White Oak plank

White Oak is very misunderstood. I am referring at the striking disconnect between how beautiful White Oak flooring can be and how inexpensive it is. I am talking about the ultimate paradox in flooring. Yes white Oak is totally misunderstood. White oak is a beautiful tree, and the wood that comes from it makes exceptionally durable flooring, But unlike it’s most famous cousin the Red Oak, it does not have any of those more golden, and reddish tones everybody, specially in the Northeast find so appealing…. No instead White Oak sports some more subdued light brown, yellowish, and even sometimes greenish undertones.

Way back in ancient times…White Oak was as plentiful as Red Oak

and there was no real strong distinction A closeup of a WhiteOak floorbetween the two like there is today..even in color. Sometime when remodeling a house one has to take advantage of a chemical test to even tell them apart. Well that’s how it was years ago, like 30, 50, or more when more northern species were used, while today we source most of our commercial woods from the south of the United States. So a little bit of the mystery revealed..A much colder climate contributes to a much lighter wood, and that’s what we’ve seen been used in older houses. Today instead we source most of our White Oak from the south..Southern White. Yes Southern White is browner and darker, …so don’t try to mix the two.

Did i say paradox? So what happen when we stain it?

I say the unthinkable happenWhite Oak stained dark, the unappealing light brown undertones, become the perfect foil for all kinds of dark stains, coffee, cappuccino, dark chocolates and ebonies. While it’s cousin Red Oak has a basic problem with stains because the red hue it is always in the way, White Oak creates the perfect stain partner. It is very widely used in this way..The humble offerings in 2 1/4 from the local Big box store of “1 common” is what most everybody is used to. We like to focus 3 and 4 inches wide all the way to very wide format 5, 6 and even 8″ inches. Wide Plank White Oak comes with varying lengths some as long as 10′ 12′ feet long in a variety of different grades, from Character grade to 2 common, 1 common, Select, and Select and better.You see this kind of wide format installation in a lot of the fancy houses toward Weston, Wayland, Newton, Brookline, all around the Boston area, stately mansions with gorgeous rich dark wide format floors. Little do you know you can achieve such beauty for $3.69…3.89 per sq. ft…

Paradox solved…the space continuum is not a risk…

though we heard of Detail White Oak Hardwood truck deliverysome high Retail Flooring brand charging upwards of 12 dollars per foot for the same material. Don’t be silly. Make sure the White Oak you buy, finished or unfinished like in this case comes from a reputable mill. Here at MaHardwoodFlooring.com we have been buying truckloads from the same mills in Kentucky and Tennessee for ever. Matter of fact our mills provide us with a choice of Red Oak and White Oak in both Plainsawn, Quartersawn, and Rift and Quartered. In the next installment of our hardwood pro series I am going to talk about the “Difference between Plainsawn and Quartersawn Hardwood Flooring“.
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