This is a detailed comparison guide on oak vs maple flooring where we have compared both and discussed everything you need to know about it.
Oak and maple have been considered to be the best choices for flooring in a home. But which is better? Oak or Maple? They can both offer many benefits, but there are also some drawbacks.
In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of these two materials so you can decide which material would work best for your needs.
In order to help you make an informed decision, we’ve broken down each type of flooring into categories: color, durability, price, installation requirements, care & maintenance requirements, and environmental friendliness.
We’ll then share some personal experiences with oak vs maple flooring that may help you choose what type of floor will work best for your home!
All About Oak Flooring
Oak flooring has been around for centuries and has been a popular choice for flooring in homes for many reasons. It is a very durable material that can stand up to a lot of wear and tear, comes in a variety of colors, and is relatively affordable. Oak flooring is also easy to install and doesn’t require a lot of care and maintenance.
It is originated in Europe, where it was used in churches and other public buildings. It gradually began to be used in homes, first in England and then in the United States.
Oak flooring is still a popular choice for flooring today because it offers many benefits that other types of flooring do not. It is a pretty popular type of flooring because it adds warmth and beauty to any room.
There are different types of oak, but American white oak and European red oak are the most common types of oaks used for this purpose.
Oak floors come in solid hardwood or engineered boards, which make them an ideal choice for high-traffic areas of the house. Oak is a very durable material and will last a long time.
It can stand up to a lot of damage, even from pets. However, you’ll need to keep it clean and polished on a regular basis in order to prevent scratches, dents, deep gouges, and other types of damage. The best type of finish to use is a hard wax oil, which can be applied by hand.
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All About Maple Flooring
Maple flooring has been used for centuries, and it is one of the most popular flooring materials available. Maple is a hardwood that is strong and durable, making it an excellent choice for floors.
It is also moisture resistant, making it ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. Oak is a hardwood that adds a touch of class and sophistication to any home.
It offers strength and durability, making it an excellent choice for floors. Unlike many other types of flooring, oak is made from the same kind of wood that furniture is made from, making it extremely hard and able to stand up to any wear and tear that the floor may be exposed to.
The styles, colors, and finishes of maple floors are endless. It can be colored to blend in with the rest of the room. Maple flooring is also easy to clean and maintain.
There are several types of maple flooring available, including solid maple flooring, engineered maple flooring, and click-lock maple flooring.
Solid maple is the most expensive but also the most durable. Engineered maple is less expensive than solid maple but has similar strength.
Click-lock flooring is so easy to install that someone with no experience can put it down in their own home; simply click together the pieces to create a beautiful floor.
Maple flooring is also eco-friendly. It is made from trees that are grown in sustainable forests, and engineered maple flooring comes with a green certification. It is even available in a recycled form to further reduce our carbon footprint.
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Oak Vs Maple Flooring Comparison
While both maple and oak are good choices, there are also some important differences to consider. The selection between the two will ultimately depend on what the buyer is looking for and other aspects like popularity, appearance, pricing durability, maintenance, & hardness. So we will discuss all these things below.
Oak is a popular choice for flooring, and it’s easy to see why. It makes a room feel cozy and inviting, and there are many different types of oak flooring available that can match any décor.
Maple is also a popular choice for flooring. In fact, maple has been used as a building material for centuries because of its strength and durability, making it an excellent option for floors.
Oak is more popular than maple, but both are good choices for flooring. Maple’s popularity has been increasing in recent years, making it a trendy choice for flooring.
Popularity will not be a huge consideration in the buyer’s decision, but it will play a small role. The popularity of maple is increasing, while oak has been famous for years.
This means that there are more options available for maple flooring than for oak, making it easier to find precisely what the buyer is looking for.
Both are good choices, but oak is now the more popular option. The primary reason why red oak is more popular than white oak is its availability.
Red oak has fairly heavy grains, it is less likely to crack, and most people are able to determine the quality of a piece of red oak quickly.
There are many differences between oak vs maple flooring. One of the most important is appearance. Oak comes in a variety of hues, ranging from honey-colored planks to darker stained varieties.
Maple’s coloration can range from light to dark, but it does have more tannin pigment than the oak, which makes it look richer and darker.
The appearance of oak and maple flooring is a personal preference, but many choose to use maple in rooms with less natural light because it stands out more.
People who want their floor to stand out in a dark room will prefer maple, whereas those who want their flooring to adapt to any situation will choose oak.
Style is another important aspect of the appearance of wood floors. Maple and oak both come in many different styles and finishes.
Oak is available in more types, including distressed and whitewashed finish, but maple is a popular choice for those looking to use prefinished flooring.
Prefinished flooring is installed as soon as it is manufactured, so there isn’t any need for finishing work during the installation process.
While prefinished flooring does have a higher price tag, it can save time and money in the long run because there are no additional costs for the finishing process.
Both maple vs oak flooring is available in many different styles and finishes, so you can find one that looks great with any décor, but keep in mind that if you choose prefinished flooring, there is no need for finishing work during installation, so your job will be done faster.
