Oak is the wood material of choice for many building and decorative applications. However, another new and more favorable type of lumber is getting more attention: rubberwood. Let’s find out about rubberwood vs oak, which is better, stronger, more versatile, and more beautiful in this comparison article.
Oakwood is a part of the beech family. Known as a deciduous tree, oak can grow from 60 to 80 feet in height. This wood is found in the forests of Minnesota to Oklahoma and from New Brunswick, Ontario to Georgia’s southern forests.
Oak is also popular for its acorns, one of the most important food sources for wildlife like squirrels, turkeys, deer, etc. Oak has been used to build all kinds of materials and is even the material of choice in constructing regal buildings and homes. Shipmakers use oak to construct sailing ships up to the 19th century but still, some modern shipmakers rely on oak to make all kinds of water vessels.
Oak identifying features
- This is a heavy hardwood.
- It has a porous but closed grain with easy-to-see rings. These create a coarse texture on wood.
- Some species like white oak comes with a pale to a slightly green cast. Red oak comes with a reddish-brown color.
Oak is used in many industries because of its many favorable characteristics.
- Oak is used to make furniture, cabinets, veneer, interior decors and finishes, and flooring.
- The wood stains easily and all kinds of stains can be used.
- Oak has high amounts of tannin and thus, it’s resistant to fungus and insects. This makes oak a great building material.
- It is very durable; may be bent using steam.
- Oak is tough and thus, nails and wood screws will need pre-drilled holes to attach.
Rubberwood is from rubberwood trees, a part of the maple family. This tree is used to harvest latex and thus is essential in the building industry and the rubber manufacturing industry. Rubberwood trees produce latex for up to 30 years of their life. Afterward, it may be cut down to use as building materials.
Brazil has the largest rubberwood forests but this tree also grows in the tropical forests of South America, Africa, and Asia. Before rubberwood was considered a good building material in the 1980s, it was primarily utilized as firewood after the tree is no longer able to produce latex. Nowadays, producers prefer rubberwood from other expensive trees as it’s equally stronger and more durable.
Rubberwood identifying features
- Comes with a similar coarse appearance as oak wood.
- With symmetrical and straight grains with tighter rings compared to oak wood.
- Rubberwood is cream or white but some appear yellow.
Rubberwood is used in many applications because of its amazing characteristics
- Most rubberwood material is used as components or a part of furniture pieces.
- Rubberwood is also used in flooring and other construction projects.
- Rubberwood is very tough and has timeless strength.
- Like oak, rubberwood is resistant to mold, bacteria, and fungus.
- Rubberwood will shrink minimally which is a very important characteristic for furniture makers and home builders.
- Rubberwood can be stained or painted.
Rubberwood vs oak
Finally, lets pit rubberwood with oak wood and see which one is better under the following conditions:
Both types of wood are aesthetically pleasing but if you prefer a darker type of wood, oak is your choice. Red oak has a lovely reddish-brown color which is perfect for making furniture, decorative items, and interior building materials. Meanwhile, there’s white oak with a lighter hue and more striking wood grain patterns if you don’t like the dark red oak variety.
Meanwhile, rubberwood has a similar coarse appearance but has a lighter white or cream color. Therefore, if you prefer furniture and decorative items with a lighter tone, you should go with rubberwood as your building material.
Ease of use
Rubberwood and oak are both easy to use with no need for special cutting and assembly tools and equipment. But this does not mean that these woods are not as strong as other types. Both retain their strength and durability even when cut and processed into different components. As much as possible, use pre-drilled holes to install nails and wood screws on oak and rubberwood.
However, there are some important considerations when using rubberwood. Cutting young rubberwood trees can greatly affect the blades of your saw as these still have sap in them. Ideally, you must wait until your rubberwood trees are already out of the sap before cutting them and using them as lumber or building materials.
Although oak is an all-around building material because of its durability, toughness, and strength, rubberwood stands out because of its ability to produce latex. This is a type of rubber used in many applications and industries. But as rubberwood trees become older, they stop producing latex and this means that the wood can only be used as a building material.
Oak can be used in almost all applications that need durable and reliable wooden structures. It is useful in making furniture, homes, fences, flooring, kitchenware, decorative items, and more. Meanwhile, rubberwood can only be used as components of furniture and also as flooring and other kinds of home construction projects.
Oak is far more expensive than rubberwood. Red oak is very beautiful, strong, and resilient making it worth every penny. Meanwhile, rubberwood is cheaper than oak as a building material.
When it comes to rubberwood vs oak, rubberwood excels in versatility and ease of use as this is not just a wooden building material but is a precious producer of latex rubber. Both kinds of wood are strong, resilient, and easy to use but rubberwood must be used as building material later in its life as sap causes the wood to expand and to change its shape. Also, sap dulls out cutting and fastening tools. Finally, the cost of rubberwood outweighs some of its disadvantages. Oak is very expensive while rubberwood may just be a fraction of the cost of oak wood materials.