Oak or pine dining table?
Published on October 15 2021
Why is oak the best choice?
The oak and pine are two of the most commonly used finishes for furniture. However, they don't have much in common. Each has its pros and cons that will give different benefits to your home. Read our guide and you will be able to choose the best finish according to your preferences.
Is oak better than pine?
There is a misconception that oak is better than pine. Both solid woods have their own benefits such as hardness, color and durability. The choice of one or the other depends on what you need. Oak is long lasting and pine is still strong and attractive and is a more economical choice.
Oak or pine, there are many things to consider when choosing the right furniture finish for your home.
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Softwood or hardwood
The main difference between these two woods is that oak is a hardwood and pine is a softwood, although it will still be as hard to the touch as oak.
This difference is not appreciable per se, but goes into the structure of the wood itself. Evergreen trees (which produce softwood) have a different system for transporting water through the trunk compared to angiosperms (which produce hardwood). This creates a different structure in the wood, which gives it its different properties.
While softwood is still very durable, hardwood is more durable. One of the most popular reasons people choose oak furniture over pine is because oak has a longer life span than pine.
Both have a nice grain. Those of oak tend to be more wavy, with more knots and unique markings. It is more defined and noticeable than the grain of pine, because like most hardwoods, it has deeper pores. Pine tends to have straighter grains that are lighter.
This is one of the most frequently discussed properties.
Because of the time it takes for the wood to grow and the difference between softwood and hardwood, oak is a naturally more durable material for furniture compared to pine.
This is not to say that pine is a flimsy choice. Pine is extremely durable, but oak is less likely to dent, stain or wear over a long period of time compared to pine.
However, this does not mean that oak is the right choice. If you're looking for furniture that will last 50 years or more, then yes, choose oak. But if you're looking for furniture for the bedroom then pine is the best choice. You can replace it as your kids get older and redecorate their room. Or get rid of it when your child moves out and their bedroom functions as a different space. Therefore, you may not need your furniture to be as durable.
Regarding the difference in durability there is another factor, price. You have to take into account whether the additional service life is something that is useful to you. If it is, then oak is well worth the investment, as it will last a long time.
The price difference between oak and pine is due to the fact that oak takes much longer to grow than pine. If cost is an important factor for you, you may want to opt for pine furniture. It is still sturdy and looks attractive, but it is a little less durable in the long run and is therefore less expensive. However, if cost is not a major factor, you might consider other properties of oak versus pine to decide which is best for you.
When the wood is unfinished or has a natural finish, pine is usually lighter in color than oak, although there are occasions when certain oaks or species have very pale wood.
However, the natural color of oak and pine will rarely affect your choice of which material to choose for your furniture, as both woods can be altered in appearance. Different finishes can make the furniture lighter or darker so you can get the look you want.
Can oak and pine be painted?
Yes, both oak and pine furniture can be painted. It is true that painted oak furniture is not uncommon, but pine actually lends itself better to painting. This may be another great reason to choose pine for children's furniture: it can be redecorated years later if it starts to get tired or if your child wants a new design in their room.
Pine is usually much lighter than oak due to the density of the wood. Oak, as a hardwood, takes longer to grow and is much denser. This means it is also much heavier, which affects durability and hardness.
Which one is better?
There is no right answer. If you are looking for very durable solid wood furniture, and cost is not an issue, oak will be the best choice. If you are looking for less expensive solid wood furniture that will last long enough, but you don't mind replacing it eventually, then pine is perfect. If you are decorating a child's bedroom, for example, or are looking for a less expensive option for your living room.
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