Red Oak or White Oak Hardwood Flooring

Red Oak or White Oak?If you’re considering new hardwood floors in your home, chances are good that you’ve looked at oak flooring. After all, it’s been a leading species for wood flooring for centuries. However, with red oak and white oak both being popular options today, you may need a bit more information to make the best choice for your home and lifestyle.

Overall Appearance

Whether you’re planning on staining your hardwood flooring or opting for a more natural finish, the wood grain will show. One of the biggest differences in various wood species is the grain pattern. Red oak has a wider grain pattern compared to white oak. White oak’s grain pattern isn’t as prominent, especially with darker stain. The other difference in red oak and white oak is the actual color of the wood itself, if you’re choosing a natural finish. Red oak, as its name implies, has more red undertones than white.


One of the reasons people choose hardwood flooring is because it lasts for decades or longer. Although white oak is harder on the Janka scale (1360), it’s not a significantly harder wood than red oak, which is rated at 1290. It is easer to scratch and dent a red oak floor than white oak, but few homeowners would notice the difference in one or the other.


If you want to achieve a specific look for your floors, white oak flooring may be a better choice. White oak takes stain more evenly because of its finer grain. This matters more with lighter stain colors than dark. Dark stain on red oak floors will emphasize the wider grain pattern. If this is important to you, red oak may be a better choice for you. However, if you prefer a natural finish, either species will give you a distinctive look but with a different tone in the wood.


If your budget will factor heavily into your flooring decision, you may find it feasible to go with either red oak or white oak as there isn’t a significant difference in pricing between each when considering a similar quality and size. Oak is a tree native to the U.S., so most oak flooring comes from trees harvested here and is milled in the U.S. This means there aren’t tariffs to consider on one or the other, and there are no extreme shipping costs from overseas. This also makes both species relatively environmentally friendly products.

If you’re still not sure what species of wood you want for your new hardwood flooring, call Seer Flooring. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about any wood species so you can make the best choice for your home. Our estimates are always free, so call us today at (727) 469-7963.