Solid Oak Flooring: Your Questions Answered

Love the idea of solid oak flooring but not sure whether it’s right for your home? In this post we answer some of the most common questions we get asked about this type of flooring, from what it is to where it can and can’t be used, and why. Have a read to learn more about solid oak and discover whether it could be the perfect choice for your space.


What is solid oak flooring?

Let’s start with the basics. Unlike engineered oak flooring, solid oak planks are pieces of oak through-and-through. They come in different thicknesses, widths and lengths depending on how they’ve been manufactured, and can look different depending on their finish. Oiled and lacquered are the most common types of finishes for a solid oak floor. Oiled has a subtle matt sheen and lacquered is shiny and smooth. You can learn more about finishes in this post.

What are the benefits of solid oak flooring?

Oak is loved for its rich golden colour and hardwearing properties. It’s a durable, reliable wood with the classic knots and swirling grain patterns that have always defined a traditional wood floor. As oak ages, it also becomes richer and deeper in colour making a floor that seems to live and mature with you. Solid oak adds a beautiful touch of nature to the home.

Natural solid oak flooring (that hasn’t be stained) can also be sanded down and refinished, allowing you to refresh your floor over the years. This is a great benefit if you’d like to lay oak flooring in a high-traffic area of if you have pets. Yet, there’s nothing unusual about letting your wood floor wear naturally. Signs of life over the years can add extra character and a sense of heritage to your space.

How is solid oak flooring fitted?

Solid oak floors are typically produced with tongue and groove joints, just like our York collection. These allow each of the planks to be tightly slotted together for a neat and stable surface. The planks should be glued directly to the subfloor or secret nailed over an existing timber subfloor.

With any fitting method, it’s always important that the subfloor and conditions are carefully prepared. Levelling, moisture levels and any issues with damp should be considered and controlled beforehand. You can find comprehensive guides to fitting in the Technical section of our catalogue.

Is solid oak flooring suitable for any room in the home?

Oak is a durable wood that will last for more than a lifetime in many rooms of the home. The material is a great option for living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and hallways, with its natural character bringing a lovely sense of warmth to beneath the feet.

The only room we don’t recommend for solid oak flooring is the bathroom. This space experiences changing levels of moisture: conditions that don’t bode well with the natural planks. Wood naturally absorbs and releases moisture from the air and while doing so, its fibres expand and contract. In unstable humidity conditions (such as the bathroom), the planks are at risk of movement, causing gapping or cupping in the floor.

Is solid oak flooring suitable for underfloor heating?

Solid oak flooring doesn’t make a great pal for underfloor heating, for the same reasons that we don’t recommend it in bathrooms. As these planks are made of nothing but natural wood, they’re sensitive to humidity in their environment and aren’t stable enough to manage the changing temperatures from beneath.

The great news is you can still get the beautiful look of natural wood in your home with underfloor heating. Engineered wood flooring has been designed to manage humidity changes with an extra-stable construction. Learn more in this post.

Is solid oak flooring suitable for pets?

Solid oak floors have some great benefits for homes with pets. They have highly durable finishes that help to protect them from small scratches and wet paws. A smooth surface also makes oak much easier to clean than carpet and doesn’t harbour the dirt or bacteria that a fabric does.

Of course, as with any floor, a little care is needed to prevent damage from your furry friends. To try and minimise the risk of scratches, we’d recommend choosing an oiled solid oak floor as they can seem less visible and can be more easily repaired. It’s also a good idea to keep claws trim, wipe your pet dry after they’ve been outside and clean up any little accidents as soon as possible.

York Whitewash Oak

Think solid oak flooring is right for you?

Discover our York collection

Our solid oak flooring has been designed to provide style and long-term reliability in your home. The York range features boards with tongue and groove joints, 5 coats of durable UV lacquer or oil and random lengths for a truly traditional look. Explore the natural golden tones, contemporary stains and refined or rustic plank styles of the collection.

Find more handy guides to wood flooring on our Resources page.