American oak flooring is a beautiful type of hardwood flooring that is widely used in the UK and Europe, despite its origins being a little further afield. You can source quality, sustainable American oak floorboards from a variety of European suppliers who will be able to offer a full delivery service for your floorboards. However, some people wonder what the difference is between American oak flooring and European oak flooring, and which option they should choose.
It’s important to understand that oak is a very strong, beautiful, resilient type of hardwood that makes excellent flooring. Both American and European oak will work very well to make stunning floorboards in any home. The choice purely comes down to personal preference. People who choose American oak do so because they like the tone and character of the wood and prefer this option for their home.
What are the key differences between European oak flooring and American oak flooring?
Here are the key differences between the two types of floorboards to help you understand them and make your decision:
- American oak flooring comes from much further afield. It is a temperate hardwood that is mainly found in North America, in the East. However, both American and European oak is classed as ‘white’ oak and can live for a very long time. There can be different replanting policies for overseas oak – often American oak is grown very responsibly. Check the environmental credentials before you buy.
- Tone – American oak floorboards will in general be slightly lighter and might have an almost pinkish tone. This differs to European oak in that it will usually be darker and more honey coloured. It’s also common to see American oak that is less even in colour tone, creating a rich natural appearance.
- Grain – all natural oak products will show woodgrain, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular and characterful. American oak flooring usually has a more subtle grain pattern that forms straighter lines, so if you’re not keen on having such prominent woodgrain showing through in your floorboards, this could be a good option for you.
Many wood flooring suppliers will supply both European and American oak floorboards and the construction of the boards themselves will be very similar on the whole. Tongue and groove fittings are popular so that the floorboards will easily slot together and form a neat appearance and finish. You can also choose to have the wood stained if preferred, though this detracts from the beautiful natural appearance of American oak.
Once you’ve made your decision and you’re ready to fit your flooring, you should leave it in the room where it’s being used for as long as possible. Make sure you talk to the supplier about what you want before buying – you may be able to get some samples of their American oak flooring so you can decide if this is the right option for you. They can also often supply boards of different lengths and widths to make them suitable for installation in your home.