Timber is a natural material choice for projects of all sizes and applications. Its availability, strength, ease of handling, eco-friendliness, longevity and affordability, particularly when compared to other materials, has ensured timber’s popularity throughout the ages.
But with so many wood species to choose from, selecting the right timber type isn’t easy. Below we share the benefits of using Oak as well as reveal why all Oak is not created equal.
Excellent strength and durability
Although Oak is a medium density hardwood (approximately 720 kg/m3), its strength and durability surpasses many other timber species - including some tropical hardwoods.
Interestingly, there are around 600 varieties of Oak available from different parts of the globe, all from the northern hemisphere. But not all varieties are very strong or durable. Our Oak is sourced from France, where the main two species are ‘Quercus Robur’ and ‘Quercus Petraea’. These great native Oaks are highly durable, unlike Turkey Oak (Quercus Cerris) and American Oak (American Red or Quercus Rubra and American White or Quercus Alba). The Woodland Trust explains more about Turkey Oak’s poor viability:
“Turkey oak is mainly used as an ornamental tree, though it is less widely planted now, due to the damage its gall wasp can cause to native oak acorns. Its timber has a fairly poor reputation, especially for use outdoors as it doesn’t weather well. However, it can be used indoors where it may crack and warp, but historically it was made into wainscoting (wood panelling). If well-seasoned it can be used for firewood.”
As one of the most durable timber types available, our Oak requires very little maintenance, even over a prolonged period of time. Oak still reacts to the elements, but instead of causing damage (apart from the odd natural tannin leaching stains), exposure enhances its already stunning aesthetic.
Exposure to the sun for instance brings out a striking silvery look. Whilst exposure to rain causes a warm and blackened hue to form due to Oak’s high tannin levels mixing with rainwater.
A stunning appearance
Whether aged by the weather or preserved with a suitable stain or varnish, the beauty of Oak is undeniable. Its distinctive look exudes quality, and its rich colouring and attractive woodgrain deliver an elegant texture. Its rustic look is able to add instant charm and character to any application, whether situated internally or externally.
Oak is an extremely versatile wood type. Even the way the wood develops gives a nod to its adaptability. Oak starts soft and malleable but once dry becomes hard and durable. This makes it a great choice for use across many projects.
Internally, Oak can be used to craft supportive frames, beams, decorative features and flooring. Outdoors, Oak takes on a whole different life. Oak cladding, fencing, decking and waterworks are defining landscaping projects. The strength and durability of Oak also means it’s the right material for the construction of retaining walls and raised beds.
Many traditional builds were and still are framed with oak beams, one of the industries we supply. New builds use freshly sawn beams, whilst renovations such as churches and other historical buildings, have to use seasoned oak beams where stability is paramount. These are oak beams that have been left outside for many years so that they become more stable by slowly losing moisture to the air.
More affordable than you think
Oak fills the gap between abundant and cheap softwoods (such as Pine and Spruce) which are not durable, and expensive and rare tropical hardwoods (such as Iroko and Sapele), which are stronger and more aesthetically appealing, but may lack durability. As a happy medium, Oak excels in terms of durability, strength, affordability and availability. It is also sourced from nearby forests.
Contact us today to discover the best Oak timber for your project. You can also find out more about our Oak timber and its application as planks and beams, sleepers, flooring, pergolas, and timber frames here.