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What Should You Know About French Oak Flooring?

French Oak FlooringOriginally, French oak flooring entered the U.S. market as an exotic species one known, at least across the pond, for its use with wine barrels. Over time, however, its luxury association transformed into affinity for rustic character. The wire-brushed look and prominent character marks certainly offer this, and now brands like Garrison make the product even more accessible to a greater range of homeowners.

For many buyers, the question that often arises is, "What's the difference between North American and European oaks?" Often used interchangeably with "French oak," European oak additionally originates from Romania, Hungary, and Poland and differentiates from its North American counterparts in the following regards:


As you can see through a hardwood retailer like The Discount Flooring Co., color variation changes from domestic red and white species to French oak. While the former two feature subtle tans or pinks, respectively, a yellow-amber defines French oak.


With domestic species, hardwoods are straight cut, plain sawn, quarter sawn, or rift and quartered. With planks of French oak, on the other hand, all grain patterns are on display, creating a cathedral-like effect.

In general, as well, French oak's grain tends to lean more toward narrow and tight, with emphasis on flat and rift characteristics. However, to capture the comprehensive appearance, the hardwood is live sawn or cut precisely straight through the log. As a result, not only do French oak planks display the full range of straight to plain sawn to rift and quartered grain patterns, but character marks emerge, as well.


When North American red and white oaks are compared, a greater concentration of tannin a compound that keeps insects at bay defines the latter. However, French oak exceeds this amount; outside of flooring, this characteristic makes French oak the perfect option for wine barrels, as tannin influences the flavor.

In terms of flooring, tannin further influences how stain reacts with the hardwood. Unusual colors and tones result, especially when compared with stained red or white American oak.

Likely as a combination of all three factors, a rustic, aged appearance has made French oak a highly sought-after product. Through The Discount Flooring Co., the French Collection from Garrison offers seven-inch wide engineered planks of French oak, available in random lengths. Choose from unfinished and prefinished options featuring a lifetime-maintainable oil finish.

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