is oak wood expensive

Is Oak Wood Expensive? How Much Does it Cost and Why?

Oak furniture is beautiful and very expensive. From lovely oak cabinets to luxurious bed boards, the price can range from several hundred to thousands of dollars. But have you ever wondered why people pay more for oak? Is oak wood expensive? Let’s find out more about oak wood, its price, and why it’s so costly to buy oak furniture in this guide.

Quick Answer

Oak wood is one of the most expensive hardwoods. The price of oak depends on the quality, source, and the size of wood you wish to buy. Prices are from $1505 to $2500 per cubic meter or around $43 to $70 per cubic foot. This price excludes VAT. When you want kiln-dried oak wood, you may need to add about 10% of the value.

As you can see, oak is very expensive, but the value you get from this fantastic wood is many times more. Plus, because of the high quality of oak furniture, you can use, re-use, and resell these to make a profit.

Why is Oak Wood Expensive?

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Oak wood is one of the most common and most valuable wood species used in furniture, flooring, decking, decorative items, cabinetry, and other wooden projects. Although there are forests of oak trees available, this wood still remains as one of the most valuable woods. The following are reasons why.

Oak is Expensive Depending on the Cut of Wood

Oak wood is expensive, and the way a piece is cut will also affect its value. There are many kinds of cuts for lumber, but the most intricate one is quarter-sawn lumber. Quartersawn wood is lumber where its annular growth rigs will intersect the face board at 60 to 90 degrees. Every log is cut at a radial angle in a sawmill to make four quarters.

You will get quarter-sawn oak wood through these steps, and this is one of the top reasons why oak is very expensive. Also, you will get only a few pieces of lumber with a quarter-sawn cut with a lot of excesses. Meanwhile, the most affordable cut is a flatsawn cut. It is the most common and least desirable.

Oak Makes Very Durable and High-value Furniture

Oak is one of the most robust materials for building furniture. You can expect oak cabinets, tables, chairs, and beds to last a long time. Also, oak is very resistant to moisture, mold, fungus, and burrowing insects, and thus, you can rely on the strength and durability of oak furniture for many years to come.

Oak is very beautiful with its light color, prominent grains, and lovely appearance. Oak furniture makes rooms brighter and happier. Therefore, it’s more valuable and more expensive to use oak furniture and cabinets.

There is a High Demand for Oak Wood

Oak wood’s unique properties make it the best choice among furniture makers, woodworkers, and home builders. This high demand has catapulted the price of oak wood in the market! So expect to find high-value oak wood to be very expensive. You may even have to preorder this kind of wood because this won’t be readily available from a lumberyard or from a local supplier.

Low to moderate quality oak may still be expensive but not as costly as other building materials. Low-grade oak wood is for building flooring, decks, and other home fixtures. These may be readily available from a local supplier or lumberyard.

It Takes a Long Time to Grow Oak Trees

Oak trees take too long to mature and become ready for felling. An oak tree may take 40 to 55 years to produce acorns. During this time, the oak tree stops growing and is ready for cutting. This growth rate is one of the slowest.

Because of the increase in demand for oak wood, suppliers often end up cutting so many oak trees. And because of the long time it takes for oak trees to be ready for cutting, it becomes very hard to keep up with the high demand!

In many countries, oak trees are protected to ensure responsible harvesting of oak lumber. This is because most oak trees are harvested indiscriminately; people cut them before they reach their mature age. The trees still have many years before they can attain their best size and form!

There is a High Preference forOak

Oak is beautiful, durable, resistant to pests and moisture, and is very strong. These qualities are what people are looking for in building materials. They want oak furniture such as beds, chairs, tables, cabinets, and shelves. They want oak wooden fixtures or oak décor, and because of this high demand, the price of oak has increased dramatically.

It’s Hard to Cut Oak Lumber

You need to cut oak to use it to make wooden furniture, and this is one of the most common challenges you need to overcome to use oak. This hardwood can quickly blunt the tips and edges of blades, which means you need to replace these tips and blades more often than other materials.

Another thing about cutting oak lumber is that its edges tend to splinter quickly. All these cutting concerns have made oak more challenging to cut and more expensive in the market.

Oak Wood is One of the Most Beautiful Woods

Beauty comes with a price, which is why oak wood is beautiful as it is expensive. When oak lumber has been transformed into furniture and cabinets, its value increases. The price of oak furniture considers not just the cost of wood but also all the effort that artisans have used to build the piece of furniture.

Also, expect top furniture brands to be more expensive than others. Collectible and antique oak furniture has the highest value and is available in high-end shops and auctions.

A Background on Oak Wood

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Oak is one of the most popular wood in many countries, including the UK and the US. It is used in construction and for building internal fixtures in shops, gyms, clubs, and much more. In building furniture, oak has been one of the top choices since 2000, when countries like Indonesia, India, and China expanded their export of oak wood.

