Maple VS Oak Flooring

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Hardwood is a popular flooring option that will last for several decades if given the right care and maintenance. It is typically sourced from old-growth timber to ensure its durability and longevity. Some of the most common wood species that are made into hardwood floors are maple and oak.

But which is better as a hardwood floor material: maple or oak? When choosing between different wood species for the hardwood floors, it’s important to consider their characteristics first and how they will fit your needs. Maple is cheaper and has a contemporary aesthetic appeal, but the more expensive Oak is a staple in traditional homes.

Maple vs Oak Flooring: Which is Better?

In 2019, oak and maple were both included in the list of most used species for hardwood floors. Red oak, which ranked first, accounted for around 35% of the total revenues in 2019. What makes these species perfect as a flooring material is their durability, coloring, and attractive grain pattern.

But when it comes to choosing between the two species, it’s important to consider your budget and preferences first. Maple and oak have characteristics that are quite similar so there’s no clear winner between the two – it all depends on how you plan to use them and what kind of color or grain patterns you prefer.

Important Characteristics of Maple and Oak

  Maple Oak
Wood Species Hard maple is best used for floors. Homeowners can choose between red oak and white oak for their house.
Appearance and Colors It has a subtle grain pattern and light color, which makes it a popular choice for contemporary homes. All species of oak have noticeable waves, strips, rings, flecks, or other patterns that some homeowners look for.
Hardness and Durability (based on the Janka Hardness Test) 1450 1290 (Red Oak)

1360 (White Oak)

Cost $7 to $11 per square foot $8 to $17 per square foot

Wood Species

Maple usually comes as either soft or hard maple, but only the latter can be utilized for flooring purposes. Oak can also be divided into two kinds – red oak and white oak. Both varieties can be utilized to produce hardwood floors; the main differences that these two oak species have are their hardness and color.

Appearance and Colors

Maple offers a cleaner look than oak because it has a light color, natural finish, and subtle grain pattern. These characteristics make the maple a perfect match for any modern decoration in a room. Some maple hardwood floors may contain brown or black streaks on their surface, but they mostly have creamy colors. The streaks are normal because they are mineral deposits that add aesthetic value to the wood.

Oak comes in a variety of colors with either rosy (Red Oak) or slightly gray (White Oak) undertones. They also have distinct grain patterns that may appear as rings, flecks, waves, or strips. Oak flooring is typically found in traditional homes and old houses.

Hardness and Durability

The hardness and durability of wood species are typically measured by the Janka Hardness test. It determines how resistant a wood sample is to denting and gradual wear and tear. If a species acquires a high number on the Janka Hardness Test, that means it is a tough material that will last for several years.

Some species of maple may score low on the Janka Test, but hard maples have a decent value at 1450. It means that this species of maple can withstand scratches and other kinds of wear and tear. This makes it an excellent flooring option for high-traffic areas in the house, such as the living room.

White oak is slightly more durable than red oak because it scored 1360 on the Janka Test. It’s also a stable material that doesn’t easily contract or expand when exposed to temperature and moisture changes.


Maple is slightly cheaper at $7-$11 per square ft. compared to oak’s $8-$16. However, it’s important to consider wood grades when looking at the price tags. Although high-quality wood materials typically have high grades, grading has nothing to do with the durability or longevity of the wood.

Grading the lumber is about assessing the plank’s aesthetic value. The different grades available in hardwood flooring are the clarity grade, select grade, number 1 common grade, number 2 common grade, and cabin grade. Higher grade wood will have more uniform colors and patterns than cabin grade wood.

The Best Hardwood Flooring Option Between Maple and Oak

  Pros Cons
Maple Maple has subtle grain patterns that look great in contemporary homes and modern interior designs. Maple has a non-porous surface that might make the stains look blotchy if not applied correctly.
Oak Oak has distinct wood patterns that make the floors more attractive. It also has a porous surface that absorbs stain well. Oak is a better fit for traditional homes because the grain patterns might not look great with contemporary homes.

 For modern-styled homes, maple flooring might be the better pick because it provides a more uniform color and subtle grain pattern. It might also be hard to stain the maple by yourself because the non-porous surface might make it blotchy. You can buy maple floorings that were stained in a factory setting instead of applying the solution on your own.

Oak is considered the “king of hardwood floors” because of its excellent durability and gorgeous grain patterns. But the natural rings and streaks on its surface may look out of place in modern homes. It is also slightly more expensive than maple, but the oak’s stability makes it a good investment for a home. If you still want to install oak in a modern-themed home, it might be better to look for prime grade oak that has clean looks.

It’s difficult to pick between oak and maple flooring because they have similar characteristics. Choosing a material will depend on the house’s interior design and budget. Oak provides a rustic look for traditional homes. Maple’s clean patterns are perfect for a contemporary home, but the high grade and expensive oak planks also provide the same effect.

Hardwood Flooring Options for Your Home at Zothex Flooring

Zothex Flooring offers a wide selection of hardwood floors that include oak and maple. If you’re still unsure which material is the better pick for your home, talk to our staff for expert advice. We can help pick out the best option while considering your needs and preferences.

Learn more about the different hardwood flooring options and how to take care of them by consulting with our staff at Zothex Flooring. Our professionals are dedicated to sharing your vision so count on us to help through the process of picking and installing hardwood floors.

Read more: How to Fix Laminate Bouncy Floors

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