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European Oak Flooring

June 9, 2010

Oak Flooring Random Widths
written by Martin Foley

Solid Oak Flooring



We cleared all flooring in 2012 and now concentrate on door furniturewindow furniture and bathroom accessories. All traditional in style and best quality. Click here to go to our home page.

European Oak (quercus robur) is a very durable material for oak flooring.  Over the centuries it has been used for shipbuilding, timber framed buildings, barrels and in its machined and finished state makes wonderful oak flooring, oak doors and furniture.

European oak has wonderful variations of colour from light tan to biscuit shades. It has beautiful grain with medullary rays in some surfaces which create the ‘silver grain’ so highly valued as a decorative feature. The wood takes waxing, liming, fuming and polishing treatments to create different looks. It is the ideal material for your home’s traditional oak doors and solid oak flooring.

It is heavy timber with British and Baltic oaks weighing in at 720 kg’s per cubic metre. This compares with some other European and Japanese oaks (quercus mongolia) at around 660kg’s per cubic metre. American red oak (quercus rubra) is even heavier up to 770kg’s per square metre and is distinguished by the pinky red hue in the heartwood, and the less interesting grain variations. Paradoxically the European oak is is more durable than the American. The white variety of American oak (quercus alba) is often seen in the UK in the form of parquet blocks.

Oak grows very slowly and can reach a great age. European oaks can attain 1000 years of age and trunk girths of 44 feet. They are not especially tall- the greatest height recorded being 128 feet. Contrast this with American white oak which can reach 150 feet in height but with a much more slender girth of 30 feet and a mere maximum age of 600 years.

Oak dries slowly and can split when worked. We always recommend pre-drilling when nailing or screwing our solid oak flooring. Our traditional oak doors are always screwed and plugged for optimum finish. There is usually seasonal movement as the oak responds to the ambient humidity, and the acidic tannins in the timber attack iron nails and iron bolts, causing characteristic ‘ink stains’ in the wood. Use non ferrous or galvanised fittings to avoid this.

Please click on the link if you would like to know more about our range of solid oak flooring or traditional oak doors. We also sell reclaimed flooring, reclaimed oak and if we can get it, antique oak.

The photographs below show our oak flooring in a hallway, a close shot of an oak cottage door and an external oak door.

Sources: Worlds woods in Colour; W A Lincoln Stobart Davies 1986, What Wood is That? H L Edlin Thames and Hudson 1969

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