Hardwood floors are definitely gorgeous, with a timeless appeal. One of the popular species for flooring is oak. There are two main types: red and white oak. Red, the more common of the two, comes with rosy and pinkish undertones, setting a traditional look and feel to the space. Its grain is wider and heavy, and it features more grain pattern variations. Applying darker stains to the red oak flooring highlights the pink tone. Due to the widespread availability of red oak, it tends to be a suitable and cost-effective installation for commercial and residential establishments alike. With white oak, you have flooring that has a greyish-brown tone, that almost becomes opaque. Here, there are linear grain lines and wood stains can be applied more uniformly. As such, light-coloured stains tend to pair more nicely with the white oak. When it comes to durability, white oak takes the lead, albeit slightly, given that it is harder than red oak. In addition, it is more resistant to issues like rotting and decay.
As a flooring choice, oak brings a couple of benefits on board – pun intended. For starters, there’s the cosy ambience that it adds to the space, setting a warm and welcoming ambience. Secondly, it features more stability compared to many other hardwoods. Stability here refers to the floorboards undergoing less contraction and expansions with the seasonal changes, which translates into longer-lasting and more durable wood.
Speaking of durability, oak comes with a sturdy structure, able to withstand the impacts of high traffic establishments. What’s more the busy grain pattern enables scratches and dinges on the floorboards to be more easily concealed compared to some other hardwoods. This buys you more time in between the consecutive floor sanding and restoration sessions. The rot-resistant nature of white oak enables it to be used for outdoor installations. In fact, oak is naturally resistant to fungus and insects as well, adding to the attributes that make it durable.
When it comes to the treatment process – from the staining to the polishing, you have a wide array of formulations to work with. That way when you want light colouration, a beachy beige or are targeting a dark tone, you will get the finish products that will suit your particular needs.
Given its popularity, installing and properly maintaining the oak floors gives you more resale value, enabling you to attract interested buyers more easily should you decide to sell the property later on. Even for property managers and landlords renting out their spaces, having an oak floor gives you the edge in the competitive real estate market. These attributes contribute to making it a worthy investment.
Getting the floor installed is the first step – and with proper care it can last as long as the building itself. There are cases where hardwood floors have been maintained for over a century – it all comes down to how much effort is put into the process, and ensuring that the right measures are used.
Water, while being the acclaimed universal cleaning solvent, is not exactly friendly to your oak floor. Since oak is by nature hygroscopic, it will absorb the excess moisture from its environment, be it the humid air space, or the spills that have been allowed to dwell on the floor. For the spills especially, this leads to their being a steep moisture gradient, thus copious amounts of the liquids get soaked up the floor – and when this is allowed to go on unabated, then you end up having moisture problems ranging from gapping to cupping and warping. Spills need to be dealt with immediately.
For the cleaning process, you should ensure that you use gentle formulations. Acids will attack the wood, and you don’t want the oak getting ruined. In fact, ensure that you check the product description when ascertaining that it is a safe solution for wood. The mopping process, in addition, should be carried out with mops that are just damp, not soaking wet.
One of the benefits of oak flooring is that when the existing finishes get worn out, or you’re faced with lots of scratches, dips, and other surface imperfections that develop over time due to the day-to-day effects, you can give the floor a facelift without affecting the underlying structure. Here, simply arrange to have the floor sanding done, to remove the existing coats, and prepare the surface for a fresh new treatment. This will revitalise the floor, bringing a new touch to the space – basically a fresh beginning that will revamp your ambience.
The floor sanding needs to be done appropriately. This is the first stage of the restoration process, and the results that are obtained here will set the pace of how the rest of the process will pan out. Mistakes made at this point will be detrimental to the process. For instance, having patches of the old finish coats remaining on the oak floor simply because the floor sanding was not evenly done will prevent the new coats that are to be applied from bonding with the wood structure. You also don’t want a rough surface that will make the final varnish coats uneven, or sections of the floor being sanded too much into the wood, such that there will be depressions that affect even normal walking. As such, it is important to hire a professional for the floor sanding, one with the appropriate tools and skills needed to get the job done fast and effectively.
Then the treatment process follows. Here, formulations ranging from wood stains to lacquers are applied, depending on the desired final result. The purpose of the wood stains is to provide the preferred colouration, where you get to set the tone of the oak floor. There are those who choose to apply clear lacquers that enhance the natural colouration of the wood. The finish coats add to the protection of the floorboards, increasing its resistance to everyday wear, effects of solar radiation, plus preventing spills from getting readily soaked into the wood. All these come together to provide your floor with extended service life, and allow you to enjoy it all though.