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There is a large difference in the price of oak vs maple flooring. Oak is more expensive than maple, even though there isn’t a big jump in price between different types of oak flooring.
Maple floors are the most popular type of wood flooring, so there is a lot more competition among manufacturers. This leads to lower prices.
When you buy maple flooring, you can expect to pay around $4 per square foot for solid hardwood and $5 for engineered.
If you buy oak, you can expect to pay $4.50 per square foot for solid and $7 for engineered oak flooring. You can find maple wood flooring online or at your local home improvement store, but the best deals are usually found directly from the manufacturer because they don’t have any middleman expenses.
You can find oak wood flooring online or in home improvement stores, but the best deals are usually found at specialty plank retailers.
Both types of floors are available at many different price points, but maple tends to be cheaper than oak. Solid hardwood maple is the most affordable type of wood flooring you can buy, so this is likely your best bet if you are working on a budget. Pricing for engineered wood flooring versus solid is about the same.
When you compare oak vs maple for pricing, keep in mind that the cost of installation will be higher because it requires more labor and material to install than maple. Also, if you choose prefinished hardwood floors, expect to pay a lot more than unfinished flooring.
The durability of the flooring is an important aspect to consider when buying new flooring for your house. Whether you are looking into oak, maple, or any other type of wood, the last thing you want is damage due to water exposure.
Both oak and maple are durable types of wood, but there are some differences in how they handle moisture exposure.
Maple is better at handling water exposure than oak, so you will have to worry less about moisture absorption and swelling.
This does not mean that your floor won’t warp over time if it is left in a high level of humidity for an extended period or if severe flooding occurs.
Oak vs maple wood durability is fairly even, but both types of wood should be treated for added moisture protection. The durable nature of maple comes from the high density, so that it will be less likely to scratch or dent than oak.
The popular belief that maple scratches more quickly is not true, but maple is softer than oak, so it may be more noticeable if it does get scratched or dented.
Maple flooring is durable enough to endure frequent wear and tear within the household, but it is not suitable for heavy commercial use.
The dense fibers help maple to maintain its strength and prevent denting or scratching, so it can be a great choice if you have children or pets who are likely to cause wear on the flooring.
Oak flooring has more challenging pores than maple, which makes it more resistant to moisture absorption, but it is softer, which makes it more likely to suffer damages in the household.
This is not a big difference since both types of wood are durable when exposed to the right amount of moisture, but maple may be better for homes with children or pets.
As you can see, there is not much difference between oak and maple durability because they are both reasonable choices for flooring.
Depending on the amount of moisture that your home is exposed to, both types of wood can be strong enough for daily wear and tear.
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Maple is low maintenance in comparison to other types of flooring, but it still requires some form of protection. The pores in maple are open, which allows moisture to absorb into the wood without warping easily.
This makes the wood susceptible to water damage and swelling if left in an unprotected state for long periods of time.
Both oak and maple require some level of maintenance, but maple is easier to take care of. Maple flooring does not need as much protection as oak, and it can be cleaned with natural products such as oil soap and wax.
Since maple absorbs less moisture than oak, it will experience much less swelling, which makes the wood much more low maintenance.
Oak naturally contains oils which makes it easy to clean, but this also requires a high level of care. The oil content in oak makes the wood more sensitive to moisture and damage from water exposure.
Oak, like maple, is a resilient type of wood which means that it will not warp with regular use by humans or pets, but it is less durable than maple overall.
The most important care routine for maple and oak is the application of a clear coat. Both types of wood can be cleaned with natural soap and wax, but the top layer needs to be protected so that it does not absorb too much moisture.
This will protect your hardwood floors from water damage and ensure that they last longer than unprotected wood flooring.
Please note that some types of maple are more sensitive to water absorption than others, so that care requirements may differ depending on the type of wood.
Which One Is Harder?
Maple is harder than oak in comparison, which means that it will be more durable in many households. This does not mean that oak is the type of wood that you should avoid; it just has weaker fibers than maple overall.
Maple is harder because its dense fibers protect against dents and scratches, so your floor might withstand a heavier impact compared to oak.
Oak’s naturally occurring oils make it easier to clean and maintain overall, but the pores in oak may need more frequent waxing than maple.
The thickness of both types of wood is comparable, which makes them equally hard to dent or scratch so that they will last a similar amount of time with regular care and maintenance.
The hardness of maple is due to its dense fibers, which make it much more difficult to damage than oak. Maple has denser fibers that protect it from scratches and dents, but the increased durability comes at a cost. This type of flooring is less water-resistant, so it will warp if not properly taken care of.
The rating for hardness in maple is 690 on the Janka scale compared to the rating of 670 in oak. This means that maple is harder than oak overall, but both types of wood are difficult to damage.
Scratching or denting either type of wood flooring can be almost impossible if they are regularly maintained for low moisture absorption and wax treatment.
