5 Interesting Facts About Oak and Oak Hardwood Flooring


Red Oak – American Hardwood Flooring

Oak has been an incredibly sound choice in the flooring world and wood working alike in throughout America for many years. It is very beautiful to the eye, but also tough and long lasting. So we all know that Oak flooring is an excellent choice for your home, but do you really know much about it? In fact you have probably never researched it outside of finding the right flooring or lumber when building.

So, I have put together 5 very interesting facts about Oak the species. Hope you find these points as informational as I do!

5 Interesting Facts About Oak and Oak Hardwood Flooring

1. How hard is it?
The Janka hardness rating measures how hard a wood species is, which can affect how easily it will scratch or dent, how resistant it is to the elements, and even what type of room it would work best in. The Janka hardness of oak is anywhere from 1,290 pounds to 1,360 pounds, depending on whether you are using red or white oak. This is softer than many other hardwoods, so it is not a great idea to use oak for outdoor projects such as decks or patios. However, it is a perfect hardness for flooring purposes. Oak is hard enough to resist dents and scratches but soft enough to dampen the sound of heels and footsteps, which makes it perfect for second and third story uses, or in apartment buildings.


American Originals – Oak – Bruce Hardwood Flooring

2. How Stable is It?
Structural stability refers to how likely it is that a wood species will shrink or expand over time. The more structurally stable a wood species is the better, as shrinking and expanding can lead to warping, buckling, and end checking.

The two main properties used to measure stability are tangential and radial shrinkage. Radial shrinkage measures how much the wood will shrink from the center of the tree to the bark (it’s radius), while tangential measures how much the wood will shrink parallel to the tree’s growth rings (tangentially). Low radial and tangential shrinkage numbers is good, but the real key to structural stability is the differential between the two numbers. The smaller the differential, the less likely the wood will warp or buckle, even as it shrinks and expands.

The tangential and radial shrinkage for red oak is 8.6% and 4.0%, respectively. For white oak, it is 7.2% and 4.2%. As you can see, white oak flooring has both lower shrinkage percentages as well as a lower differential.

3. How dense is it?
Density is important when considering a wood species for flooring, decking, or construction projects. The denser the wood, the more resistant it is to mold, rot, and boring insects like termites. The density of white oak is 900 KG/m3. For red oak, it is 780 KG/m3. These are not as dense as the more exotic hardwoods like Ipe, but they are much greater than other common flooring materials, such as cedar and walnut.



4. What is Oak’s Cultural Significance?
The oak tree is synonymous with strength, power, and endurance. Because of this, it has been adopted by many countries as the national tree, including England, Germany, France, and the United States. Other countries that have adopted the oak as their national tree include Estonia, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Basque Country, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Wales.

5. Where does Oak come from?
Oak is a very versatile species of wood. Although native to the northern hemisphere, different varieties of the tree can be found everywhere from cold northern climates to tropical locations in Asia and South America. Most Oak Flooring materials come from local sources, as the species grows in many different parts of America.

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2 Responses

  1. Kenya says:

    Great information. My husband and I are redoing our kitchen and living room and are thinking about hardwood floor. We will definitely make sure we get oak.

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