Oak flooring is now by far the most popular type of hardwood floor. For centuries oak has been a vitally important building material because of its strength and hardness, its high tannin content which makes it highly resistant to insect and fungal attack, and because of its exceptionally beautiful grain markings. And all these attributes make oak particularly suitable for flooring too. At Havwoods we stock around 340 different, stunningly beautiful oak planks and parquet blocks, because we believe that nothing can compete with oak wood flooring.
Solid oak flooring
Floors laid with solid oak planks or parquet blocks can last for generations. Most of our solid oak is supplied unfinished, giving you ultimate scope to apply your own choice of stains, wood dyes, waxes or oils. And if the floor becomes damaged or you simply want a change it can be sanded down and re-finished, not just once but several times.
Solid oak can be affected by changes in humidity so it is best fitted in rooms where the temperature and humidity remain stable. Also we don't recommend it for use over underfloor heating since this can cause the boards to dry out and shrink, leaving large gaps.
Engineered oak flooring
Once fitted an engineered oak floor is indistinguishable from solid oak, but because it is multilayered the engineered wood is more stable and will withstand changes in humidity far more successfully. In fact, it is so stable most engineered oak floors can be installed over underfloor hearing.
Depending on the thickness of the top layer of oak, engineered wood may also be sanded down and refinished just like a solid wood floor. And those with a 6mm top layer may be re-sanded just as often. Sanding down will, of course, affect any surface finishes.
But whether solid or engineered, an oak floor provides the same significant benefits to the value and saleability of your home, as well as the same physical and psychological health benefits. However, it takes up to 150 years before an oak is ready to use in construction whilst the timbers used for the base layers in an engineered plank reach maturity far, far more quickly. Even with everything else being equal, engineered oak products ensure a better use of resources.
Choosing the best oak for flooring
There are 600 different species of oak. With the exception of our Xtreme collection and the reclaimed products which originate from North America, all Havwoods oak products are European oak. European oak encompasses two species, both of which exhibit essentially the same characteristics, and is sometimes known as English oak, Polish oak, French oak, etc, according to its country of origin. Classed as a white oak, European oak has a warm golden, honey colour, an even tone and a distinctive wavy grain pattern. When fumed, it takes on a consistent dark, rich colour, very like walnut.