Oak trees come with flowers or catkins produced by the tree when these are near their reproductive phase. This is usually when they hit 20 years old. The catkins become acorns, and these fall to the ground to grow more oak trees.

To further understand the many qualities and uses of oak wood, you need a closer look at its background. The following information relates to oak wood.


Oak wood is hardwood from the oak tree. This tree is endemic to the northern hemisphere, with more than 600 species available. North America has the most oak species of up to 90 species.

Oak trees can be deciduous trees or evergreen trees. Deciduous trees lose their leaves during autumn, while evergreen trees keep their leaves throughout the year.


Oak wood has a very light shade, but this color varies from one tree to another. Some trees may have varying colors from bark to bark. You’ll notice that the grain is very smooth, and the patterns vary. You’ll find parallel lines, swirls, and other designs that look great when applying a thin coat of finish or stain.


The grain is very straight with an uneven texture. Oak has a tight texture making it very resistant to moisture, fungal attack, and pests. 


Oak is a dense tree. There are many varieties of oak with different densities. Red oak has 48.7 pounds per cubic foot, while American white oak has 56.2 pounds per cubic foot.

Moisture Movement

Oak is resistant to moisture, and thus, it won’t be affected by fungal attacks, burrowing insects, and mold.  These properties make oak a good tree for making outdoor furniture and other external home structures.

Treatability and the Effect of Natural Elements

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There are many ways to treat and finish oak wood, but there are basic techniques that a good woodworker or hobbyist must never forget.

Keep water and moisture away from your project. Although oak resists moisture, water exposure can result in “blackening,” and this is due to the high amounts of tannin in oak.

Oak is resistant to the elements, but being exposed to the sun for a long time can lead to a silvery shade on the furniture surface. Thus, do not place your oak furniture near a window where natural light comes in.

When using clear stains or finishes, you will still see some color changes on the wood. Consider that these products only bring out oak’s natural colors, making the surface warmer or darker.

Outdoor oak furniture can change color dramatically. Oak decking, for instance, can turn from light to dark gray because of rain, sun, and wind. This can happen very quickly or over many years.

Preventing Color Changes in Oak Wood

What do you do to keep oak wood from changing color? To prevent blackening, silvering, and other color changes, you must apply a coat of wood preservatives and two coats of a UV protection product.

One such product is Osmo extra, a UV-resistant product with biocide content that’s perfect for outdoor oak furniture. Osmo extra can keep oak wood in great shape by preventing moisture, rotting (dry or wet rot), and conditions like bluestone. It keeps water out and keeps wood from blackening. This particular oil is available in many hardware stores and hobby stores.

You can remove blackening by scrubbing the surface with a fungicidal soap or cleaner. To remove silvering, clean with a cleaner with oxalic acid, which revives the actual color of oak.

When it comes to interior oak furniture, most people prefer to keep oak’s lovely light color. Thus, a clear coat of finish can help keep oak from turning darker. Make sure you’re using the right product by first applying it to a hidden area before applying it all over your furniture.

To retain the natural color of oak, use natural wood oils or clear wax polish. Before applying oil, sand the surface first using 150 grit sandpaper. This will remove any dirt and debris on the surface and open the pores to allow the oil to penetrate the wood surface. Sanding improves absorption for better wood protection.

Are There Disadvantages of Using Oak Wood?

Color changes are the most common disadvantage of oak wood. Changes like blackening and silvering can dramatically change the overall appearance of oak furniture, and this may also affect its value.

Applying a small amount of food-safe mineral oil can help preserve the beauty and the luster of rich oak. Doing so will also keep the value of your oak furniture.

How Sustainable is this Type of Hardwood?

Oak is a common tree and is mainly cultivated for harvesting to use as a building material, furniture, and wood projects. Oak is a sustainable hardwood if there is responsible growing and cutting in place.

How to Care for Oak Furniture

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Caring for your oak furniture helps extend its life. Whether you have indoor or outdoor oak furniture, consider the following essential care tips:

Look for Furniture Maintenance Guides When You Shop

New furniture, regardless of material, should come with some maintenance instructions. Different furniture pieces come with varying guides as these have been treated very differently than others.

But what if there are no maintenance instructions available? Ask the shop owner for general care instructions. You may also look this up online. Whatever happens, do not clean or apply any finish or stains until you have a list of instructions with you.

Take Time to Air Out Your New Oak Furniture

As soon as your furniture is home, place this in a room with open windows and doors. This will air out any strong odors which are from oils, stains, or finishes that were used on wood. For oak cabinets, open the doors or drawers.

If the smell is overwhelming, use an air purifier. Place a small bowl of baking soda or activated charcoal near the furniture. You may also place some inside the cabinet. This will help remove odor from your furniture.

