Understanding the Differences Between Red and White Oak

comparing red and white oak wood floors

Oak flooring is one of the most popular flooring materials today in Clearwater and most of Florida. Many people considering new hardwood floors know that red and white oak flooring are both a great option. However, they don’t always understand the differences. In fact, as an experienced flooring company, we’re often asked which is the better option. The answer isn’t the same for every homeowner. It just takes a little understanding about the differences in these two popular flooring options.

Color & Graining

When you look at a piece of bare red oak and bare white oak, you’ll notice that color isn’t the only difference. As its name implies, the red oak has a slightly red or pinkish hue, while white oak is darker and browner in appearance. Because most people stain their flooring, the actual color of the bare wood isn’t always important. If you look at both red and white oak flooring side by side, you’ll notice that red oak has tighter grain lines and may even have a speckled appearance. Most white oak has a wider grain pattern.


We talk about the hardness of wood species a lot. The difference in hardness of white oak and red oak isn’t drastic. White oak is slightly harder at 1360 with red oak at 1290 on the Janka Hardness scale. That puts them both in the middle of hardwoods. If you have pets, kids, or you’re putting the flooring in a high traffic area, white oak may be a better choice.


Red and white oak flooring finish differently with some stains. For example, if you choose a light stain on a red oak you will see the pinkish hue through the stain. However, if you go with a dark walnut stain on your oak flooring, you won’t see a difference in the color between white and red oak. The grain will still be different, but not the overall color of the wood. If you want a grey, white or other light-colored finish and want the color to be true, you should consider white oak.


Sometimes, the price is the deciding factor for a homeowner installing new wood floors. If that is the case for you, red oak may be the option to consider. Although both types of oak flooring are among the more affordable of all wood flooring options, red tends to be slightly less expensive than white.

Seer Flooring Can Help You Decide

We offer many species of wood flooring from oak to maple, hickory and even reclaimed flooring. If you’re looking for new wood floors for your home, call us today to schedule your free in-home estimate at (727) 469-7963.