Red Oak VS. White Oak Flooring

May 8, 2022
 |  By: 
Improvix Hardwood Flooring

Many people instantly think of oak when considering a hardwood floor, which can be both red and white oak.

Oak flooring is a form of flooring noted for its toughness and comfort. It also comes in various distinctive styles, making it a good fit for most home décor demands. Above all, oak flooring is easy to maintain and beautiful to look at. The two oak flooring varieties are white oak flooring and red oak flooring.

While most people would immediately select White Oak while choosing between red oak and white oak flooring, it may also be worth your time to look into Red Oak, which is typically a cheaper and more appealing alternative.

Red oak and white oak are two of the most popular flooring choices among oak wood, both for broad plank floors and wood shavings.

Deciding between red oak and white oak comes down to your preference for which variety of hardwood has the hue and pattern that appeals to you the best.

Red oak

The color varies from light brown to deep pink- or red-brown. It is one of the most significant species in American hardwood woods. It is one of the most well-known hardwood species available for various reasons. It is found throughout eastern and central North America, predominantly in western new york as well as southeast and south-central Canada.

In Western Europe, it's commonly found in gardens and parks. It prefers somewhat acidic, well-drained soil and has a rustic and earthy appearance. Even if the graining pattern is a little disorganized, it's still an excellent choice for a natural aesthetic.

Although red oak floors are not as hard as white oak flooring, their hardness makes them highly durable. It passes the Janka hardness test with a wood grade score of 1290.

Red oak flooring has adequate workability to allow you to install your floor while also ensuring its long-term durability correctly. As a result, red oak flooring is a top choice for workability.

Red Oak Applications

Red oak is used to make outdoor furniture, doors, ornamental carpentry, moldings, veneers, and cabinets. Agricultural equipment, posts, and railway ties are made of this wood, which is also utilized for industrial purposes. One of the top production is red oak planks for varied purposes.

The high heat value of southern red oak wood makes it an excellent fuel source. Tannin is produced by this and is used to cure and preserve leather and provide watershed protection.

White oak

White oak is a homegrown solid hardwood of the oak species cultivated in the United States. The trees are found primarily on the east coast of the United States, from northern Florida to southern Canada.

Even though they are called white oak, their bark is gray, and the leaves are fashioned like oak leaves and have a yellowish hue beneath them. Solid hardwood floors are an excellent complement to classic and modern homes, aside from their usefulness.

It is, however, relatively balanced in color and accepts a broad range of stains, allowing householders and designers to personalize the look to fit their vision, whether light or dark wood floors are desired.

However, because the kind and quality of finish determine the wood's resistance to scratching, hardwood floors made of this oak are not prone to scratching.

Please note that white oak flooring is more durable and resistant to dents than red oak.

White Oak Applications

White oak is favored for furniture (particularly church furniture), kitchen cabinets, millwork, and caskets. It is also popular among hardwood flooring experts for designing a white oak floor. It's also a thick, sturdy wood, making it a popular choice for industrial uses like railroad ties, mine timbers, pallets, blocks, industrial, agricultural, truck flooring, etc.

It's also employed when lumber is vital because it's a naturally durable wood. Wagon wheels and bottom logs on cottages were once typical applications, but rainwater splash and eventual deterioration caused issues.

The difference between red oak vs. white oak flooring options


Red oak hardwood floors have stain colors of a pinkish undertone, while white oak floors have a stain color of brown or yellow coloration. When you stain the flooring, the color difference becomes more apparent with a dark lacquer or light shade.

However, when a dark or darker stain is introduced, the color difference becomes less noticeable. Any paint that is deeper than medium brown blends the two floors.

Graining Pattern

The arrangement pattern is referred to as the grain pattern. The way the wood grains are arranged in red oak and white oak and whether they are uniform grains or not has an impact on the wood's qualities. This is the most apparent difference between red oak vs. white oak floors.

Red oak grains are broader and zigzag or wavy in appearance. It has a variety of grains that seem like swirls. On the other hand, White oak grains appear to be straighter, more densely packed, and more consistent.

Compatibility With Other Woods

It's worth noting that Red Oak is far more commonly used for surfaces like oak stair treads and railings and in unfinished hardwood flooring. Therefore, if you're looking for matching hardwood or modifying existing wood, Red Oak is the way to go.

Strength and Durability

The hardness of the flooring will determine its stability and density. Red oak has a Janka hardness scale of 1290, whereas white oak flooring has a Janka hardness scale of 1360.

White oak flooring is more resistant to wear than that red oak flooring because it is more challenging. This is why it's an excellent choice for spaces with a lot of foot activity. In addition, if you have children or pets, white oak flooring is recommended since it is more resistant to scratches, spills, and dents, as red oak is slightly softer.


White Oak is commonly used for boat building because it is a closed-grain wood that is more resistant to water damage. However, you may install red oak hardwood flooring confidently in regions where water perforate will not be a concern.

Although no red and white oak hardwood floor types are completely water-resistant or rot-resistant and will certainly deteriorate with time, especially during cold winters.

Cost of Expenses

The flooring cost varies based on the width and grade and sometimes on existing flooring. White oak costs more than red oak. Because Red Oak trees are more plentiful, the price of Red Oak can be more reasonable. Thus it is the choice of most flooring professionals.

Appealing Quotient

White oak flooring offers a more excellent look than red oak due to its graining pattern and mineral streaks. White oak flooring is the way to go if you want a more modern aesthetic and sophisticated interior design.

Red oak vs. White oak Finishing Polish

Red oak is a porous wood that absorbs stain evenly and does not smear or clump. Whereas the white oak being tightly grained makes it challenging to stain uniformly.

Northern Red Oak has a highly consistent "Wheat hue" and will stain evenly with slight color variance. Color variation is substantially greater in southern and Appalachian red than in northern red oaks.

White oak can be light brown, dark brown, or even dark yellow in hue. Most White Oaks applications are less concerned with color differences than Red Oaks applications since the whiskey barrel, and cargo-truck flooring applications do not find color variance an issue but the lumber availability.


Can both red and white oak be mixed?

 The main difference between white and red oak is that white oak is browner and darker, whereas red oak has stronger red tones. Staining both species to the same color won't fix the problem. To soften the red oak hue and make it lighter, stain the white wood with a blend of natural.

What is the possibility of white oak turning yellow?

The color of your white oakwood floor will fade over time if it is exposed to direct sunlight. The first several months following installation are the most typical time for this. Oak's color changes as it is exposed to UV rays and oxygen, causing it to darken or take on a "yellow tint," as some call it.

What sort of bleach should I use on red oak?

The redness may be removed with oxalic acid or ordinary bleach, bringing it closer to lighter stains or white oak. Before applying a finish, make careful to wash the coat with water.


There are many more benefits of white oak in the red or white oak debate regarding strong graining and chemical identification test that distinguishes between the same type among the oaks. The final decision is yours, but before you invest in hardwood flooring, think about your options and choose the type that will work best in your house and provide you with a beautiful floor for years with a modern design aesthetic. I hope the article helps you in choosing between red and white oak.

Looking for professional help?

Whether fixing floor cleaner residue or dust mop process, it is hard to do everything alone when unaware of the process. If you are looking for professional help in your area that might help you fix the problem, then call Hardwood Flooring Chicago on the number (773) 345-9719. We are the best company For Hardwood Floor Refinishing & Installation. Contact us to know more about offers and deals.

Improvix  Hardwood Flooring

3745 W Montrose Ave Unit 1 Chicago IL 60618 

(773) 345-9719