durability. After all, that’s why it is the wood of choice for shipbuilding, furniture, kegs and casks, truck and trailer beds and so much more.

It is floors, though, where Oak really shows its true colours. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of oak flooring you can choose from.

There are about 600 species of Oak wood, but only a select few of these make it to the floors beneath our feet. Oak is native to the northern hemisphere, and includes deciduous and evergreen species extending from cold latitudes to tropical Asia and the Americas.

The two main groups used for furniture and wood flooring are Red Oak (Quercus rubra) and White Oak (Quercus alba). Both groups also contain numerous sub-species which have similar characteristics but from different regions, mostly North America, Europe and Russia. 

Red Oak

Red Oak (commonly found in Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada) is a beautiful choice for wood flooring. The colour is light to medium reddish brown with a fair to low amount of colour variation. Red Oak has a fairly course grain with medium to large pores, and ever so slightly more porous than White Oak.

White Oak

White Oak (Quercus alba) (commonly found in Eastern United States) also displays a fair amount of colour variation. White Oak has a white and cream to light brown colour, in some cases even yellowish. It also has longer rays than Red Oak, which are what make White Oak so prized for furniture and wood flooring construction. White Oak is also slightly harder than Red Oak and more durable, making it the more popular and common choice for wood flooring. 

Sessile Oak

Another sub species of the White Oak group is Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea). This is also more commonly referred to as European Oak because it is grown throughout Europe and the Baltics. European Oak (especially from Eastern Europe) has a tendency to be harder due to the longer time the trees take to grow. The colour of the Easter European Oak is also lighter than some other species which can turn out a little yellowish.

Finally another very common and popular species of Oak used for furniture and wood flooring is Quercus robur, or commonly referred to as English Oak or Common Oak. This species is found throughout Europe, Russia and extending to parts of Asia minor.

It is important to realize these different sub species of White Oak, although broadly the same will display different characteristics depending on growing conditions and region of growth.

Please remember:

Oak is  not considered an endangered species and is in almost all cases derived from managed and sustainable sources.

Hard wearing, easy to work with, sustainably sourced and good supply all means oak is moderately priced and the perfect choice for furniture and flooring manufacturers. Above all, from a wood flooring point of view, oak flooring is easy to work with. Naturally beautiful and timeless yet it also serves as an excellent blank canvas to re-create an ever increasing number of desired looks, colours and finishes.

Here at ESB Flooring we are proud of our Oak Flooring range. We work closely with all our suppliers and partners from North America, Europe and Asia to ensure we meet the high standards of excellent quality and sustainable wood flooring set not only by our customers but also by ourselves.

If you have any further questions regarding the best oak flooring we stock here, at ESB Flooring London showroom or you are looking for an advice about the best wood flooring for your home feel free to contact the ESB sales team. Contact us now to request your no hassle no obligation free samples or come down to our North London showroom for a closer look.

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