What are the Pros and Cons of an Oak Hearth?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 January 2019
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There are several advantages to an oak hearth as well as potential drawbacks, although they depend mostly on individual tastes and design preferences. Some of the main benefits include the fact that they are less expensive than some other varieties, they coordinate well with many home décor options, and they generally require very little maintenance or repair once they are constructed. Potential downsides are that they do not work as well with contemporary or extremely modern décor, there are fewer style options available with wood fireplaces, and they are more expensive than other woods.

The benefits of using an oak hearth are numerous for those who want a simple, elegant, and traditional décor option. They are generally easily constructed in comparison to tile, stone, or brick and can be stained or painted any color of the homeowner’s choosing. Once they are constructed, oak hearths generally only require occasional cleaning with a damp cloth or dusting solution. If painted, a retouch may be needed every now and then to maintain its appearance.


Due to the simple design, an oak hearth is a good option for a variety of home décor themes. Most traditional and some contemporary designs are easily accented by a wood fireplace. They can be made casual or elegant, depending on the stain and any carved or decorative details that are added. Oak fireplaces are also easier to construct than those made from many small components, such as stone or tile. This may mean a cheaper and less involved construction process.

Drawbacks of choosing an oak hearth will depend on stylistic preferences. While they do coordinate with most décor, some very contemporary or modern homes may be better suited for another material that allows more unique styling options. Glass, marble, tile, or stone are all common contemporary options.

In traditional homes, an oak hearth may not be the best option for those who want a less expensive wood. Oak hardwoods are a high quality option, and many cannot afford to use it or simply do not want to spend the extra money. Others may want a more rustic looking wood, such as pine.

Those who wish to be environmentally friendly may opt against an oak hearth in order to preserve natural resources. Other materials may have less of an environmental impact, especially those made from quickly renewable resources. Oak takes many years to grow and mature, meaning that it is limited in its production. Glass, ceramic, and sometimes bamboo are all potential substitutes for an oak hearth.



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