Pros and Cons: Oak vs. Maple Hardwood Flooring

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Out of all the flooring options available, oak and maple seem to be among the top choices for homeowners, both of which can be bought as solid or engineered planks. Learn a little more about each type of hardwood flooring and choose which is the best for your home.

Oak Flooring Pros and Cons

Oak is the king of hardwood floors for a reason. It’s an incredibly durable wood that only gets better with time. In fact, some of the most gorgeous hardwood oak floors are 200 years old. It has historically been used as a sign of opulence and can bring a sophisticated and prestigious look to a space. There are a number of reasons it’s a favorite among homeowners, including its availability across the country and reasonable price.

Oak flooring also comes in a variety of natural shades, from limed white to natural to very dark, and can be easily stained to suit whatever room it will reside in. The new quick dry stains set within hours and can be coated with polyurethane the next day. Prime grades of oak are very cleanly cut and achieve a contemporary and clean look, while more rustic cuts of oak will have lots of knots and a variety of grain pattern for a more antique appearance.

Another attractive feature of oak is its stability and active grain patterns. The wood will perform well in summer humidity as well as winter dryness with minimal care. Dehumidifying basements in summer months and humidifying air in the winter is recommended.  The active grain pattern in oak will hide small scratches and dents that occur with normal wear, which means fewer repair and maintenance bills.

Maple Flooring Pros and Cons

Maple is best suited for contemporary spaces due to its light natural finish and clean surface. Its subtle grain pattern makes it a great choice for large, open spaces that need consistency. Maple wood is harder than oak, but not as stable.

Hardwood harvested from the outer wood of the trunk, or sapwood, is usually a light creamy white color, while hardwood harvested from the center of the tree, or heartwood, is a deeper shade of brown with a slight reddish hue. A color from the natural spectrum is the most common choice, as maple doesn’t take well to custom staining. However, new factory staining techniques and UV color technology allows maple to be stained many colors in a factory setting. The lack of grain makes it possible to do a very precise color or hue.

Oak Flooring

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