Antique & Reclaimed Flooring Specialist
a division of Design Hardware

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French & European Oak Flooring

When you consider that an Oak floor will out live the people who commission it, care should be taken in understanding what you are actually purchasing. With many resellers not knowing the actual origin and many importers up selling their products with no proof of origin, the consumer has to be more vigilant in demanding these documents to justify the extra costs that the retailers are seeking.

Design Hardwood Flooring provides certificates of origin and country of harvest declaration, so you can be sure that you are getting what you are paying for.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRENCH OAK AND EUROPEAN OAK?

Oak has been used as a traditional building material throughout Europe for the past 1000 years. Each region of Europe has an Oak that they have used over time. The problem we face at the moment is that the majority of Oak products are being manufactured in China, using multiple sources for their raw materials, with the common thread being price. The problem with this is that when materials are bought on a price point, quality is not the main concern.

To make it simple French Oak comes in two species, it varies from region to region, however general consistency can be obtained by not mixing species and the age of the trees, keeping them at around 200 to 250 years old. French Oak is from managed forests with sustainable logging practices.

When purchasing French Oak ensure it has a certificate of origin which includes the country of harvest. Timber that is processed in France is separated into four sections according to it's usage.

  • 1. The base of the tree, known as the A-section is used for barrels
  • 2/3. sections B and C, from the middle of the tree, are used for the joinery of flooring
  • 4. D-section is used for external applications, such as railway sleepers.

French Oak is processed and graded using strict guidelines by FNB, which manages many of the saw millers in France, they have very clear grading rules and methods for drying. Many products made with French Oak have single origin material, which guarantees consistency and the quality of the finished product.

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 regulated, meaning that the age of trees, species and parts of the trees used are not controlled. The processing and grading regulations for European Oak differ between countries, however 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.

CERTIFIED FRENCH OAK:

What does it mean?

French Oak must be one of two commercially sourced trees from France, that have been obtained through approved purchase methods. Saw millers cannot go into the forest and cut down trees without having purchased tress and agreeing to replant removed trees.

The cost of Oak throughout Europe is relatively the same, the difference in price is the value added through replanting, selected logging practices and raw log processing requirements. Many Eastern European countries do not have these which results in the finished product being substantially cheaper.

Our French Oak is obtained from France, and transported with correct chain of custody documents which declare country of harvest, species and origin.

When you buy Oak it could be called European Oak, the origin of this Oak does not have to be declared, as long as it is from the Quercus Family.

We feel other retailers are up-selling their European Oak to French Oak in order to gain a financial advantage which is unfair to the consumer.