Red Oak: Why It is the Most Popular Hardwood Flooring

March 22, 2021by LV Flooring0

On most home decor websites, it’s impossible to comb through deco inspirations without coming across red oak flooring. This begs the question of why red oak flooring is a popular option for homeowners in Canada.

There’s no doubt about it. Hardwood floors are a sure-fire way to quickly improve the elegance and resale value of your house. Hardwood flooring is a timeless choice that works well for a wide range of design styles.

The best part is there are different hardwood flooring designs for you to choose from. Design choices range from ultra-traditional to contemporary minimalism. However, this abundance of choice can also be a stumbling block.

We see a lot of people who don’t know how to proceed once they decide to install hardwood flooring. It can be difficult for a layperson to understand all of the alternatives. This can range from engineered hardwood to environmentally sustainable options.

That’s why we’re here to assist you in selecting the right flooring for your house. This article will introduce you properly to the features of red oak flooring. This is the most common species of wood used for flooring in Canada. Furthermore, it serves as the benchmark by which all other hardwood floorings undergo evaluation.

The Janka ranking for other hardwood flooring species is typically compared to red oak hardwood flooring. As a result, red oak has become a benchmark and a kind of measuring stick. Keep reading to see why red oak hardwood is the most popular hardwood flooring in Canada.

What is Red Oak Hardwood Flooring?

Red oak is a hardwood tree that grows wild in the United States and Canada. In the Southern and Northern United States, the tree thrives in deciduous forests. It is the most prolific domestic timber in Canada, accounting for almost half of all hardwood trees. Being the primary material for red oak hardwood floors, the abundance of the red oak tree is a part of why this flooring option is so popular.

Red oak has a variety of 40 varieties and over 200 subspecies. It was first introduced to Europe in the 18th century and has since thrived. The colour varies from a light tan to a dark brown with a reddish tint.

The wood has an open grain and a coarse, porous appearance with a dull shine. Plain sawn lumber has a distinct grain pattern and rift sawn planks are closely grained. However, the quarter sawn planks have a flaked pattern, also known as tiger rays. These are determined by machine work.

Ash, oak, cherry, hickory, walnut, mahogany, and beech are only a few examples of hardwood trees. So, why has the popularity of red oak hardwood floors risen compared to these options? The peculiarities of hardwood are discussed below, which will help you understand why it is such a common flooring choice.

What Makes Red Oak Popular as a Hardwood Flooring Choice?

In terms of hardness, red oak hardwood flooring is at the top of the list. It strikes a strong balance between surface toughness and cutting ease. Tree species on each side of the spectrum move toward one trait rather than the other. So, how are hardwoods classified in terms of hardness?

The Janka Hardness Test rates the ability of different wood types to resist indentations. A number is allocated to each wood species. This number indicates the force needed to embed a 0.444-inch steel ball into the wood to half its diameter.

As a result, the higher the amount, the harder the wood. Red oak scores 1,290 on the Janka scale of 0 to 4,000. Even though there are much tougher woods available, red oak is hard enough but easily “workable” to make the best hardwood floor planks.

Red oak selection

Workability of Red Oak Hardwood Flooring

When it comes to selecting a hardwood floor, these two factors of longevity and workability are very helpful in the selection process. So, let’s talk about workability.

How difficult would it be to install your preferred hardwood? Is it going to be difficult to nail, hack, and sand the planks? These problems will slow down, complicate, and increase the cost of installation. Isn’t it true that time is money? Therefore, the value of striking a balance between toughness and workability becomes more apparent.

Fortunately, when it comes to workability, red oak hardwood flooring is one of the best alternatives. In terms of ease of sawing and machining individual planks, it is rated above average. This also adds to why red oak flooring is popular. It also sands quickly and uniformly if the proper sanding sequence is observed.

Nails are simple to add as desired, and red oak takes stains better than many other types of wood. Even for experienced installs, red oak decreases the likelihood of accidents and setbacks when laying new flooring.

