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Home / Common Questions / Red Oak vs. White Oak Flooring - 5 Key Differences

Red Oak vs. White Oak Flooring - 5 Key Differences

Restoring hardwood floor 

Oak flooring is one of the most popular types of hardwood floors. A versatile and practical option for homeowners, oak flooring is both relatively affordable and available in a variety of stain finishes. 

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But when it comes between red oak vs. white oak flooring, how does one choose? In this post, we dive into their main differences so you can make the right choice for your home or remodeling project.   

What Is Red Oak and White Oak Flooring?

Color Plank Solid by Somerset, Natural Red Oak

Color Plank Solid by Somerset, Natural Red Oak

Oak is an abundant hardwood species that grows throughout America, which is one reason it’s so affordable. With a proper finish and professional installation, it can last for many years in your home. Grown in the U.S., it’s also considered environmentally friendly, due to sustainable forestry practices enforced by US forestry management. 

Key Differences and Factors to Keep in Mind

When choosing between red oak and white oak flooring, there are some key features and factors to keep in mind. From graining to water-resistance, discover which works for your home. 

Color Difference

To an untrained eye, the color difference is barely noticeable. But here’s how you can visually tell red oak and white oak flooring apart. 

While red oak has a subtle pink undertone, white oak has a browner and often yellow tint. And when you stain each, the color difference can be noticeable, depending on the stain color selected. The darker the stain, the less you can see the pink or yellow undertones–but with lighter stains, you can still see a red oak’s pinkish hue. 

If you already have oak hardwood floors in your home and need to repair damages or extend it into an adjacent room, it’s best to match the existing white or red oak for color and stain consistency. Otherwise, your flooring will appear inconsistent.  


If you appreciate a strong wood grain pattern, you’re going to love red oak flooring. Red oak has a much stronger graining than white oak, which appears smoother. Overall, the strong graining of red oak also helps hide scratches and dents that may occur, which is perfect for busy households with kids and pets. 

There are two more noticeable differences in red oak vs. white oak graining. Red oak displays longer rays, whereas white oak comes with mineral streaks that offer a more modern design aesthetic. 

Hardness Level

White oak flooring is slightly harder than red oak. The Janka hardness scale lists white oak at 1360 and red oak at 1290. While it may seem like an easy decision in choosing the harder density of white oak, the difference is slight, so red oak may still be a better option for you if the visual is more appealing.

Water Resistance

White oak is offered in several collections in Raintree waterproof hardwood and Hearthwood water resistant collections. These products are specifically manufactured to claim this benefit, so be aware that no hardwood is waterproof or water resistant unless stated as such in the warranty.


Like any natural resource, the price fluctuates on a weekly basis due to multiple factors. However, when it comes to choosing between red oak vs. white oak flooring, there’s not much of a price difference. Red oak may be more affordable one week and white oak the following week due to lumber availability. What it truly comes down to is the flooring brand, wood grade and even the plank width you decide to install. 

Red Oak and White Oak Flooring Options

Aspen Estates by Raintree Flooring Backcountry

Aspen Estates by Raintree Flooring Backcountry

For gorgeous, long-lasting oak floors, Twenty & Oak offers several options in both prefinished red oak and white oak varieties. Use our product search feature to see our full range of oak hardwood floors

Somerset hardwood flooring offers both red and white oak products across several collections, in many stain colors. 

Hearthwood offers several white oak collections that are water-resistant and made in the USA

Aspen Estates white oak flooring comes from the revolutionary Raintree Flooring waterproof hardwood collection and offers authentic wood characteristics, color dimension and is available in warm and cool tones. 

Find your perfect floor by checking out our virtual flooring showroom.

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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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