Oak is a very popular wood flooring type because of its durability, affordability and flexibility. There are two main types of oak: white oak and red oak. While white oak and red oak floors share a lot of the same great features, they do have a few differences that are important to clarify to ensure that you make the best flooring choice for your home.
Below we will dive into some of our favorite oak flooring features and the differences you should expect between white oak floors and red oak floors.
While both white and red oak are considered to be very strong and durable, white oak flooring is actually a bit harder than red oak. The Janka hardness scale (an industry standard of measurement) measures white oak at 1360, while red oak only comes in a 1290.
If you had your heart set on red oak however, don’t let this discourage you. Both flooring options are still extremely hard and durable. In fact, although red oak floors are a little less hard, their coloring tends to hide dents, knicks and scratches better than their white oak counterpart.
As you might have guessed from their names, one of the largest differences between red oak and white oak is their coloring. Red oak has a pink or red undertone to it, while white oak has brown and yellow undertones to it that give the floor an overall darker look.
While in their natural state the difference in color is pretty visible, if you decide to stain your floors, the differences in coloring becomes less noticeable. This becomes especially important when you go to replace a section of your oak flooring and want it to match, as you will need to take special care to look for the natural undertones shining through the stain. For example, although you may have stained your red oak floors, they will still have a reddish undertone. So when you go to replace or match your flooring, pay special attention that you’re choosing the correct replacement variation.
One of the other larger differences between red oak and white oak flooring is the graining. Red oak tends to have a pretty heavy grain, while white oak has a smoother look. Because of the graining, red oak tends to lend itself to more rustic homes, while white oak fits better in contemporary and modern homes. Of course both flooring styles are versatile and with staining they will can fit well in any style of home.
There are quite a few differences between red oak and white oak floors, but they both share a lot of the same quality features that make oak floors such a popular flooring choice. When selecting between red and white oak, it really comes down to your personal style preferences. If you have any questions however, our flooring experts are available for any questions you may have!