Why Choose White Oak Flooring
There’s a reason oak is one of the most popular species for engineered hardwood floors. It offers beauty, durability and affordability all in one place. And at LIFECORE, we use European white oak for our three oak hardwood collections. Here’s why.
White Oak versus Red Oak
When choosing oak engineered wood floors, you may be wondering about the differences between white and red. First, white oak is slightly darker and browner, while red oak tends to have more pink undertones. White oak also has a much smoother grain, giving it a more modern aesthetic.
Beyond the visuals, white oak doesn’t expand or contract as much due to changing humidity as red oak thanks to the tyloses plugging its pores, which provides the wood with lower permeability. When combined with a strong, engineered core, this means added durability and a wood that’s perfect for use in kitchens and entryways.
European White Oak versus American White Oak
European oak (Quercus Robur) and American oak (Quercus Alba) are both temperate hardwoods, but as you might guess, one is native to Europe and the other to America. Because of these different environments, the species themselves have a few key differences.
Not only is European white oak a heavy and strong wood, it’s perhaps best known for its fine, tight grain and smaller growth rings than American oak, giving the graining a more uniform flow. It also has more even color across boards. This, combined with a more wavy grain pattern than American oak’s mostly straight grain allows for better contrasts between shades in the grain pattern, giving it a more unique aesthetic.
The Perfect Palette for Finishing Techniques
With less sapwood and a higher tannin content, European Oak not only absorbs stains better than American oak—making scratches less noticeable—but it works particularly well for reactive aging processes. By introducing the wood to organic substances either in the atmosphere or directly to the wood, those tannins are brought to the surface in a way that naturally darkens and highlights the plank and grain pattern.
A More Sustainable Choice
With engineered hardwood floors, manufacturers are able to make more planks from a single tree than with traditional hardwood flooring. And with resistance to humidity changes, engineered flooring lasts longer, meaning less wood is needed to meet flooring demand in the long run. At LIFECORE, we take sustainability a step further. Because we manufacture our own floors, we have forest-to-floor quality control for more sustainable wood sourcing.
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