While it may seem like the more durable hardwood floors will cost more initially, it is important to keep in mind that owning a high-quality floor could save you money in the long run.
If you have oak or maple flooring and notice warping or swelling after major water damage, this may be an indication that your floor needs to be replaced sooner than expected.
Staining And Finishing
Both types of flooring can be stained or finished, but you must consider the pros and cons carefully before deciding.
For maple hardwood floors, oil soaps are recommended for staining since waxes contain high levels of silicone which may damage your floor.
If you would like to apply a wax finish to your maple hardwood floors, be sure that it contains minimal silicone.
Applying silk or pure metal wax would be the safest bet since these do not contain high levels of silicone, and they will protect your floors without damaging them.
A stain is recommended for maple hardwood flooring because oil soaps can remove stains, and other types of cleaners will damage the wood’s natural oils.
A stain will protect your floor from scratches and dents while preserving the natural color of maple. Oak hardwood floors can be finished with a variety of products, but it is recommended to use waxes that contain high levels of silicone.
This type of finish helps to keep your oak wood floors looking beautiful for more extended periods of time since it protects the natural oils in your floors.
-Waxes for both types of flooring can be applied with a brush, but it is recommended to use a cloth or lamb’s wool dauber for oak floors and oil soaps on maple floors.
As the saying goes: if you do not know what you are doing, then you will probably do more damage than good. BUT if you know what you are doing, then your hardwood floors (oak or maple) will last longer and look better with the proper care in comparison to not taking enough care of them at all.
Oak vs Maple Flooring Pros and Cons
Before deciding on either type of flooring, you should consider some of the pros and cons facing maple or oak.
Pros Of Oak Hardwood Flooring
- Oak hardwood floors are naturally finished with oil, so it is easy to attain a consistent shine. The surface of oak has an even color which makes it easier for stains or dyes to soak into the wood.
- The high level of oils in this type of flooring make it extremely water resistant and difficult to scratch or dent, but some care should still be taken to avoid water damage.
- Oak flooring is more resistant to cracking and splitting than maple, so it will hold up better under high amounts of weight. If you have a heavier piece of furniture or a large appliance, oak would be the safer choice since no extra care would need to be taken for normal wear and tear.
- Oak hardwood floors are less likely to warp and swell since the surface has a higher resistance to moisture. This type of flooring would be the more durable option for high trafficked areas, rooms near kitchens or baths, or any space where water may regularly spill onto the floor.
- Pricing for oak hardwood flooring is usually a bit less expensive compared to maple. This type of flooring can be sanded and refinished more times, which means you will not have to replace it as quickly as you would with maple floors.
- The appearance of this flooring is extremely beautiful and can fit into almost any home decor style from rustic to modern and everything in between.
Cons Of Oak Hardwood Flooring
- It is quite heavy, so it may be difficult to lift and install by yourself.
- Boulders, chunks of rocks, or large pieces of furniture can scratch or dent this flooring if dropped onto the surface.
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Pros Of Maple Hardwood Flooring
- Maple flooring tends to be more stable than oak. If you live in an area where the ground underneath houses is soft, you would probably want to install maple hardwood floors instead of oak due to their increased stability.
- This type of flooring may require less maintenance depending upon the finish. Solid finishes are recommended for maple because they have a higher resistance to oil soaps and other cleaners that may damage the natural oils in oak.
- Using this flooring in high traffic areas is a good idea because it will hold up better than oak under pressure caused by heavy objects, furniture, etc. The surface of maple has a higher scratch resistance due to its tight grooves. This type of flooring is not porous so it will be easier to clean and maintain.
- Pricing for maple hardwood flooring tends to be a little lower than with oak floors, but this depends on the type of product you choose.
- The grain pattern in this type of flooring is consistent which makes it a better choice if you want to install parquet floors. This flooring also has less of a tendency to warp or swell than oak, so it is the recommended option for moist climates or rooms near kitchens or baths.
Cons Of Maple Flooring
- If you’re looking to patch up a small area of your home, you may find it difficult to find the right color.
- The surface of maple is not as water-resistant as oak, so some care should be taken to avoid spills and other moisture-related problems. The finish will need to be replaced more often than with the oil on the surface of an oak hardwood floor.
- Maple may warp or swell if it becomes too moist or humid in the air, so it is not suitable for high humidity or moist climates.
Oak vs Maple flooring is a decision that many homeowners face in their lifetime. When you are trying to choose the best type of wood for your home, it can be difficult because there are so many factors to consider when choosing between oak and maple hardwood floors.
Both types of flooring have pros and cons, which make them comparable in some ways but not others. If you keep these key differences in mind when deciding what type of wood will work best for your needs, then you should end up with an excellent choice that will last for years to come. Which material do you think would be better suited for your home?
Jenny SteffensHobick is the full-time editor responsible for painting, flooring, bathrooms & home climate coverage at House Whirl. She is a home improvement expert with an eye for design and the skills to get the work done. She knows what turns a house into a home and has the advice and ideas to make upgrades easy and fun.