Oak wooden flooring is an old standby in the United States because the oak tree is such an ever present symbol of solidity and durability. Oak wooden flooring in its natural color is also a nice, light color, lending an air of space, even in smaller rooms. Just be careful when shopping for your wooden floor, though.
First, if you’re looking at particularly cheap wooden flooring, it’s probably laminate. Laminate flooring is made up of a thick resin, coating a picture of a wood floor, which sits atop more manufactured materials, all with a wood chip mixture as the base. There is very little real wood but, many times, it’s hard to tell the difference between laminate and solid wood floors. Laminate is initially scratch and scuff resistant. However, if a scratch or scuff does occur, you’re stuck with it until you can swap out entire boards. Since oak wooden flooring is quite tough, there’s almost no real advantage to using laminate over real…except for price, of course.
Second, you have engineered wooden flooring. Price wise, engineered sits between laminate and solid, although it’s not uncommon to find wooden flooring sales in which engineered is either comparable to or cheaper than laminate. The top layer of engineered wooden flooring is actual, solid wood. However, that layer is quite thin. The rest of an engineered floor is mostly wood as well, though not solid. Engineered oak wooden flooring can give you the solidity of an oak wooden floor while keeping the price down. It can even be buffed a few times if there are any scratches or scuffs, though deep scratches or dents can sometimes require replacing boards.
Then there’s your solid oak wooden floors. There are those who will choose solid wooden floors because they’ve done their research and decided that it’s the best option for them, but I suspect that the vast majority will choose solid simply because it’s “the real thing”. With real oak wooden flooring, things like worm holes and scars are considered normal, sometimes even desirable. There are levels of scarring, but to get the kind of smoothness you find in laminate, you’ll pay quite the ridiculous sum. There’s also “wormy” solid wood, in which there are a copious amount of scarring and worm holes. This is great for log cabins, but not so good for multi-million dollar suburban mansions.
Keep in mind: just because it’s “the real thing” doesn’t mean it’s best for you and your home. Look at all your options before choosing your oak wooden flooring, and consider any wooden flooring sales before you make your final decision.
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