Red oak hardwood flooring is a natural flooring type. If you want to install hardwood flooring on your property, you should also decide what tree species is most appropriate to meet your needs.
Red oak hardwood flooring is the most popular choice in the USA and the standard hardwood flooring type. Janka rating for other hardwood flooring species is usually measured against red oak in the American flooring industry. That is how red oak wood has become a standard and a kind of median measuring stick.
About Red Oak
Red oak is a hardwood tree native to the US and Canada. The tree thrives in deciduous forests in Southern and Northern USA. It accounts for almost half of all the hardwood trees in America, making it the most abundant domestic wood. Therefore, it is the flooring of choice for most homeowners and contractors.
Other hardwood trees are ash, maple, cherry, hickory, walnut, mahogany, and beech. So, why is red oak the most popular hardwood flooring choice in the USA? Below we discuss the pros and cons of red oak, which will explain why it is the popular flooring option.
Pros of Red Oak Hardwood Flooring
1. Red Oak is the Benchmark against other Wood Species
As mentioned earlier, the USA hardwood industry uses red oak wood’s Janka rating hardness of 1290 as a median to rate other wood species. The Janka hardness test rates the wood’s surface, how easy it is to cut it, or the force required to drive a 0.444-inch steel ball through the wood up to half the ball’s diameter. The hardness scale for some hardwood tree species used in the flooring industry includes Southern yellow pine, 870; black walnut, 1010; yellow birch, 1260; red oak, 1290; white oak, 1360; hard maple 1450 and Brazilian cherry 2350.
Based on their rating, the industry usually compares tree species like white oak vs. red oak or hickory vs. red oak hardwood flooring.
2. Abundant and Affordable
As mentioned above, red oak accounts for almost half of all the hardwood trees in some forests in the USA. Consequently, it is abundant. Therefore, red oak flooring cost is reasonable in comparison to other hardwood species.
However, many factors determine the eventual cost of hardwood floors. The prices of hardwood flooring materials keep changing to adjust to forces of supply and demand. That said, red oak hardwood flooring is a cost-effective option. The average price ranges between $2.50 to $7.00 per square foot.
3. Natural Color and Beauty
Most homeowners who prefer rooms without area rugs would opt to install red oak hardwood flooring. The colors range from light cream to reddish pink and brown shades. Red oak hardwood floor colors create warm tones for a cozy and welcoming feeling because of its natural grain appearance. Besides, you can customize the flooring and create the desired look easily and affordably because the wood is easy to stain. In this regard, whether you want light red, rustic red, or other colors, it is achievable.
Also, because of its strong grain properties, stains and scratches on the floors will diminish easily. Moreover, when the floors get worn out and old after years of service, you can refinish them. Refinishing a red oak hardwood floor is easier than refinishing hardwood species with a high Janka rating because it is easy to work with.
4. Red Oak Hardwood is Stain-friendly
Red oak wood is easy to distinguish from other woods because it has a wide grain pattern with medium to heavy graining. The wood has different shades naturally ranging from light to dark colors depending on the origin. On this note, the red oak wood from Southern USA has a different color from Northern USA species.
On top of that, it has a porous surface that makes it stain-friendly. It is possible to achieve even color contrary to harder wood species with tight grains that make even coloring a daunting task.
Moreover, you have a choice of different grain patterns. This depends on how the wood is cut either plain-sawn, which is the most popular method. There is also rift-sawn, which gives the wood a subtle look, while quarter-sawn provides moderate grain visibility.
5. High Durability
The Janka rating scale is between 0 to 4000. It measures the hardness of a wood, which determines its ability to resist damage and dent. With a Janka rating of 1290, red oak is a durable wood, which is why it is a favorite in the industry. If the floor ages or gets worn out, you can use sanding to renew the appearance.
6. Easy to Install and Work With
Because of its medium Janka hardwood hardness rating, red oak is easy to work with because it is neither too soft nor too hard. Red oak wood can be cut, nailed, or sanded easily, making installation easy. It is also easy to saw and machine red oak wood.
7. Engineered & Solid Flooring option
You can find both engineered and solid red oak hardwood flooring. When choosing between solid and engineered wood, you should realize that engineered wood has limited sandability due to its thickness. Solid hardwood can withstand several sandings.
8. Red Oak is a Stable Wood
Oak is more stable than other flooring hardwoods. Stability is usually an essential feature to consider in flooring when installing a floor in an area susceptible to humidity and moisture. Stable woods don’t expand and contract when exposed to moisture.
Cons of Red Oak Hardwood Flooring
If you want sturdy wood for installing in a high traffic area, a hardwood like hickory, which has a Janka rating of 1820, is better than red oak.
Additionally, if you like standing out from the crowd, you will not enjoy installing red oak hardwood flooring on your premises. This is because it is a popular choice in America and is available in many homes.
The type of flooring you chose depends on budget, personal style, and preference, the room you are installing, among other factors. For a traditional look and an affordable and durable choice, red oak hardwood flooring is the way to go.