Red Oak vs. White Oak

White Oak (unfinished solid)

White Oak (unfinished solid)

Red Oak (unfinished solid)

Red Oak (unfinished solid)

One of the most common and popular species of hardwood flooring is oak. Oak is known for its versatility, durability, and distinctive swirling and wavy grain. But be sure to educate your customers about the differences in Red Oak and White Oak; many do not realize there are two different species of oak available.

The most obvious difference between these species is in the color of the wood. Red oak has a pinkish tint, while white oak tends to be a bit warmer, with golden-brown tones. It is not, as might be interpreted by name alone, “white.” In fact white oak tends to be slightly darker in color than red oak.

Red oak tends to have a more distinctive grain than white oak, which is smoother. As a result red oak can be seen as having more character and is perceived as more traditional, while white oak has a more modern and contemporary look.

White oak flooring is harder than red oak, rating 1360 on the Janka hardness scale while red oak is just 1290. White oak has been used for centuries in the building of boats, wagon wheels, and wine barrels because of its structural integrity and imperviousness to water.

While red oak is not as hard, it does not tend to show dents and scratches as badly as white oak because of its more “wild” grain patterns. Still, it is best for indoor applications; outdoor applications will be better served by white oak, which is harder, denser, and less porous.

Macon Hardwood carries many styles of both red and white oak, both solid and engineered, as well as finished and prefinished.