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Comparison

When it comes to hardwood flooring, Oak and maple are the most popular options. Both these floors boast stunning looks and excellent features that make them ideal for residential and commercial spaces.

Written by: Yarl Christie

Published on: September 29, 2019

Solid Oak Vs Maple Flooring - What is Best?

When it comes to hardwood flooring, Oak and maple are the most popular options. Both these floors boast stunning looks and excellent features that make them ideal for residential and commercial spaces.

But how do you choose between Solid oak flooring and maple flooring? This guide aims to help you choose the right flooring for your needs.

Solid Oak Vs Maple Flooring - What is Best?

What is Maple Flooring Made From?

Maple flooring falls into two different categories. These include solid maple flooring and engineered maple flooring.

Solid maple flooring is created exclusively from maple wood. There are two varieties that can be used, including hard and soft maple. The planks of the floor are constructed from a single piece of wood.

Engineered maple flooring is multi-layered. It only features a real maple wood surface layer, and the rest is made from plywood. The number of layers can vary, and the thicker the planks the more durable the floor will be.

What is Oak Flooring Made From?

Solid oak flooring is made exclusively from a single piece of oak wood. It is the most popular type of wood used to create hardwood flooring due to its plentiful supply and tough hardwearing properties. The floors can be made from either white or red oak, with both producing a beautiful, natural effect.

Engineered oak flooring is made with a real oak surface layer and additional plywood layers. Like maple engineered flooring, the number of layers can vary and will impact the floor’s durability.

Which is Waterproof?

Neither oak nor maple floors are waterproof. Wood expands and warps when exposed to temperature and moisture changes. If installed in a moisture-prone environment such as the bathroom, both solid oak and solid maple floors will become damaged.

Engineered oak and maple floors do provide a little more water resistance than solid wood varieties. However, they still shouldn’t be installed in moisture prone areas.

Comparing Durability

Both oak and maple floors are highly durable. In terms of wear and tear, red and white oak, alongside hard maple, are well suited to high traffic environments. Soft maple is a little less durable, making it suitable for rooms with medium levels of foot traffic.

Oak floors do tend to offer slightly more durability over maple, and they suffer less contraction and expansion when exposed to temperature and moisture fluctuations. However, both will last for many years with adequate maintenance.

Installing Solid Oak Vs Solid Maple Flooring

The installation process is exactly the same for solid oak and maple flooring. They feature a tongue and groove system which makes connecting the planks a breeze. However, they need to be nailed down to produce a sturdy, long-lasting finish. You can read more about how to install solid wood flooring here.

This can be tricky to do without damaging the wood if you don’t have any floor fitting experience. For this reason, we always recommend our customers have their solid wood floors professionally installed.

Solid Maple Flooring in Living Room

Engineered maple and oak flooring is a lot easier to install. It also comes with a tongue and groove installation system, but they do not need to be nailed down. This makes it much easier to carry out the installation yourself. You can read more about how to install engineered wood flooring here.

Room Suitability

Solid wood maple and oak can be installed in the same rooms. As neither of them is water resistant, you should avoid installing them in the bathroom, kitchen, and other high-moisture areas.

Engineered maple and oak floors can be installed in practically any area besides the bathroom and other high-moisture environments. They can be installed in the kitchen, though you will need to take care to ensure any spills are cleaned up quickly.

Comparing Insulation

Both oak and maple hardwood and engineered floors provide excellent insulation. Maple does rank slightly higher here as it features a denser construction. There are exceptions however, and both are warm to the touch and great at reducing sound.

Like all engineered wooden floors, engineered Maple is a flooring compatible with underfloor heating too.

Solid Oak Vs Solid Maple Styles & Effects

Oak is available in a variety of colours and textures. Solid oak flooring is more tolerant of custom staining, which means you can have a floor stained in the desired colour to suit your interior.

Oak also offers a great choice of textures too. If you are looking for a clean, smooth look with minimal grains and details, opt for prime grade Oak. For those interested in heavy grains and character, the rustic oakwood grade offers immense choice.

Maple is less grainy than oak. However, the lack of grain makes the wood more responsive to factory staining. When you are looking for a very specific colour to match your décor, maple hardwood is more likely to meet your needs.

Oak is usually available in darker shades, while maple with its neutral and lighter shades, is preferred for brightening up interiors. You can also sand down your oak and maple flooring and re-oil the planks if you fancy a different finish. Read more about how to oil wood flooring here.

Herringbone Oak Flooring Installed in a Bedroom

Both Oak and Maple wood floors come in a range of designs, such as 1-strip, 2-strip and 3-strip straight plank, herringbone, parquet, Versailles, Basket-Weave and chevron styles.

Comparison Table

Oak Flooring Maple Flooring
Construction Solid or engineered wood Solid or engineered wood
Waterproof No No
Durability Excellent durability with engineered options providing greater scratch resistance Slightly less scratch resistant than oak yet remaining exceptionally durable
Installation Tongue and groove system to connect the planks. Solid wood floors also need to be nailed down for a secure finish Use the tongue and groove system to connect the planks, then nail down to finish if installing a solid wood floor
Room Suitability Most rooms excluding the bathrooms or rooms with high moisture Most rooms excluding the bathrooms or rooms with high moisture
Insulation Excellent. Solid oak floors are warm underfoot and produces a dull, solid noise. Not suitable for use with underfloor heating. However, engineered floors can be installed with underfloor heating Not too noisy underfoot, warm to walk over. Not compatible with underfloor heating if installing solid oak
Effects Wood effects Wood effects
Laying Patterns Wood plank, herringbone, chevron, Versailles, basket-weave Wood plank, herringbone, chevron, Versailles, basket-weave

Conclusion

The main difference between oak and maple wood flooring, is their appearance. Therefore, it really comes down to personally preference which one you prefer. If you need help determining whether a oak or maple floor would work better in the home, give our friendly experts a call to discuss your options.

Further Browsing

You can shop online for solid oak flooring here.
You can shop online for engineered oak flooring here.
You can shop online for solid wood flooring here.
You can shop online for engineered wood flooring here.

About The Author

Yarl Christie

Yarl is the Managing Director of Stories Flooring. started his career in the flooring industry by becoming a floor fitter at the age of 18 (2004). Yarl finally decided to move with the times and set up an online flooring store (Flooring Yorkshire, 2018). He works closely with the business managers and resource team to source new products from wholesalers, which in turn brings down the sale price. This enables Stories Flooring to be one of the leading UK flooring retailers.