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Red Oak Hardwood Floors vs. White Oak Hardwood

You’ve spent a lot of time and research choosing a type of flooring, and after investigating carpet, tile and vinyl planks, you’ve decided on Oak wood floors. YES! You made a great decision – the hard part is over.

There’s just one more choice…. Red Oak or White Oak when it comes to your hardwood floors?

Don’t stress – rest assured, our hardwood flooring experts have broken down the main differences for you. Generally, both are great, but there are some subtle differences between the two, so we want to make sure you choose the hardwood that is right for you and your home

Hardness Rating

First, understanding the hardness factor of wood is important when selecting flooring. Wood flooring’s durability is rated with the Janka hardness test, which involves ball bearings being pressed into the wood. The resulting Janka number is a measurement of how much force it takes the steel ball to push through the plank. For example, Brazilian Walnut is extremely hard at 3680, while American Cherry Wood is considered to be on the soft end of the spectrum at 950.

Red Oak

Red Oak’s Janka score is 1250, which means it sits in the middle of the spectrum. This is a good choice for the main areas of your house that will receive some wear and tear, such as the living room and kitchen.

You may be a little surprised to find out that Red Oak is not actually the color red – but it does have warmer or more golden tones than White Oak. The grain is typically more unique-looking than that of White Oak, and it is a more traditional choice.

Also good to know, some people choose to only apply a polyurethane coating to Red Oak wood to let its unique beauty stand on its own; others choose to stain it – it all depends on your personal preference in the look of the floor. 

White Oak

White Oak flooring is slightly harder (and oddly enough, darker) than Red Oak with a Janka rating of about 1360. This type of wood is great for boats or other areas where the conditions might not be stable over time (think wind and rain).

If you’re flooring the living room of your house, whether or not the wood can withstand the elements won’t be the deciding factor for you, but if you have small children or pets who are rough on the floor, you might want to go with something more durable.

If you intend to stain the floor, note that White Oak is easier to stain than Red Oak because it is a harder wood.

Ready to Install Your Beautiful New Hardwood Floors? 

When it comes down to deciding between the two of these great hardwood selections, you really can’t go wrong with either type of Oak. You’ll basically choose between if you need the extra durability of the White Oak or if aesthetics are more important to you – maybe you were hoping for a warmer toned Red?

Once you’ve made your choice, head over to The Hardwood Giant to pick out your new floor, or if you still want assistance in deciding, talk to one of our hardwood flooring experts – request a free consultation online, or call (704) 251-7279 today!