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Home / Common Questions / Bleached Red Oak Floors: Why You Shouldn’t Bleach Your Red Oaks

Bleached Red Oak Floors: Why You Shouldn’t Bleach Your Red Oaks

Red oak flooring - Bleach or Not - Twenty And Oak

Source: Vova Shevchuk/

As a strikingly gorgeous, long-lasting flooring option full of natural beauty and timeless character, hardwood flooring represents one of the most-desired home features in the market and will even increase a home’s resale value. With genuine hardwood, you will also have the ability to stain the wood a different color if your tastes change over the years! However, it’s important not to harm the integrity of your hardwood, limiting how often you re-sand, re-finish, and re-stain them. 

In the specific case of bleaching red oak floors, many flooring retailers and contractors are faced with this topic from experienced and inexperienced DIY enthusiasts alike. This highly sensitive procedure can produce successful results, but can often end up with unintended results and negative consequences. If you are considering attempting to remove the pink-hued oak undertones, take a moment to review our reasons why you shouldn’t bleach your red oaks and the alternative options available at Twenty & Oak: 

Drawbacks to Bleaching Red Oak

For many homeowners, red oak floors can showcase more pink-hued undertones once the finished floors are installed and the amount of natural light that comes into the room can be accurately assessed. This unintended visual is one of the biggest reasons why the idea of bleaching red oak flooring comes up and unless executed painstakingly, the results can completely compromise the entire floor. Even when hiring professional flooring contractors to stain unfinished red oak hardwood floors, the final product is not guaranteed. The process of bleaching wood always inherently runs the risk of harming the integrity of the actual wood fibers. It’s always tremendously easier to stain a white oak darker than it is to remove the red oak hue. 

If you have an active home, it’s also always easier to install prefinished wood flooring that is already sanded and stained. Not only will the sanding and bleaching displace rooms for even longer than the already timely installation process, but it’s also a greater hassle, mess, and distraction for those working at home and for kids who are learning virtually from home. In addition to staying out of the room or rooms in question, you will need to keep dust and particles created by the process contained by strapping up plastic sheeting across air vents, doorways, and anywhere else the particles can escape into. For the average active household, all of these factors can be asking a lot.

Another consideration is the fact that your red oak floors might not be an appropriate candidate for the bleaching process: The sanding and refinishing involved is not advised for hardwood flooring varieties with thinner wear layers. Although it’s possible to find engineered hardwood flooring thick enough to qualify, such as the Veranda Charleston flooring collection that offers a 4mm thick face, many engineered hardwood floors feature thinner wear layers for which the process is not recommended at all. Solid hardwood flooring is always the best candidate for staining and refinishing without wearing down the top layer. 

Herringbone Grey Wood Floor - Twenty And Oak

Source: By timltv/

White Oak Flooring Options

If you are still in your flooring purchase journey and are considering red oak floors with the intention to bleach them down the line, we highly recommend also exploring the difference between red oak vs white oak flooring options. Also look at a variety of different stain options. To avoid the imprecise results that can occur from the bleaching process and avoid ever seeing subtle pastel undertones, consider installing white oak flooring from the beginning!  Here are a few of the widely popular white oak hardwood varieties available through Twenty & Oak that are worth your consideration:

  • The Appalachian white oak floor Somerset Classic Character – With an eye-catching modern rustic look, this alternative features eased edges and is offered in four attractive stain options. This engineered hardwood flooring offers a 5-inch width white oak strip, and with a 3mm wear layer, it’s able to withstand at least one refinishing if a design refresh is desired over the years. A solid wood version is also offered in the same color options for greater refinishing capability down the line. 

  • Crevasse white oak Raintree Aspen Estates –This shade offers a brighter flooring foundation, providing the desired result of a bleached red oak from the start! Plus, Raintree flooring offers revolutionary waterproof hardwood floors ideal for high-traffic, moisture-prone areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and more.  

  • Engineered white oak flooring Hearthwood Au Naturelle – This collection is  perfect for capturing a lighter-colored, airy floor, these ethereal shades such as Porcelain and Sunwashed give your favorite rooms a bleached red oak floor look without the hassle. Completed with a sheer stain, this neutral-toned wood floor also features subtle wire-brushed texture perfect for minimalist Scandinavian or contemporary flair.

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Exploring Different Hardwood Finish Options 

Ultimately, if you are just not satisfied with your red oak planks, you can explore the wide range of beautiful prefinished hardwood options that we carry. For red oak floors that are already installed in your home, your next best option may be to choose another hardwood finish that you will more accurately be able to predict the results. By refinishing and going darker, you can keep your existing red oak floors but remove the undesired reddish hue. Consider applying a gorgeous darker stain, such as ebony, walnut, or chestnut. While sanding will still create a mess in the home, this option eliminates the harmful bleaching process and keeps the woodgrain healthy and intact. If needed, be sure to take our Floor Genius Quiz to find your perfect replacement and check out our virtual flooring showroom to see some of our most popular collections. You can even order a few stylish white oak samples to see how they look in person and the desired area of your home: 

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White Oak Flooring - Family Room Flooring - Twenty And Oak

Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts 
Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast. 

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