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Summer Edition of Home and Lifestyle 2017

What’s the difference?

Who kiss best: the French, Americans or Australians? I can’t answer that but I can shed light on the differences between the French, American, European and even Tasmanian Oaks.

French Oak:
French Oak is an imported hardwood from France. Colours range from cream to pale brown, with some slight tones of pink. Tight knots in the grain are a prominent decorative feature. Being slower growing with tighter grain it doesn’t expand and contract to any great extent. French Oak trees produce long lengths and wide width planks.
Quercus Petraea and Quercus Robur are the two types of white oak grown in France. Of the two Quercus Petraea is considered the finer. The most important oak forests in France are Allier, Nevers and Tronçais (all in central France).

European Oak:
European Oak comes from any Oak tree, anywhere in Europe. The age and species of the Oak does not matter, as long as it is an Oak from Europe. The source of this timber is not always regulated, meaning that the age of trees, species and parts of the trees used are not so controlled. The processing and grading regulations for European Oak differ between countries and many countries that manufacture using this Oak, purchase their material from a variety of suppliers. The end result is a mixed source in the finished product.

American Oak:
American oak flooring typically has much larger grain and growth rings in its boards and a much lighter tone compared to French Oak Flooring. Due to the amount of different variations there are of American Oak, the boards also tend to have more of a colour variation across them.
Quercus Alba is the type of white oak most grown in the United States. It is grown mainly in the eastern states as well as California. American oak is denser than the European, but less tight grain.

Tasmanina Oak:
Tasmanian oak (or Australian oak) is not an Oak at all and refers to the hardwood produced by three trees: Eucalyptus regnans, Eucalyptus obliqua or Eucalyptus delegatensis, when it is sourced in Tasmania. The hardwood timber is light-coloured, ranging from straw to light reddish brown and sports less feature than the other ‘Oaks’.

They say about buying a property that “Location” is key. For selecting your next floor you might consider “style” as your guide. With different types of flooring expanding in colour and texture range and pushing the quality boundary, you are no longer limited to the type of flooring in the same way as you might have been in the past.
For example, who would have thought laminate would be produced in a water proof surface format!

By Guy Thornycroft