European oak vs American oak

by Roy Akirov
December, 2019

This article about American oak vs European oak will help you decide which type of oak wood will be most suitable for your next project or home improvement.

Oak wood is a highly desirable wood for many construction and design purposes. Oak wood is used to create practical and beautiful furniture, doors, and flooring all over the world. If you are planning to upgrade the woodwork in your home or business, our range of high-end oak wood flooring will help you achieve your hardwood flooring dreams.

Our extensive range of oak wood flooring includes both American and European oak wood. So, you might be wondering what the difference between these two types of timber is and which type would be better suited for your needs. If you would like to understand the essential variations between American oak and European oak – look no further! Continue reading to discover which type of wood will be perfect for your design and aesthetic.

Is European Oak a hardwood?

Although both European and American oak comes from the same species of tree, they are noticeably different in coloring, texture, and softness/hardness. European oak wood can be used in many of the same scenarios as American oak wood, but both have distinct properties that make them better suited for differing situations.

European oak wood is a heavy hardwood which is mostly used for furniture and flooring. It is also used for window frames, doors, stairs, and exterior cladding. If you are familiar with American white oak, you might wonder why you should try using European oak wood over its American counterpart. You might be concerned that European oak wood will be softer, and therefore less functional and reliable than traditional American hardwood. However, European oak hardness will serve just as well as American oak for uses, including flooring and furniture. In fact, European oak is well-known for its strength and durability, even when used outside for decking, landscape gardening, and external wall cladding.

What is the difference between European and American oak?

The most apparent difference between European oak timber and American oak relates to their appearance. Whether you choose European or American oak for your flooring, will usually depend upon the aesthetic you are looking to achieve for your home or business.

European oak tends to be darker with a more distinctive grain pattern than its American equivalent, lending it a unique charm. American oak timber is known for its uniform tendencies with long straight lines of contrasting yellow and pink hues. European oak timber cannot be beaten when it comes to creating a unique and rustic environment, and many of our flooring products allow you to take advantage of the beauty and uniqueness of European oak wood, such as our Origano European oak wood flooring.

Is European oak good for flooring?

European oak timber is a fantastic option for creating a beautiful, durable, and functional space in your home or office. European oak wood is particularly suited for flooring as the wood has narrower cells than its American counterpart, meaning that moisture is less likely to get inside the timber (when this happens timber will warp). European oak makes for an excellent choice in all areas but is incredibly useful in areas where there is likely to be more moisture, e.g. bathrooms and kitchens. The strength and durability of European oak make it a superior choice for flooring, but it also provides additional aesthetic appeal due to its unusual and interesting grain patterns.

What is the difference between American oak and European oak?

Wood from an American oak tree is also durable and aesthetically appealing, particularly if you want to create a uniform look with no added interest or uniqueness. American oak wood flooring is more susceptible to moisture damage, which is why protective treatments are typically conducted before floor installation. European oak wood is also treated with longevity-boosting products, which helps to maintain the shine and beauty of oak wood flooring. Of course, treatments should periodically be repeated to ensure that your flooring is kept in tip-top for many years to come.

What is the difference between French oak and American oak?

One of the key differences between American and European or French oak is the finish and treatment of flooring. Generally, American Oak is treated with a polyurethane finish, which will need to touched-up over time to prevent damage to your flooring. A key consideration when choosing American oak vs. European oak is the financial cost and time it will take to sand-down your flooring and have the polyurethane coating reapplied. The upkeep of American oak in the short term is minimal, but in the long run, can be pretty costly.

French (and European) oak flooring is usually treated with a natural oil finish. The oil helps to preserve the integrity of the wood by penetrating deep into the timber’s fibers to help increase the European oak’s hardness. European oak wood flooring will still need to be maintained through the reapplication of natural oil periodically. Still, it will never be necessary to have the flooring professional sanded again in order for the treatment to be reapplied.

What is European oak used for?

European oak timber has a wide range of uses ranging from furniture, doors, exterior cladding, decking, landscape gardening, stairs, window frames, and of course, flooring! Our range of European oak wood flooring comes in a variety of colors and hues which are suitable for offices, homes, public sector buildings, and more. While American oak tree timber will always be a good option for flooring and construction, European oak timber provides an extra bit of elegance and charm in its sleek and unique patterns and colors. For example, our Acacia European oak wood flooring is created for those who love the natural finish of European oak wood; with no modifications, this is the perfect choice for anyone who embraces unique grain patterns and the rustic-colored hue.

For more information about European oak wood, American oak wood, or the differences between the two, contact us today.

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