Red oak hardwood flooring is a natural flooring type. After making the decision to install hardwood flooring on your property, you should also decide what tree species is most appropriate to meet your flooring needs.
Red oak hardwood flooring is the most popular choice in the USA and as such, the standard hardwood flooring type. In American flooring industry, Janka rating for other hardwood flooring species is usually measured against red oak hardwood flooring. 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 USA 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, beech to mention but a few. So, why is red oak the most popular hardwood flooring choice in the USA? Below we discuss the pros and cons of the hardwood which will make you understand 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 hardwood species. The Janka hardness test rates the wood’s surface, how easy it is to cut the wood or the force required to drive a 0.444-inch steel ball through the wood up to half the ball’s diameter. The Janka rating 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.
As such, the industry usually compares tree species like white oak vs red oak or hickory vs red oak hardwood flooring based on their rating.
2. Red Oak Wood is 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, there are many factors that 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 oakk hardwood floor colors create warm tones for a warm 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 a light red oak hardwood floor, rustic red oak hardwood flooring 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. 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 naturallyranging 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 take stain-friendly. Making it possible to achieve even color which is contrary to harder wood species that have 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 and it measures the level of hardness of a wood which determines its ability to resist damage and denting. With a Janka rating of 1290, red oak is a durable wood and that is why it is a favorite in the industry. If a 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 an easy wood to work with because it is neither too soft or 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 and Solid Red Oak Hardwood 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 a sturdy wood for installing in a high traffic area, then you are better off choosing a hardwood like hickory which has a Janka rating of 1820 than red oak.
Additionally, if you are one of those people who like standing out from the crowd, then you will not enjoy installing a red oak hardwood flooring in your premises. This is because it is a popular hardwood flooring choice in America and available in many homes
The type of flooring you chose depend on many factors including budget, your personal style, and preference, the room where you are installing the among other factors. For a traditional look and an affordable and durable choice, red oak hardwood flooring is the way to go.