White Oak Wide Plank Flooring
Swirling, Golden Sapwood Patterns
White oak, along with its sibling red oak, are the most popular species for hardwood flooring in North America. White oak’s reputation, though, begins in forests and fields throughout the eastern third of the United States where the tree is highly esteemed for its beauty and stately eminence.
Officially deemed America’s national tree, as well as the state tree of Maryland, Illinois, and Connecticut, the white oak wears its honor well. It grows straight and tall within the forest canopy, and when out in the open, it spreads its limbs broadly, sometimes producing a crown that is wider than the tree is tall.
As you consider available flooring options, some questions you might ask are:
What Size Planks Can You Provide?
Akin to a giant tortoise, white oak is a slow-growing and long-lived species—specimens have been documented at over 400 years old. It even takes its sweet time reproducing. Acorns are not produced in large quantities until the tree reaches at least 50. And those same acorns can spend an equal number of years resting dormant beneath fallen leaves on the forest floor, waiting patiently for sunlight to hit them. Unless a squirrel gets there first.
We’re equally patient at Vermont Plank Flooring where we persistently seek out only the healthiest fully mature white oaks. The result is boards up to fifteen inches in width, and up to fourteen feet long. You’d be hard-pressed to find similar dimensions elsewhere. Wide planks provide a spaciousness that will transform a room. And because white oak is highly stable dimensionally, the seams between those wide boards remain tight.
How Durable Is White Oak?
White oak is one of the more durable domestic hardwoods available. On the Janka scale, which measures the relative hardness of woods, white oak is rated behind only hickory and maple. But durability is more than just hardness. White oak accepts finishes and stains quite well, which further protect it. And its tight, patterned grain hides wear and tear without appearing worn, making it ideal for high-traffic areas.
And although extreme wetness is never ideal for wood, white oak’s closed cellular structure makes it water- and rot-resistant, enough so that it has traditionally been used by coopers to make wine and whiskey barrels.
What Will It Look Like in My Home?
At Vermont Plank Flooring, we mill our white oak wide plank flooring for a variety of customer preferences. You can choose from three different styles of white oak boards, plain/flat sawn (on which we’ll focus here), and rift sawn and quarter sawn.
Plain sawn is the most traditional cut used for flooring. It is produced when the log is milled parallel to the growth rings, resulting in a beautiful open grain pattern. We offer two grades of plain sawn white oak. Our select grade has a clean, linear grain pattern with few or no knots, while our character grade provides some intricate swirls and small knots. In either grade, plain sawn highlights a textured character that calls attention to itself.
Despite its name, white oak glows with light brown hues highlighted by golden and gray tones that, along with its dynamic grain patterns and when coupled with a variety of popular finish options, results in a rich and versatile floor that complements everything from traditional to contemporary design preferences.
Where in My Home Is White Oak Best Suited?
White oak’s durability makes it ideally suited for high-traffic areas, including living rooms, family rooms, stairways, and hallways. Its rot resistance also makes it a great candidate for rooms that might attract occasional water or moisture, such as spills in a kitchen, or wet boots in the mud room (also known as foyers outside of Vermont). For bathrooms, basements, and areas with more severe moisture potential, we recommend our moisture-resistant engineered flooring.
Tell Me More About Engineered White Oak
If your flooring will be laid on concrete, below grade, or in a location where more than occasional moisture is likely, our engineered wide plank flooring is your answer.