Hardwood flooring offers many advantages over other types of floor covering. Laminate oak flooring is an especially good choice if your main concern is longevity. Unlike carpet, linoleum or even laminate floor coverings it takes years for oak flooring to show signs of wear. Hardwood oak flooring is unmatched for beauty and if you want to make a flooring choice with the environment and sustainability in mind, solid oak flooring can often be cut from reclaimed lumber. If price is your primary concern, you will want to shop carefully. Hardwood flooring lasts for many years and is usually not the cheapest option available. Your location may also play a role in your choice – hardwood flooring can be purchased at large retail chains but you may have more luck finding what you really want at a sawmill or other lumber-specific retailer.
The drawbacks of carpet are well-known – it collects dust and can be problematic for people with allergies, the sun can fade sections, it can be difficult to clean, and so on. Linoleum is useful for some areas, but is prone to tear and to show wear in high traffic areas. Ceramic tile can be cold and slippery. Hardwood, however, has none of those problems. It does not show wear for many years, even in high traffic spots, the sun will not fade solid wood and it can be thoroughly cleaned easily.
Oak is a good choice of hardwood for flooring due to its stamina and its beauty. Different types of oak vary in color, from the reddish tint of red oak to the honey color of white oak. The age of the tree the red oak flooring is cut from may effect the color as well. All varieties of oak are equally durable. Engineered oak flooring may also be custom cut to the thickness you need.
If you are building or remodeling with an eye to sustainability and protecting the environment, you will want to look for flooring cut from reclaimed or salvaged lumber. If you purchase lumber from a large chain store, you may not be able to find reclaimed or salvaged flooring, but many smaller businesses carry it. Reclaimed oak wood flooring is often more attractive than newly cut lumber, so it may be an option you want to investigate. Look for a well known retailer with expertise so that you are guaranteed to get the product you pay for.
If price is your biggest concern, wood oak flooring might not be the best choice for you. However, if you factor in the years of use, you will find that hardwood flooring is not as expensive as it first seems. If you have to replace carpet every 10 years, but unfinished oak flooring will last for 100 years, is carpet really less expensive?
Some people worry that taking care of a beautiful hardwood floor will require too much upkeep. The best method of caring for natural oak flooring depends in part on how it is finished. Generally prefinished oak flooring needs to be swept regularly, mopped and occasionally waxed. Talk to the person who installs your floor to learn how it will be finished because flooring finished with oil requires a different treatment than rustic oak flooring that is finished with polyurethane.
In recent years, laminate oak flooring has been touted as an alternative to real wood flooring. Laminate does have advantages, including price and ease of installation, but should not be considered in the same category as solid oak. Laminate will not last as long as real wood and if laminate gets wet it could be damaged while oak would have to be wet for a very long time to be damaged. Laminate is also more likely than oak to crack or warp.
Whatever your ultimate floor covering choice, it always pays to research all of your options carefully. Keeping your goals in mind and communicating frequently with experts will help you reach the decision that will be most suitable for your individual situation. Cheap oak flooring is one possibility among many, but it does offer distinct advantages in the areas of longevity and beauty.