Red Oak vs White Oak Flooring

What you need to know when choosing between Red Oak and White Oak hardwood flooring

While Oak is the most popular species of hardwood flooring, there are many species and sub species of Oak in the world. As far as Hardwood Flooring is concerned, however, there are only two: Red Oak and White Oak.

Red Oak Flooring
Red Oak Flooring

Red Oak Flooring

Red Oak is the most popular flooring choice available today and has been for decades. Red Oak flooring is hard and durable with a prominent grain and a pinkish tan hue, mellowing to gold over time. Red Oak is the standard by which all other flooring options are judged. It is still used extensively for furniture and other applications, but the variety and value of Red Oak make it perfect for any design application. A water-based finish will keep your Red Oak floor brighter longer, while an oil-based finish will deepen the color slightly and enhance the grain.

  1. Red Oak is not quite as hard as White Oak: 1280 vs 1360 on the Janka Hardness Scale – but, is till plenty hard for flooring.
  2. Red Oak Flooring is overall lighter in color than White Oak, with a pinkish hue that oxidizes to a gold/tan color.  Deeper with an oil-based finish then a water-based finish.
  3. Red Oak is stable and if kiln-dried and conditioned properly and allowed to acclimate, will tolerate a wide range of climates.
  4. Red Oak takes a stain very well and most stains will accentuate the already prominent grain pattern.
  5. Because the grain of Red Oak is “open” (giving it its prominence) it is not a good option in damp locations.
  6. Red Oak is often less expensive than White Oak because it is more prevalent in nature and grows faster.
  7. Red Oak is available in both Antique Reclaimed and New flooring in 8 grades and grain patterns, assuring there is an option for all your needs.

White Oak Flooring

White Oak Flooring
White Oak Flooring

White Oak took over from Yellow Pine as the wood flooring of choice in the mid-20th century but was quickly surpassed by Red Oak. White Oak Flooring had its zenith of popularity in the late 19th and early 20th century during the Arts & Crafts period where white oak was used for everything from flooring to trim & paneling to furniture. A denser, slightly darker overall wood with a less prominent grain than Red Oak, White Oak is a tan to brown color with no pinks or reds. An oil-based finish will deepen and warm up the white oak’s color and slightly enhance the grain.

  1. White Oak is harder than Red Oak: 1360 vs 1290 on the Janka Hardness Scale – and, is very hard and durable as flooring.
  2. White Oak is overall a darker color than Red Oak and it does not have any pick or red in it, rather a pure tan/beige.  An oil-based finish will warm it up, allowing it to amber over time; while a water-based finish will leave the color alone, allowing more yellows to dominate.
  3. White Oak is stable and if kiln-dried and conditioned properly and allowed to acclimate, will tolerate a wide range of climates in any width.
  4. The grain of White Oak is tighter and slightly less apparent than Red Oak because while Red Oak’s cells are open, White Oak’s are filled with a membrane called Tyloses.  This fills the otherwise open cells, making White Oak watertight (picture wine barrels).  This allows White Oak to tolerate damp areas and why it was used on grade for home construction and for boat building in the old days.  (Even so, White Oak flooring should be kept indoors and dry!!)
  5. The more closed grain of White Oak allows it to take a stain well and particularly White Stains currently popular.  The less prominent grain of White Oak may also be more hidden with heavier stains.
  6. White Oak may be slightly more expensive than Red Oak owing to its lower availability and the higher number of applications for which it’s suitable.
  7. White Oak is available in both Antique Reclaimed and New flooring in over a dozen grades, grain patterns, and even surface textures, as well as in Livesawn grain, assuring there is an option for all your needs.

Visit Countryplank.com for more information on:

Or email info@countryplank.com or call 443-280-1517.

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