Oak flooring is one of the most popular wood choices in the United States and for good reason. Oak is durable, easy to work with and easy to obtain. American oak fits into two categories- red oak and white oak. Both of these choices are popular and durable. Oak is great because it can be stained and the oil content of the wood doesn’t interfere with the finish. White oak is denser than red oak and has a higher janka rating. Both are grown in many states in the US as well as south central canada.
White Oak and Red oak have different color and graining patterns. White oak has a tighter graining pattern and it is darker than red oak. White oak can have some pinkish hues but it is generally more brown/gray in color. Red oak has a more prominent grain and it more linear and open than the graining pattern of white oak. Red oak has some brown hues but also has a pinkish/red to it.
Another commonly used oak is a European oak. European oak is commonly used in Germany, England and France – when installing hardwood floors. It can also be called english oak or French Oak. The janka rating of european oak is the same as white oak. The geographical difference changes the look of the wood and it has different color, graining and hues than american oaks. The grain pattern is generally softer and waiver. European oaks have a darker color with a warm brown town.
The milling of European oak is also different and it is sought after because of the longer lengths and wider planks. These trees grow differently and the sapwood is wider and thicker than the heartwood. THe sapwood is where you get clearer wood so the wider sapwood allows you to get pieces that are clearer at wider widths.
European oak is processed differently than American oak. The wood is live-sawn which means the log of the tree is cut right through from the front to the back. The live-sawn process allows the different cuts of hardwood to be incorporated in this type of cut. THe flooring will have the natural graining showing through and creates a very stable floor. American oak is cut with three different sawing methods- rift, quartered, and plain
European oak or French oak is a beautiful option and has a unique look. The wide planks are very popular and french oak is growing in popularity for good reason.