Oak flooring has a timeless appeal, and it can be argued that oak makes the best flooring material around; it has certainly been used as flooring for hundreds of years. We’re proud to introduce a new line of engineered and laminate oak flooring products, and we’d encourage you to come to to our huge Melbourne showroom to see it.
What makes Oak so great as a flooring product? Lots of things. It’s very durable. It is one of the hardest, strongest types of wood. It’s environmentally friendly. It stains better than almost any wood. It has wonderful grain patterns.
Oak planks and expansion due to moisture
Traditional oak flooring used oak planks. Like any hardwood, oak is susceptible to expansion and contraction based on humidity. The grain of the wood soaks up moisture and the wood expands. Oak flooring planks have to be quarter sawn. Picture the rings in a tree. If you cut a board from one part of the tree, you’ll get end grains that run perpendicular to the board. This is quarter sawn. In flat sawn, the rings run across the width of the board. When moisture is absorbed, quarter sawn board expand in thickness. In flat sawn, they expand in width.
This is important. Expanding the width of a plank will not only potentially cause the planks in a floor to cup, it could even damage walls. How powerful is this force? Before the invention of metal tools, stone masons used to drive oak pegs where they wanted to cut large stones. Then, they poured water on the pegs and waited for them to expand and break the stone.
The solution is in engineered wood
Sometimes, oak plank floors are infused with acrylic to reduce expansion. But a much better solution is to use engineered timber flooring or laminate timber flooring.
Engineered timber uses a plywood base with layers set cross-grain to each other. Then a veneer of solid oak, usually 2 to 8 mm thick, is attached to the top. The resulting floor looks exactly like solid oak planking, but you never have to worry about expansion. Laminated floors use a similar process, but are usually laid like tiles. For a do-it-yourselfer, laminate is the way to go.
In both cases, these floors are installed over a base floor, a so-called floating floor system.
Perfect upscale decorative flooring
Finishes for oak flooring come in a range of colours from almost white to almost black. Yellow Oak, the hardest type of oak, is yellow to gray in colour. Red Oak is generally pinkish tan. Interior designers love oak because it will match just about any colour scheme they can dream up.
Oak flooring has always been considered high-end, upscale flooring, so installing oak flooring may increase the resale value of your house. Oak is also easy to repair. Sometimes, an indentation can be sanded out and refinished. In a laminate oak floor, simply remove the tile and replace it.