Keep Away from Direct Sunlight

Avoid placing oak furniture near a window or door with direct sunlight. This can fade oak’s natural light color. Also, direct sunlight and heat can dry the wood excessively, and this will affect the oak’s strength.

For outdoor oak furniture, apply a natural oil to the furniture surface. Do this regularly to keep the wood from changing color and protect it from damage, moisture, and pests.

Move Your Oak Furniture Carefully

Use sliders or furniture rollers to move oak furniture. Always lift and push the furniture to avoid scratches and marks. Carefully handle oak furniture to preserve the strength of its joints. And in case oak joints become undone, you can always fix these with some wood glue, clamp, and fasteners.

Clean Any Spills Immediately

Clean spills and any water spill immediately. Oak is porous so that it can soak up water. When this happens, oak wood can stain and can damage the finish. Use a dry cloth or a piece of paper towel to wipe off spills.

How to Stain Untreated Oak

If you have untreated oak tables, chairs, or cabinets, sand the surface lightly. Doing so will make the surface smoother and open up the pores so wood finish or stain can penetrate easily. After sanding, vacuum the area to remove all the sawdust. Apply the wood stain with a cloth or brush and let this rest before you add another coat.

Use oil-based products as these can deeply-penetrate wood and will provide permanent coverage. Water-based products are easy on the environment plus easy to clean in case of a spill or mess. There are also one-step finish and wood stain products.

How to Strip Very Stained Oak Furniture

Strip oak furniture that has severe damage or dirt. You can also strip oak furniture if you want to change the look of your furniture. If the surface has varnish, use a varnish remover or stripper. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Like a wood stain, test a small amount of varnish on a hidden area before you apply this all over the furniture. Use gloves to keep your hands safe from the varnish stripper. After removing all the varnish, sand the surface well and apply a new coat of varnish.

How to Seal Oak Furniture

It would help if you sealed oak furniture to prevent it from absorbing moisture. This is important whether you have indoor or outdoor oak furniture. Apply oak stain first, and afterward, apply a coat of finish. Many wood finishes are available, but the best kind is polyurethane as water-based polyurethane and natural oil finish.

Sand the surface first and remove all the dust before applying your finish. Dry the finish and sand it again. Remove all the sawdust and apply another coat of finish. You can stop when you’ve achieved the shine you want on your furniture.

How to Clean Oak Furniture

Use only a clean damp washcloth to clean oak furniture. Use a soft cloth to remove moisture. Buff the area till all moisture spots has disappeared. For unsealed wood furniture, apply natural wood oil and afterward, apply polish.

When cleaning oak furniture, use a soft cloth and wear gloves as you clean it. Do not use dishwashing soap, detergents, and bleach to clean oak. These can damage the furniture’s surface and can remove the protective layer of oil on the surface. Also, household cleaners can build residue over the surface of oak wood, so never use these.

How to Moisturize Oak Furniture

Apply furniture oil, polish, or wax on the surface of oak furniture. Apply any of these at least once a month to keep the surface from cracking. If there are visible cracks, apply oil at least once a week. If the surface looks dry, use furniture oil more frequently.

If you live in an arid area, keep your oak furniture tip-top shape by applying wax or oil. In very dry environments, the dryness levels inside the wood may soon become similar to the dryness of your area in just a few months. This cannot be repaired by applying coats of oil on the surface. So, avoid these by placing your furniture in a room with good humidity and avoiding direct sunlight.

How to Protect Your Oak Furniture Finish

Avoid exposing oak furniture to very strong chemicals and cleaning agents. Almost all modern oak furniture can be easily cleaned using a damp cloth or a towel. For antique oak furniture, try a cleaning product on a hidden area first before using it all over.

Keep hot items and very cold things on top of oak furniture. Use mats or trivets when serving hot or cold food.

How to Repair Furniture Dents, Marks, and Scratches

Dents, scratches, and marks are unavoidable, especially on dining tables and chairs. To correct these issues, use furniture putties or markers. These can fix minor scratches and chips and are readily available in a local hardware store.

There are different types of wood putties. Some stay soft while some harden over time. Make sure to follow instructions on how to use them on oak furniture. Always use putties and markers that have a similar color as your oak furniture piece.

You may use furniture oil once the scratch or dent has been fixed. Remember that oil or finish may darken oak wood so go for a lighter shade. Again, try a finish or oil on a hidden spot on your furniture before applying it to the repaired area.

Final Words

All these techniques help preserve the overall appearance and value of your oak furniture. Oak is expensive, especially fine oak furniture, and with careful maintenance, you can make new oak or old oak furniture last a long time. Also, learning about the different characteristics of oak wood can help you care for your furniture better or use oak in your various woodworking projects. 



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