Do you have friends or relatives who've recently remodeled and upgraded their flooring to a wood-look option? Odds are high that many selected gorgeous new white oak flooring!
Oak is the most popular species used for hardwood floors in the country for several reasons, including its resilience, longevity, and versatility. Whether your interior design has always leaned contemporary or you're transitioning your style to mid-century modern or something else entirely, white oak floors may be the perfect look to pull it all together.
White Oak vs. Red Oak Flooring
While white oak and red oak are sibling species with light brown appearances, they also have differences that are worth noting when it comes to flooring.
White oak flooring is a popular option with gray, brown, and occasionally yellow undertones that look stunning in contemporary homes. Plus it's nonporous, which means that it's slightly more water resistant but can be a challenge to stain.
Red oak flooring has more red and pink undertones and a heavier grain. It's porous, so it receives stains and finishes much easier.
Advantages and Disadvantages of White Oak Floors
As with everything, there are pros and cons that come with choosing white oak flooring. Understanding these upfront can help you make the best choice for you and your family's needs.
Some of the advantages you can enjoy if you opt for white oak hardwood flooring include:
A unique look thanks to white oak's inherent variations in color and grain pattern
Enough strength to hold up to the busiest households
Tight grain patterns that hide wear and tear
More resistance to water and moisture than most other hardwoods
The drawbacks are few when it comes to white oak flooring, plus they're true of any hardwood floor:
Not appropriate for areas with high humidity or moisture levels, like bathrooms or basements
Can buckle and warp in humid conditions or if not acclimated properly before installing
White oak wood flooring is misleading if you base your expectations on its name alone. It's not necessarily white wood flooring. The natural hue of oak wood flooring is a beautiful neutral light brown, though you can get a whitewashed look (or a variety of other looks, for that matter) with custom-blended stains and finishes.
A few other factors can impact the appearance of your white oak flooring as well, including:
Undertones, which influence the depth of the plank color
Inherent grain and shade variations in each plank of wood
Plank width, which can result in a more modern feel
Wide Plank White Oak Flooring
Have you noticed the wide plank white oak flooring modernizing today's homes in movies and magazines? Wider planks mean fewer seams after installation, which can give the sense of a longer, more open room, especially with oak's linear grain patterns. To take advantage of this, shop for white oak planks measuring more than 5 inches across—for context, standard width for plank flooring falls between 2.5 and 5 inches.
How Durable Is White Oak Flooring?
Your home has a few constants: dirty paw prints in the entryway, toys on the playroom floor, and at least one new spill each week. Will your new white wood flooring be able to handle the madness? Lucky for you, the answer is yes! White oak is one of the most durable hardwoods available. Plus, it's a wood with closed grain, which means it's not waterproof but it can easily withstand the moisture from an occasional spill.
Maintenance for White Oak Floors
Installing new white oak hardwood flooring is an exciting step, and you want to retain its sparkly newness as long as possible! To do so, make sure to start with routine maintenance right away. This means vacuuming or sweeping at least once a week, or more if needed. The manufacturer's care instructions will provide all the guidance you need, including the best way to clean up inevitable spills and accidents.
Lifespan and Installation
Before you sign on the dotted line for this big investment, it's important to know what you're getting for your money. When it comes to white oak flooring, you can generally expect decades of strong, trustworthy flooring that looks gorgeous in your home. The precise number of years, though, will largely depend on key decisions you make along the way.
What decisions, you ask? The following will help you get all you can from your new white oak floors:
A proper installation completed by an experienced professional
Routine cleaning and maintenance based on the manufacturer's instructions
Thorough warranty protection
Frequently Asked Questions
What color is white oak flooring? Believe it or not, unfinished white oak flooring isn't white. White oak planks can be light brown, tan, and gray with faint grain lines of beige and darker brown. That said, white oak flooring can easily change color and tone with stains and finishes.
Is white oak good for flooring? Yes, white oak is great as flooring! It's a dense hardwood that's long-lasting and works beautifully in your busiest areas, including halls, stairways, and family rooms.