French oak flooring is a traditional type of wood flooring that has been used in homes for at least the past two centuries. Oak is known for its strength and durability as well as its visual appeal as a wood flooring material. French oak floor panels are fabricated from this type of wood that can be traced back to the forests of France.
The highest grades of flooring are manufactured from the same oak trees, without any fillers or mixing of the wood from two different trees. A couple of the most common questions among first time buyers include:
- Are engineered french oak floors available?
- How much does french oak flooring cost?
Depending on individual budgets, home owners can find beautiful oak flooring that will fit a variety of different interior designs.
How Much Does French Oak Flooring Cost?
French oak flooring ranges in price from $15 to $22 per square foot, not including the labor cost of installation. Home owners ordering custom wood stain colors in the flooring may need to pay a bit extra per square foot. Most oak flooring panels have tongue-and-groove installation patterns, which makes them relatively easy to set down and lock in place. The cost of this flooring can also vary by manufacturer and whether the flooring panels are certified as authentic.
Genuine French oak floor panels come from trees that are at least 200 years old, and high end panels come from oak trees that are at least 250 years old. To make sure the quoted price matches the wood quality, oak flooring buyers are advised to ask the retailers for certificates of authenticity.
What is the Hardness Rating of French Oak?
On the Janka hardness test scale, this type of flooring is rated a 1360, which makes it durable against wear and tear as well as heavy foot traffic. The fine grains of this flooring also allow it to readily absorb wood stain treatments. Relative to other wood flooring types, this rating falls roughly in the softer third of all wood types.
The Janka hardness scale measures how resistant different wood types are to having a metal ball bearing driven into their surfaces. Softness or hardness relates to the directions of the wood grains. Side hardness on the Janka scale refers to the testing of the perpendicular grain surface.
Flooring manufacturers use the Janka hardness test to determine the resistance to wear of various wood types, including French oak. Established hardness numbers represent an average, and the scale requires that tested wood blocks be between one and two inches thick.
Are Engineered French Oak Floors Available?
Engineered French oak flooring is available from a variety of building companies and hardwood floor manufacturers. This type of French oak is made from a mix of raw materials instead of raw wood from the same original oak tree. Many engineered French oak floors are deliberately weathered to give them a vintage appearance. The advantages to engineered floors include a wider variety of wood stain colors and locking panel patterns.
An engineered oak floor does not have the same material origins as authentic 19th century French oak, although this aspect can often save the buyer on the average price per square foot. High quality engineered floor panels also undergo rigorous testing to ensure they stand up to the same weathering and wear as aged French oak floors. Many manufacturers continue to come up with new designs and colors that are meant to resemble aged French oak floors.
Reclaimed and Vintage French Oak Flooring
This particular variety of oak flooring is often fabricated from authentic French oak boards that were originally used for various structures built throughout France beginning in the 19th century. The panels could have been originally used for houses, barns, school houses, warehouses and factories.
Over a couple of centuries, the elements have given the wood a characteristic weathered and distressed appearance for aged French oak floors. When these older buildings are torn down to make way for new ones, reclaimed flooring manufacturers take the wood panels and fabricate oak flooring out of them. Instead of being incinerated or simply thrown away, this older oak is given new life as flooring for homes and other buildings.
Authentic as well as reclaimed and vintage french oak flooring is a relatively affordable floor material that will typically outlast the lives of the original installers. When purchasing authentic French oak, getting a certificate of authenticity will ensure the flooring’s origins match up with the manufacturer’s advertised claims.
Guaranteeing the origin of the flooring material will help to ensure its long lasting quality. The exact tree species of the originating oak can vary from one region of France to the next, but wood from the same oak tree always indicates the best available quality for this kind of wood flooring.