When it comes to decorating your home, choosing the right flooring is crucial. You want something that will look great, last for years, and can withstand heavy foot traffic.

Many homeowners are confused about which type of wood flooring they should choose. The confusion often leads to bad purchasing decisions or, even worse – not buying any new floors at all!

Oak vs. maple flooring is a very heated topic. They are both types of hardwood floors made from trees native to North America. Both are solid choices when looking for authenticity with rich textures and tones.

We’ll compare the two types and help you decide which one is better for you. The article will go over some important factors by comparing their features side-by-side.

Oak Flooring

Most pieces of furniture in homes are made from oak wood due to its beautiful grain pattern and color. What most people don’t know is that oak can also be purchased as flooring for their homes!

Oak flooring is one of the most popular options today because it’s durable, easy on the eyes, and easily available. It’s a very common wood, which is why it’s easily obtainable both in stores and online. The wood comes in a wide variety of species, making it unique among other types of hardwood floors. 

Oak gives an elegant look to any home interior and is installed on any flooring surface. We’ll discuss more of it later to help you decide if it’s suitable for your home or not.

Maple Flooring

Maple is considered one of the most beautiful wood floors today. The type of wood has been around for centuries, mostly in the construction of high-quality furniture. But with today’s technology, maples are now used as flooring for residential and commercial applications. Here are some noteworthy features:

  1. Unlike other types of wood, maple can be purchased as an unfinished or prefinished product.
  2. It comes in various species and has its unique feature (color of its grain, tone of its natural hue).
  3. Maple cuts quite well into having an elegant design that looks amazing on any flooring surface.

Oak vs. Maple Flooring Comparison

Maple wood is more cost-effective and oak wood is more expensive. Nonetheless, the cost is determined from features such as the floorboards’ width and length and the lumber grade.

Oak is still considered a favorite option for those looking for the most durable flooring material. The pricing depends on its grade: the higher the quality, the pricier it will be for you.

But don’t worry, oak flooring is available for residential and commercial applications at very affordable prices. Therefore, oak is considered better if you aim to save money by buying wholesale or retail.

Both oak and maple flooring have a considerable amount of years for warranty. Most warranties of hardwood floorings range from 10 to 30 years, but some can exceed that range.

There are two types of warranties you want to check:

  1. Finish warranty – both hardwood floorings have prefinished options. The warranty entails that the finish will not wear off. Yet, the clause only applies to common use, not to issues such as scratches from pets.
  2. Structural warranty- It assures that the quality, wood’s milling, moisture content, and other factors are all within industry standards.

Like any flooring, wood needs proper care and maintenance. Oak flooring has a very high resistance to moisture and scratches. Even so, it is not waterproof or stain resistant. You’ll need to use protective sealers if you live in coastal areas susceptible to water damage.

When cleaning oak flooring, avoid using any product containing pine oil or turpentine-based finishes without consulting with a professional first. These products can strip their natural oils, leaving them vulnerable to scratches and dinks from everyday traffic and spills.

In contrast, maple flooring needs special attention because of its highly absorbent oils that attract dirt particles. Also, it requires sanding every two years to maintain its luster and prevent fading due to extreme light exposure.

Maple doesn’t show stains as readily as oak. Stains are virtually impossible to remove since it’s harder than oak and has less porous holes when they do.

When comparing maple and oak flooring boards, you’ll notice that they are both very strong and sturdy when properly installed. Both hardwood floors are known for their durability against scratches, cracks, insects, and termites. Hence, it’s not surprising why many homeowners prefer them over other wood flooring options available.

Still, oak has a greater hardness than maple, making it easier to handle during installation. It is also sturdier, with more natural resistance to warping and shrinking. It has smaller pores and denser wood fibers. Oak floors stand the test of time, resisting wear and tear and increasing their value over the long run.

In oak flooring, there are different colors and textures. The two are determined by the age of the oak or the oak tree to which it was attached. Appearance can be separated between general aesthetics and staining qualities:

  • Aesthetics: oak flooring’s grain will add a remarkable style to any home decor. It’s perfect when used alone or with other furniture in an area that receives a lot of foot traffic. Denser oak floors also allow easier maintenance, like repairing damaged areas without replacing the whole board. 

Maple flooring is one of the most flexible hardwood varieties available. It is ideal for covering big areas and is softer in texture than oak. The wood is a light blondish color with thin, delicate grain patterns and occasional swirls.

  • Staining: Oak is much better and easier to stain due to its porous nature. It can be stained in various colors, making oak an appealing choice for those who are into DIY restoration projects.

Still, it doesn’t mean you have free reign to create any design you want. Oak still needs some basic preparations before being stained. You’ll need to sand it first as rough surfaces create uneven coloring that normally appears as blotches or streaks.

On the other hand, it can be difficult to get an even stain with maple. Dark-colored stains may look blotchy on maple floors.

Oak vs. Maple Flooring: Which Results in a Better Floor?

Oak and maple are both suitable choices for engineered flooring. Most oak flooring is heavy, and when installed improperly, it may seriously affect the original floor. On the other hand, maple bends and twists faster than oak, especially under extreme weather.

Still, when choosing oak vs. maple flooring, it all depends on how you plan to use it, your preference, and your budget. Oak is better for people who have a more contemporary or traditional style. At the same time, the maple is suitable for modern houses and people on a fixed budget.

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Editorial Contributors
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Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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