Shopping for hardwood flooring or furniture? Oak and maple are two of the most popular choices, but which is best for your home?
Oak is considered superior to maple for flooring. It is more durable and has a greater range of colors and grain. Maple is still a good choice and costs less, making it a great option for those with a tighter budget for their floor or who particularly prefer its look.
Read on to find out more, including a detailed breakdown on the pros and cons of both woods and more information on their differing durability, strength, types, and patterns.
Using Oak Wood For Flooring
Oak is a great choice for wood flooring. It is solid, durable, and looks great – it’s no surprise that oak is often considered the “King of Flooring.” And while oak flooring might not be as strong as hickory, it ages better with time, and looks opulent.
Oak comes in two varieties, red oak and white oak, and is available in a wide range of shades, from light through to a dark, reddish brown. While the natural finish looks beautiful, oak is also easy to stain to achieve a different finish.
Both red and white oak trees can be cut to look clean or rustic, with a wide variety in the frequency of knots and grain patterns available. Oak’s grain pattern also helps hide scratches and dents that may occur through normal wear and tear.
Benefits of Using Oak for Wood Flooring
- It is resistant to warping
- White oak is very resistant to decay, red oak relatively so.
- Both white oak and red oak are resistant to dents and scratches.
- It ages well.
- It stains well.
- It responds well to steam bending.
Cons of Using Oak for Wood Flooring
- It has a high content of tannin. Exposure of raw wood to wet and cold weather can lead to corrosion or staining.
- It is a heavy wood.
- It also costs more, when compared to Maple.
Using Maple For Wood Flooring
Maple is a popular choice for wood flooring. It is harder than oak, but not as study or durable. It has a light color with a subtle grain pattern which suits many styles of décor, but because the maple tree has little resistance to mold or infestation the wood must be treated before use in homes.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:
Benefits of Using Maple for Wood Flooring
- You can stain maple to look like cherry wood or some other color. Staining is a cost-effective way to make your floors the color you desire.
- Great for indoor projects.
- The wood is strong and hard, suitable for even a high-traffic floor area.
- It is a cost-effective option, with a lower price than oak
Cons of Maple for Wood Flooring
- It has little to no resistance to decay
- It is not the best choice of wood for steam bending or any project that involves shaping or boring.
- It is more porous, which makes it slightly more susceptible to dents and scrapes.
Differences Between Maple and Oak Wood
Both wood species are popular choices, but how does each material differ? Let’s take a look:
Do Maple and Oak Look Different?
Wood from maple trees is light in colour, while Oak ranges anywhere between light to natural to dark, red-brown in color. The pores on oak are visible to the naked eye and this is what gives the wood its grain pattern. Maple has more subtle pores that aren’t visible to the naked eye.
Maple vs Oak: Uses
Oak, known for its durability, is commonly used in the home for hardwood flooring and to make cabinets. It is also used in the production of wines and brandies; oak barrels are used for preserving the wines and also have medicinal properties.
Maple is used not only popular for hardwood floors, but also to make pool cue shafts, wooden baseball bats, and butcher’s blocks. It is also used in the making of musical instruments.
Is Maple or Oak More Expensive?
Oak is definitely the more expensive of the two hardwood species. However, it offers more variety like color, better grain patterns and stain quality, a solid look and finish. While maple is relatively better in terms of price and it is often not on the same level as oak in strength, durability and appearance.
Is Maple or Oak Harder?
Maple is harder than oak, although both are hard enough for most situations and uses. However, neither comes close to Hickory; Hickory is about 40% harder than oak, and the hardest used commercially in North America.
Similarities Between Maple and Oak
- Both are hardwood trees
- Both are popular species used for a wide variety of uses, including hardwood flooring, cabinets and other home furnishings.
- You can stain both oak and maple to get the finish and look you want.
Oak vs Maple for Hardwood Flooring
If your budget allows for either, oak flooring is probably the best choice. Its strength, hardness, range of color and available grain pattern, not to mention it’s appearance, make it a great choice for your hardwood flooring.
However, having considered the pros and cons we can confidently state that both oak and maple are a great choice for hardwood flooring in your home. If you cannot afford oak flooring, maple has many pros and is very suitable for use on your floors.
Oak or Maple for Cabinets
Maple, is considered by many to be the best of all hardwoods for making cabinets. It is highly versatile, traditional yet modern, contemporary and sleep and can be used in almost any setting. You can paint or stain it to give your cabinets the best possible appearance. Oak is also a fine choice for hardwood cabinetry with a natural look that suits many homes.
Maple vs Oak for Furniture
Both maple and oak are good choices for wood furniture. Oak is more expensive, but sturdier, while the cheaper but lighter colored maple can suit modern home decor better. You may also want to consider hickory, if you want a hard wood, or cherry, rosewood, or mahogany if you are looking for the most beautiful wood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Oak flooring does not scratch easily and should weather most minor knocks and scrapes. Pet’s claws and most shoes should not scratch it.
You should always choose a hardwood for wooden flooring as it will last longer. Hardwoods such as oak, maple, and cherry are all good choices, although any type of hardwood is better than softwood.
Maple floors are very durable as long as you have ‘hard’ maple. Some maple trees produce softer wood that is less suitable for flooring