Quarter sawn oak flooring is a popular choice for homeowners due to its durability, beauty, and unique grain pattern. This type of flooring is made from oak trees that have been cut into quarters before being milled into boards. The resulting planks showcase the medullary rays, creating an attractive and distinct appearance. If you’re considering quarter sawn oak flooring for your home, this guide will provide you with valuable information on how to choose and install it.
1. Choosing the Right Grade
When selecting quarter sawn oak flooring, it’s important to consider the different grades available. The grade refers to the appearance and quality of the wood. The three main grades are select grade, character grade, and rustic grade. Select grade offers a clean and uniform look with minimal knots and color variation, while character grade displays more knots and natural color variations. Rustic grade has the most pronounced knots and color variation, giving it a more rustic and aged look. Choose the grade that best suits your desired aesthetic and budget.
2. Determining the Width and Thickness
Quarter sawn oak flooring comes in a variety of widths and thicknesses, allowing you to customize the look of your space. The width of the planks can range from 2 to 8 inches or more, depending on your preference and the size of your room. Thicker planks, typically 3/4-inch, are more stable and can better withstand heavy foot traffic. Keep in mind that the width and thickness of the boards will also affect the overall cost of the flooring. Consider your specific needs and budget when making these decisions.
3. Installing Quarter Sawn Oak Flooring
Installing quarter sawn oak flooring requires careful planning and precision. Here are the basic steps involved in the installation process:
- Prepare the Subfloor: Ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Remove any existing flooring and fix any uneven areas.
- Acclimate the Flooring: Store the quarter sawn oak planks in the room where they will be installed for at least 48 hours to allow them to adjust to the room’s temperature and humidity.
- Install Underlayment: Lay down an underlayment to provide moisture barrier and sound insulation.
- Install the Flooring: Begin by laying the first row of planks against the longest wall in the room, ensuring a 1/2-inch expansion gap between the planks and the wall. Use a pneumatic flooring nailer or adhesive to secure the planks to the subfloor. Continue installing subsequent rows, making sure to stagger the end joints for a more stable and visually appealing floor.
- Trim and Finish: Once all the planks are installed, trim off any excess and install baseboards or molding to cover the expansion gap. Sand the floor, apply a suitable finish, and let it dry completely.
Quarter sawn oak flooring adds warmth and elegance to any room. By following these guidelines, you can confidently choose the right grade, width, and thickness for your space, and achieve a successful installation. Whether you’re renovating your entire home or upgrading a single room, quarter sawn oak flooring will undoubtedly enhance the overall aesthetic and value of your property.