Oak Floor Considerations

Oak Floor Characteristics

Oak Hardwood Flooring is a traditional Flooring choice that is sturdy, beautiful and has a timeless look. Oak Flooring has a strong, obvious grain pattern that can be enhanced by the stain – lighter color stains allow the grain to be more pronounced, while darker stains provide less contrast. Oak is very hard-wearing and has a rating of 1290 on the Janka Hardness Scale.

Oak Hardwood Floor Construction

Our collection of Oak Hardwood Flooring includes both Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood constructions.

  • Solid Hardwood: As the name indicates, this type of Flooring is a solid piece of Oak wood from top to bottom, most commonly 3/4” thick. All Hardwood Flooring offered by Empire Today is pre-finished, meaning it has been sanded and coated, usually multiple times, at the factory. The finish layer applied to the top of the Solid Oak Flooring helps protect the wood from abrasions and stains. Solid Oak Hardwood Flooring cannot be installed over concrete slabs, so it is not suitable for basements.
  • Engineered Hardwood: Multiple layers of wood are pressed and bonded together to create Engineered Oak Flooring. This Flooring features a top finish layer, Oak wood layer, core layer and base layer. The real Oak layer provides the same look as Solid Oak Flooring. The core consists of crisscrossing layers of wood or a fiber that provide better dimensional stability. The base layer features a special locking system that creates joint integrity and allows for staple, glue down or floating installation.

Oak Floor Appearance

How your Oak Flooring will look is determined by many factors. When you meet with your Sales Representative, be sure to talk about the following options for Oak Flooring that could influence the overall look:

  • Plank Width: There are many different widths to choose from, each lending itself to a distinct look. We offer boards ranging from 2 ¼” to 5” in width. Smaller width planks have a more traditional look, while the wide plank Flooring looks more distinctive.
  • Hand Scraped: Before modern sanding methods were developed, floor planks were scraped by hand to make the surface even. Today, hand scraping is done in a factory in order to make the Flooring planks look older than they are, giving a finished look that is nostalgic of historic craftsmanship.
  • Smooth Finish: Smooth finishes are available in many gloss levels and have a traditional appearance that is cleaner in look and style.
  • Beveled & Square Edges. Oak Flooring planks either have beveled or square edges. With beveled edges, the spaces between the sides of the Flooring planks form a “V” shape. The depth of the "V" shape can range from deep to shallow. Square edge Flooring planks are cut so all sides match evenly. The result is a flat surface.

Oak Flooring Underlayment

There are several benefits of having an underlayment installed beneath your Oak Engineered Hardwood Flooring. It can help smooth out minor subfloor imperfections while quieting impact sound and floor-to-ceiling noise. Not only does the underlayment help dampen sound, it is environmentally friendly and can help manage acceptable levels of moisture. Underlayment can be used under Engineered Hardwood Flooring and may be installed over concrete or wood subfloors.

Janka Scale

Species Janka Hardness (pounds-force)
Oak 1290
Maple 1450
Hickory 1820
Cherry 995
Exotic Wood 2350
Bamboo & Cork 2700 to 2900

The Janka Hardness Scale is measurement of how various types of woods resist denting and wear. The test assesses the force necessary to embed a .444-inch steel ball into wood to half of the ball’s diameter. It is a flooring industry standard for evaluating how well various wood species can tolerate denting and normal wear.

USDA Janka Hardness Scale


Floor Care & Maintenance Tips

  • Use felt pads to help protect your Oak Flooring from furniture wear.
  • Repair minor damage using color fill or color sealant.
  • Rearrange furniture and rugs to help even exposure to sunlight and to maintain consistent color across your Oak Flooring.
  • Place protective mats at doorways to help keep dirt and moisture off your floor use a hard-surface rug underlayment to help reduce slips.

For more tips, visit our Hardwood Flooring & Product Care area.

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*CARPET & FLOORING: Next Day Installation on in-stock styles only. In select areas, Next Day Installation may not be available every day. Floor preparation may add to installation time. WINDOW TREATMENTS: Next Day Installation on select products and styles for orders received by 10 a.m. In select areas, Next Day Installation may not be available every day.