maple vs oak flooring

Oak Overview

Oak has long been an extremely popular choice for wood flooring, particularly in traditional-style homes. It has a warm, rich tone and a distinctive grain pattern. Oak flooring is also strong and durable; it can last for generations.

There are two basic types of oak flooring: red oak and white oak. Red oak has a reddish tone and a more distinctive grain pattern. White oak has a browner tone and a less pronounced grain pattern, and it is harder than red oak.

Like most other types of wood flooring, oak is available in engineered or solid wood form, pre-finished or unfinished, and in a variety of grades.

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How Much Does Oak Flooring Cost?

Oak flooring varies in price depending on the quality. The average price for materials and installation is about $8 to $12 per square foot, but in some cases you could pay as much as $20 per square foot. Installing the floors yourself saves a significant amount of money, usually $3 to $7 per square foot.

Pros of Oak

  • Durable – Oak is a strong wood that is highly resistant to dents and scratches.
  • Lots of character – The distinctive wood grains and warm tones give oak lots of character. The unique patterns of the wood grains stand out even more when the floors are stained.
  • Stains well – Oak’s slightly porous surface takes well to stain. You can achieve a beautiful finish with light or dark stain.

Cons of Oak

  • More expensive – Oak is slightly pricier than maple.
  • More imperfections – To some, the distinctive wood grain is not an attractive feature. Oak is probably not the best choice if you like a clean, modern look.

Maple Overview

Maple flooring has a blondish tint and is much lighter in color than oak flooring. It has a smooth texture and a less prominent grain pattern than oak. It’s ideal for creating a clean, modern look. Maple is also extremely strong and durable; it too can last for generations.

Like oak, maple is available in solid or engineered form, pre-finished or unfinished, and in a variety of grades.

How Much Does Maple Hardwood Flooring Cost

Maple is slightly less expensive than oak, with an average price of $7 to $11 per square foot for materials and installation. In some cases, you could pay $15 or more per square foot. As with oak, d0-it-yourself installation can shave $3 to $7 per square foot from the total price.

Pros of Maple Hardwood

  • Durable – Maple flooring is extremely hard and dent-resistant – even more so than oak flooring. This is largely because it is virtually non-porous.
  • Fewer imperfections – Maple has a consistent grain pattern that is more subtle than oak with fewer imperfections.
  • Less expensive – Maple is slightly lower in price than oak. The price difference is usually anywhere from $1 to $5 per square foot.

Cons of Maple Hardwood

  • Less character – For some people, the lack of a distinctive grain pattern makes maple less attractive than oak. If you love traditional style and lots of character, maple is not the best choice.
  • Doesn’t stain well – Maple’s non-porous surface doesn’t take to stain very well. Dark stains in particular might look blotchy or uneven.

Author: Ashley Smith

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