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Prefinished Oak Flooring

As one of the more popular domestic species, oak flooring is sold in unfinished and prefinished varieties for solid and engineered hardwood. If you're looking to have the look of oak flooring in your space quickly, consider choosing prefinished oak flooring. Already stained, prefinished oak flooring comes in several finishes, from light to dark shades, and eliminates two of the most time-consuming aspects of installation: sanding and finishing. Prefinished flooring can be installed into a space in a day or two, and rather than being isolated for additional time, the room can be used immediately after. Because of this convenience, manufacturers have significantly expanded their prefinished lines over the past 10 years.

Oak flooring, in general, comes in two species: red and white oak. Both of them have similar qualities and notable differences. Both species are reasonably hard: red oak has a Janka scale rating of 1290, while white oak's is 1360. Additionally, the species have high shock resistance and are durable to wear and tear.

Characterized by a light red appearance, red oak has similarly-colored heartwood and sapwood. With open grain, this hardwood has a somewhat coarse texture and has a plumed or flared look. In installation, red oak is resistant to splitting, has good holding ability, and is ideal for bleaching.

White oak, on the other hand, is a white, cream, or light brown color and has minimal variation between the sapwood and heartwood. The hardwood, however, is characterized by longer rays and has a high concentration of tannic acid, which makes the wood resistant to fungi and insects. In installation, white oak is better for machining, but bleaching is not recommended.

If you choose prefinished oak flooring for your home, keep a few points in mind. Factory finished, prefinished oak does not follow the same grading as unfinished hardwood. Grading varies with each manufacturer and is typically used for marketing purposes; for instance, "character" prefinished oak flooring may be scraped or altered to have an aged appearance instead of being value-grade flooring.

Although prefinished oak flooring takes less time to install, pay attention to aligning the boards and to the any gaps between planks. Planks must not be dragged into place, especially with a mallet. If gaps are present, fill them in with filler, available through a manufacturer, after installation.