Oak Hardwood Flooring

Red Oak Hardwood Floor Room Scene

There are about 600 different species of oak. The vast majority of flooring that is sold in the United States is made from domestic Oak lumber. In today’s blog, we will discuss why Oak is so popular. I won’t talk about all these different types and the variations that come between species. I will cover red oak hardwood and white oak hardwood because these are the two big hitters in the flooring market. This information will hopefully give an explanation of why there is so much oak lumber in use for hardwood floors and why it’s so popular. At the end of this post, I list our oak hardwood flooring collections and deals.

Why Oak Hardwood Flooring is Popular

Most of the Oak used for hardwood is Northern Red Oak, but we will also discuss White Oak and Southern Red Oak. Northern Red Oak is one of the most plentiful hardwood lumber in the US. It is native to North America and can be found from Central Canada to Southern Appalachia. It can grow to almost 150 feet in height and can grow 6 feet in diameter. White oak trees can grow over 80 feet and can grow 6 feet in diameter as well. Southern Red Oak is also called Spanish Oak because it commonly grows where early Spanish colonies were founded.

Red Oak

Red Oak is cheap. While some species of hardwood can be double the cost of Red Oak, manufacturers will have approximately half of the cost of a finished product in the raw materials. Red Oak is also quite durable. If you are not familiar with the Janka scale, you can read my blog that explains it here. In short, a product’s Janka score is the industry’s best way of comparing the durability of different species of wood. The higher the Janka, the more pressure required to dent the floor. Denting is one of the most common reasons for a change in the appearance of your floor, which, in turn, is what determines the lifetime of your floor. If your hardwood is dented up where you walk, but pristine where you do not, then your floor may require sanding and refinishing, or even replacement.

Red Oak Janka Hardness Score

Hickory Hardness Janka Scale

The Janka score for a Northern Red Oak floor will be 1,220-foot lbs. Compare that to a 690 for a Southern Yellow Pine, 950 for Red Maple, 1010 for Black Walnut, and 1100 or Siberian Larch (a commonly imported hardwood) and you will see why a Red Oak floor can withstand decades of use. Red oak floors are commonly found under carpets and can be refinished for decades more of use as well.

Northern Red Oak also offers a wide range of grades and appearances. With grades like #2 Common, #1 Common, Select, Select and Better, and Clear readily available, Northern Red Oak is unusual in that it may be the perfect fit for the cabin in the woods or a multi-million dollar contemporary home. To see some great examples, tour the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Their use of different grades, as well as Rift and Quartered floors and paneling, offer an amazing glimpse of what can be done with Northern Red Oak.

Different Grades of Red Oak

Red Oak will have a light to medium reddish-brown color. The lower grades will contain much more color variation, with the Select and Clear grades having much less variation. Our video posted above shows 4 different red oak grades. You will see that each grade has distinct characteristics to attract different types of customers. I highly recommend you watch this video because grading is a subjective categorization created by manufacturers. I don’t get a say in what hardwood boards show up in Cabin grade or 1st Quality flooring boxes. This video will show the difference and similarities found between separate grades of red oak hardwood. If you want even more detailed information on hardwood grades, visit our blog Hardwood Grades 101. Red Oak is currently in use for cabinetry, furniture, interior trim, and, for small or damaged logs, firewood.

Another member of the Red Oak family that offers great visuals is the Southern Red Oak. Unfortunately, due to a lower Janka score of 1060, it does not offer the durability of its Northern cousin. The other popular Oak that is widely used is White Oak. White Oak is not quite as plentiful in nature, so it can be a bit more expensive, depending on the market. The distinct look White Oak offers makes it a fluid product in a trendy market like interior design.

White Oak

Several years ago, the price of White Oak shot up. The reason? White Oak is used to make liquor barrels, and used liquor barrels are popular to store wine in. As the domestic wine production got going, the need for barrels escalated with it. Thus, a run on White Oak. Who knew? White Oak has a bit higher Janka score than its Red cousin, with a score of 1,350. That is a similar score to Ash, Australian Cypress, and Hard Maple flooring. If you are not familiar with the differences in Maple lumbers. As the name says, White Oak will not have the red coloration like a Red Oak, but a light to medium brown, sometimes with a gray or olive tint.

White Oak Janka Hardness Score

You’ll see that white oak out-ranks the red oaks in species hardness. Resistant to rot, White Oak is even used in shipbuilding and was reputedly used in the construction of Ol’Ironsides herself, the USS Constitution frigate of the United States Navy. The USS Constitution was built with Live Oak and Southern Pine as well.