Stain and Color Temperance

Red oak is a good choice if you decide to customize the colour of your hardwood floors. That’s because red oak flooring comes in several colours, from light to dark, based on where the wood was harvested.

Red oak hardwood floors are known for their warm colours. These immediately add warmth to every space. Red oak and white oak are the two most common oak species used in flooring.

Red oak, as the name suggests, has more reddish and warm pink undertones than white oak. The latter has more gray and brown undertones. Many planks of red oak have different colours of reddish browns and creams. This gives it a very classic appearance.

The colour of the wood varies somewhat, and red oak stains well. Red oak’s grain is slightly open and coarser than white oak’s, but this heavy graining helps to hide and fade any scratches and scrapes that the wood can accumulate over time.

Furthermore, owing to its translucent surface, it readily absorbs stains. This high stain absorption rate contributes immensely to why red oak flooring is popular by the minute. In comparison to a tougher species with a tighter grain, this means it’s easier to achieve a consistent, even colour across each plank.

Installing Prefinished or Unfinished Red Oak

When it comes to picking a red oak stain, you usually have two choices. Some planks are pre-finished, indicating they’ve already had the stain of a certain hue. This alternative is usually more expensive. However, it can be advantageous if you want to see the final product before purchasing it.

Red oak flooring in an unfinished condition is also available. With this form or red oak flooring, you can choose your desired finish and have it applied on-site. This normally results in a more uniform and durable stain.

Related Article: Hand Scraped, Distressed, And Wire Brushed Hardwood Floors: Pros And Cons

Benefits of using Red Oak for Hardwood Flooring: Why It’s Popular?

Red oak hardwood flooring is a significant trend for good reasons. Below are some of them.

Natural Beauty and Color

Red oak hardwood flooring is favoured by most homeowners who choose rooms without area rugs. Colours vary from soft cream to shades of reddish-pink and orange. Red oak hardwood floors also have warm tones which makes a warm and inviting atmosphere.

You can quickly and affordably customize the flooring to achieve the perfect look. You can choose to get a light red oak hardwood floor or a rustic red oak hardwood floor. Ultimately, you can get any other colour you choose.

Easy Maintenance

Red oak hardwood flooring is easy to polish because of its natural grain appearance. Stains and bruises on the floors will also disappear rapidly due to the heavy grain properties.

However, there’s a need to refinish the floors as they get worn and old after years of use. Thanks to red oak hardwood floors’ Janka rating, the cost of refinishing it is more affordable.

Affordability and Abundance

Red oak makes up almost half of all hardwood trees in most forests. This abundance is a great advantage of red oak flooring. Therefore, red oak flooring is inexpensive when compared to other hardwood species.

However, the final cost of hardwood floors is determined by several factors. The price of hardwood flooring products fluctuates due to supply and demand forces. Red oak hardwood flooring, on the other hand, is a budget-friendly alternative. The estimated price per square foot varies from $2.50 to $7.00.

Red oak may is more costly than lower-quality wood trees like yellow pine. This has a Janka rating of 690–870. It may also be much less expensive than super-hard tropical forests like Brazilian Cherry. This typically has a Janka rating of 2820.

Extremely Stain Friendly

Red oak wood has a broad grain pattern with mild to hard graining. This makes it easy to discern from other woods. Depending on the sources, the wood comes in a variety of shades varying from light to dark. The darker shade is more stain-resistant.

It also has a glossy surface that doesn’t retain stains. This is in contrast to tougher wood species with tight grains. With this type of hardwood flooring painting over stains is a difficult challenge.

Variety of choice

They say variety is the spice of life. This added spice is one of the reasons red oak hardwood floors are popular. You can choose from a variety of grain patterns based on how the wood is cut.

It can be plain-sawn, which is the most common method. Alternatively, it can be quarter-sawn, which is the least common method. Rift-sawn wood has a slight appearance, while quarter-sawn wood has mild grain visibility.

Solid and Engineered Hardwood Options

Both engineered and solid red oak hardwood flooring options are available. When determining which red oak to use, bear in mind that engineered wood’s thickness restricts its sanding ability. On the other hand, solid hardwood can take a lot of sanding.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages. However, many people choose solid hardwood flooring because of the natural grain look. It is said to bring “character” to a house.

