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Solid Oak Flooring

Prefinished Solid White OakSolid oak flooring is the highest-quality product for its species. 100-percent hardwood and without any alternations except for a finish, solid oak flooring is a popular option for many homes. If you are considering this hardwood for your own, what should you expect when looking for and installing solid oak flooring?

Like any other species, solid oak flooring is typically 3/4ths of an inch to one-inch thick and 2.25 to seven inches wide. Solid hardwoods, however, are available even thinner. Boards can be found 5/16ths to ½ of an inch thick.

For installing solid oak floors, the hardwood needs to be added to wood subfloors or built with a floor joist system. All boards are then nailed or stapled down.

Solid oak flooring comes prefinished or unfinished. For the former, the installation process stops after the planks are nailed or stapled down. Unfinished hardwoods, however, need to be sanded and finished. Although the installation process for unfinished solid oak takes longer, the hardwood blends in better with existing flooring, and finishes are practically limitless and allow you to find an exact match. Both solid red and white oak flooring machine and sand well and are receptive to stains.

Whether solid red or white oak flooring is better for your home depends upon taste. The former is characterized by light red heartwood and sapwood, while white oak is a uniform cream or light brown shade. Color differences aside, both solid red and white oak species have open, somewhat coarse grain, resist wear and tear, and have good shock resistance.

Prefinished Red Solid OakBeyond these similarities, however, red and white oak hardwoods have notable differences. Solid red oak has a Janka scale rating of 1290 and a plumed or flared appearance. In terms of installation, solid red oak is ideal for bleaching.

White oak, however, has less variation in appearance but is slightly denser, with a Janka scale rating of 1360. While solid white oak isn't ideal for bleaching, the hardwood has a high concentration of tannic acid, which makes it resistant to fungi and insects.

Solid oak, regardless of species, is often available in a variety of cuts. Typically, solid oak, like most hardwoods, is sold with a plainsawn cut; this gives the wood its plumed appearance. Riftsawn, on the other hand, creates a tighter grain pattern, while quartersawn has a flaked appearance.