Hickory Hardness Janka Scale

White Oak is also available in the same grades as the Northern Red Oak and is readily available prefinished or unfinished as flooring.

Our most popular Oak products are the Oak Plank and Antique product lines, both of which are available in prefinished solid as well as a prefinished engineered floor.

Our Oak Plank Collection

The Oak Plank collection is an engineered Oak floor that has a smooth finish, and a great color line. This product is made in the USA, and is a ½” thick, using 8 plies of hardwood to make an exceptionally stable hardwood floor. Another feature of this floor is it’s sawn face. That means that the veneer for the face of the board was cut across the log at the mill, as opposed to being peeled. This gives our Blue Label floors the same appearance as a solid wood floor. Our Blue Label grade allows knots, color variation, wormholes, etc, and will have an average board length that is less than the first quality. Expect boards to be between 12” and 72”, with an average around 24”.

Engineered Oak Plank Features

  • Made in the USA
  • 3.25″ – 5″ Widths
  • Price starts at $1.29 (Varies For Sales)
  • 1/2″ Thick
  • 8 Ply Construction
  • Same Appearance of Solid

The Oak Plank collection utilizes the highest grades of lumber and features a smooth polyurethane finish with aluminum oxide. The solid products are available in 2 ¼, 3 ¼, 4, and 5” widths, while our engineered version is offered in 3 ¼ and 5” widths. Let me throw this out there….our engineered products from the company that makes these products is second to none as far as quality and construction. While the ½” thickness is part  of the story, there are similar, or even thicker, floors available. The difference is our 8 ply hardwood core.

engineered somerset hardwood board cross section - Red Oak & White Oak

Sturdy 8 Ply Engineered Oak Hardwood Construction Cross Section Picture

The core is what determines the overall hardness and density, as well as the long-term performance of the floor. Hold a piece of our flooring in one hand, and a competitor’s in the other, and let the weight difference show whose construction is the best! So many of our competitors are giving up anything possible to be able to offer the lowest price. With our engineered products, not only do we offer low pricing, but great value as well.

Solid Oak Plank S Features

  • Made in the USA
  • 2.25″ 3.25″ 4″ 5″ Widths
  • Price starts at $3.79 (Varies For Sales)
  • 3/4″ Thick
  • Solid Hardwood
  • Large Square Footages Available

Our Antique Collection

Another product line that uses Northern Red Oak is our Antique Collection. The Antique Collection is an interesting product for two reasons: One, it utilizes large amounts of Common lumber, and two, it offers a wire-brushed finish. What does that mean to our customers? The Antique floor offers more character and surface texture, giving it a more rustic, time-worn look while still including the high quality and longer boards lengths associated with a first quality hardwood floor.  The Antique is offered in solid hardwood in 2 ¼ and 3 ¼ widths and engineered hardwood in 3 ¼ and 5” widths.

Engineered Antique Features

  • Made in the USA
  • 3.25″ – 5″ Widths
  • Starts at $1.29 (Varies For Sales)
  • 1/2″ Thick
  • 8 Ply Construction
  • Wire Brushed

Solid Antique S Features

  • Made in the USA
  • 2.25″ – 3.25″ Widths
  • Starts at $1.59 (Varies For Sales)
  • 3/4″ Thick
  • 50-Y
  • Wire Brushed

Our Rustic Plank Collection

Another popular collection of Oak flooring is our Rustic Plank Collection. Similar to the Antique in that it uses more character type lumber, the difference is in the with and surface. Our Rustic Plank floors are available in widths up to 7”. Most colors have a smooth surface, while the Gunstock is offered with a distressed finish. Also available in Hickory and Maple, our Rustic Plank Collection satisfies the customer that is looking for a wider floor.

Engineered Rustic Plank Features

  • Made in the USA
  • 6″ – 7″ Width
  • Starts at $2.19 (Varies For Sales)
  • 1/2″ Thick
  • 8 Ply Construction

At ReallyCheapFloors.com we stock many other collections of Oak hardwood floors, both in solid and engineered options, with literally hundreds of colors and finishes available. Whether it is a closeout, overstock, cabin grade, or just a power buy that we have made, you can be certain no other liquidator offers the combination of pricing, value, and quality that you will find at ReallyCheapFloors.com. Shop all our flooring products now. If you have any questions about our products or would like us to send you a sample, please do not hesitate to call.