Also, solid wood floors can be refinished several times. As a result, they usually outlast engineered hardwood floors which can only be resurfaced a few times. When you realize its remarkable longevity, solid red oak hardwood flooring is a no-brainer for many homeowners.

Environmental Factor

Red oak is a highly renewable resource because of its fast maturation and adaptability. When harvested from authorized sources, it is also an environmentally sustainable resource. Since the majority of red oak flooring is cultivated and processed in North America, it is harvested lawfully and sustainably.

Newly installed red oak floor boards for hallway in home

Where to use Red Oak Hardwood Flooring in your Home

Red oak adds natural warmth and beauty to any décor. However, it’s better avoided in rooms with a lot of standing water, like bathrooms. Since red oak is brittle, it absorbs a lot of moisture, causing the floor to warp.

It can be used in nearly any room, but it works well in areas with moderate traffic.  You can use sofa mats under furniture or rugs in high-traffic places. Additionally, you can cut your pet nails to protect your red oak floor. This will keep it looking nice for decades.

When handled with care, all wood flooring is easy to maintain. However, red oak can be susceptible to dents and scratches caused by foot traffic, impacts, spiked shoes, chairs, or pet nails. Excess water will muddy and ruin your lovely surface. Therefore, ensure to wipe up damp spills as soon as possible.

It is important to frequently sweep or vacuum and occasionally wipe with a wet mop. A daily buffing of a waxed floor will preserve the shine and erase any scuff marks.

Styles and Trends of using Red Oak Hardwood Flooring

Another reason why red oak flooring is popular is its versatility. Some different styles and trends have come to place over the years. Each design gives it a very unique style that makes your home feel iconic.


A style marked by carvings, and decorated columns. It is characterized by organic forms and spiralling patterns, as well as glass and mirror frames.


A style that features thick mouldings, a few ornamental elements, and elevated panel doors and drawers. It typically comes in a neutral stain or paint colour.


This style is distinguished by its practicality, with versatility taking priority over ornate decoration.


A fashion style that mixes conventional with clean, contemporary features. It often elevates basic designs with ornate or sleek hardware.


This style emphasizes simplicity and rough edges, as well as bold colours and textures.

Arts and Crafts

A basic but complex design that often includes reddish undertone stains.

Potential Red Oak Hardwood Installation Drawbacks

Another reason why red oak flooring is popular is its ease of installation. The parts come in well-defined articulated pieces. This makes them easy to join and assemble. However, care must be taken to avoid some basic errors during installation.

  • Adjoining floors are something that many people overlook. Eventually, the wood floor will finally come to an end and be replaced with some other form of flooring.This can be carpeting in the bedroom or tile in the kitchen. Therefore, choosing engineered or solid wood flooring with a thin profile may help to eliminate the difference. Transition trims may also be used to better equalize the various heights.
  • Another typical blunder is not allowing enough space for expansion. Wood is a porous substance that retains moisture from the air and expands in the summer. Alternatively, it contracts in the winter when the air is cold and dry. While it seems to be stationary underfoot, it is really in continuous motion. The manufacturer will have guidance for how much space is required along the edges. Furthermore, spacers of various sizes are available to ensure that your red oak floor is finished correctly.

Related Article: What Is The Cost Of Installing Engineered Hardwood Floors?


The type of flooring you select is decided by several factors. This includes your budget, personal style and choice. Additionally, the space in which it will be built matters. Red oak hardwood flooring is the way to go for a classic look. Furthermore, it is an inexpensive and long-lasting alternative.

Now you know of the vast advantages of red oak hardwood flooring. It is time to purchase some of this wood and get started with transforming your home.

Fortunately, we at LV Flooring install and sell different red oak flooring designs. We also sell both unfinished and prefinished versions. This way you can decide how to customize the red oak flooring to your taste.

So hurry up and get your red oak flooring today. It’s time to transform your home into a walking paradise!

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