Oak furniture and flooring is the gold standard for people who want the the highest quality wood throughout their home. Oak is a wood that is very durable and also has a beautiful grain, so it is a material that retains its looks for many years. The two most popular types of oak are red oak and white oak. As is indicated by the name, red oak has a darker color while white oak has a lighter color. Either type can be finished with a variety of tones, giving the home owner several choices of shades. Oak suppliers most often sell their products to cabinet makers, flooring manufacturers and custom home builders.
Most homes being built today are missing the beautiful woodwork that is found in homes built a century ago. Built in china cabinets, hardwood flooring and moldings are generally found throughout historic homes of this bygone era. This is mostly because the lumber used to create these features is quite expensive. Modern homeowners are usually not willing to pay the higher price it would take to include these features in their home. Some of the newer laminate floors so closely resemble authentic hardwood that it is difficult to tell the difference.
Oak lumber is sawed from mature oak trees, and it is important that the existing oak forests are being replaced by new stands of timber to replace the old. Sustainability is very important to those who make their living by harvesting all kinds of trees used in the construction industry. Oak trees are not a fast growing variety, and this means that the cost of the oak lumber available has risen considerably.
Because oak suppliers are finding it more difficult to obtain raw oak timber products, home improvement centers and companies that sell lumber to custom home builders also offer other varieties of lumber.
White ash is a type lumber that closely resembles white oak in durability and appearance. The ash tree grows faster than the oak, so the use of white ash rather than oak is considered a better choice environmentally. The use of maple and birch has also become a popular choice in the manufacture of beautiful cabinetry. Since pine is one of the fastest growing trees, it is a common choice for outdoor projects such as decks and fencing. Pine is a soft wood so it should be treated for outdoor use to prevent decay.