No one really knows exactly how many tree species there are on the planet mainly because there’s many definitions as to what a tree actually is besides roots, a trunk, branches and leafs. However, the total seems to be between 10,000 and 100,000 and where 25,000 is more universal for species depending on where you do your research. I find this astonishing because I’ve always been a fan of trees and to know that no one has the real answer in this day of technology blows my mind, I dated myself huh?
With all my experience as a wood floor contractor, I’m partial to many species and oak is one of them. When I first learned my trade, I used to ask why did everyone want oak floors? The answers were many from greatly priced to simply beautiful grain. Over time and experience from working with many species I formed my own conclusions. Yes, I will agree with price and beauty no doubt, but there’s another element of this species I recognized, and that’s all the advantages that many other species fail to possess. Think of oak as being just like the earth and all the other wood species being like the other planets. But besides having life in common, these other planets can’t imitate earth, whereas earth can imitate all the other planets or species in this case.
Oak flooring has a three dimensional appearance where the grain on the plane cut (traditional mill cut) has two distinctive textures, one soft (open), and one hard (closed). Now couple that with a perfect Janka Wood Hardness Scale of 1290 for overall hardness out of say 3840 for Brazilian Tiger Mahogany. For more information on this scale and other woods Janka ratings, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test
Here are several of my favorite reasons. Oak can take any color stain from light honey to dark ebony or color pastels which I’ve done many times from baby blue child rooms to pastel pink for little darling girls. It takes white well and bleaches beautifully too. It’s easy to sand and easy to protect with wax, Tung oils, oil-based polyurethanes, or water based urethanes. It’s milled in sizes from 1-1/4″ to 12″ wide and from 5/16″ to 3/4″ thickness. You can choose between red or white species which is its raw pigment appearance. Red isn’t really red, and white isn’t white, it’s just called that. The red species has a pinkish hue in raw milled appearance and white has a light tan color appearance. Both species are well received by consumers and I enjoy working with both.
Besides adorning castles and homes from the 15th century, oak planking was common on high status Viking long ships in the 9th and 10th centuries. Owning an oak hardwood floor definitely has a lineal vintage heritage too.