White Oak Flooring And Red Oak Flooring: Which Is Best?

December 31, 2020by LV Flooring0

If you’re thinking of installing hardwood flooring in your home, it’s hard to look past red oak vs white oak flooring. This is thanks to the unique qualities of oak flooring.

Oak flooring is a type of hardwood flooring known for its durability and ergonomics. Furthermore, it comes in different unique styles that make it a plus to most interior decor needs. To cap it off, oak flooring also offers easy cleaning and top-notch decorations. White oak flooring and red oak flooring are the two types of oak flooring

Both white oak flooring and red oak flooring are different not just in colours but in their individual properties. It is these differences in individual properties that spark the white oak vs red oak flooring debate.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between white oak flooring and red oak flooring. More specifically, we will discuss the two sides of the white oak vs red oak argument. This way, you can make an informed decision on the best type of hardwood flooring for your home.

What is White Oak Flooring?

In the white oak vs red oak flooring debate, the former is not lighter than red oak flooring. In fact, white oak flooring usually comes in a mix of tans and browns, making it far less darker than red oak flooring.

Furthermore, white oak flooring has smaller grain lines that make it look more uniform. White oak floors are made from fine materials with an exceptionally classy appearance. Typically, they are designed to resist abuse from pets, kids and indoor movements.

White oak flooring has proven to be the best for harsh weather conditions like winter. Here’s what you can expect when you install white oak flooring in your homes or offices:

High water resistance

High water resistance

Being water-resistant is different from being waterproof. White oak’s high resistance means that it has better chances of remaining dry and staying in good shape after water exposure. This does not mean that it cannot be damaged by water or fluid.

White oak flooring has pores clogged with tyloses. This is responsible for their high resistance to water and other fluids. Because of this resistance property, you can install white oak flooring in entrances, dining tables, kitchen and any room that sees plenty of moisture. Nonetheless, after spillage, ensure you clean the floor immediately to preserve its quality.

Less denting abilities

This is one area where this type of flooring gets the plaudits in the white oak vs red oak discourse. White oak flooring is less susceptible to denting than red oak flooring.

However, the property to withstand scratching is dependent on the wood’s quality. Therefore, to protect against dents, you should only install white oak flooring of the highest quality.

White oak flooring comes with top designs

White oak woods usually come in a variety of designs to fit different space needs. Typically, white oak designs range from bannister to stair treads. This is possible due to its less distinct graining. Because of its less distinct graining, it presents a modern look, touch and feel. This is why it is the favourite choice for creative hands.

What is Red Oak Flooring?

This is the other side of the white oak vs red oak flooring debate. Typically, red oak hardwood flooring is an excellent place to begin the search for durable flooring. In fact, some people see red oak as the industry’s benchmark.

However, you may begin to wonder why this is so. Here, we’ll discuss some of the distinct features of red oak flooring:


A noticeable difference between white oak and red oak is the appearance. Red oak appears rustic and natural. Although its graining pattern may be somehow scattered, it is still a perfect choice for a natural look.

Furthermore, depending on how the wood is cut, there are three styles of red oak graining pattern.

  • Plain sawn: Plain saw appearance is the most noticeable of the three styles of red oak graining pattern. It appears as flayed grain.
  • Rift dawn: Here, boards appear like they are tightly packed.
  • Quarter Sawn: Boards that are quarter sawn display patterns like tiger rays or butterflies.

Red Oak Flooring


Red oak floors may not be as hard as white oak floors, but its hardness makes it very durable. There is a rating for wood flooring, which is referred to as the Janka hardness test. By this rating, white oak flooring is rated at 1360, and red oak flooring has a rating of 1290.

You will notice that there isn’t much of a difference. This means that if hardness is what you are considering, red oak flooring is also a pretty good choice.


When installing hardwood flooring, the hardness and ease of installation are to be considered. If a plank of wood is too hard, it can be quite difficult to saw through or apply nails.

Red oak flooring provides you with enough workability to properly install your floor and maintain its durability in the process. So, when it comes to workability, red oak flooring is a top pick.

Related article: Benefits for your Space – White Oak Flooring

Differences Between White Oak Flooring And Red Oak Flooring

Without the right information, choosing which is best between white oak vs oak flooring can be tough. After all, both types of oak flooring are durable, classy and stylish.

However, there exist some differences between the two types of flooring. Here’s what you need to know:


The most obvious difference between white oak flooring and red oak flooring is the colour. But not as you expect, the names do not depict their colours. White oak flooring is not white, and red oak flooring is not red.

White oak floors have brown or yellow colouring, while red oak floors have a pink undertone. That said, the colour difference becomes clearer when you stain the floors. When the staining is light, you’ll notice the difference more distinctly. Although, when the staining is dark, their colour difference diminishes. Any stain darker than brown makes both floors indistinguishable.

Here, your choice of stain/finish can help you decide which is best between red and white oak flooring. For example, if you are thinking of using grey stains, go for white oak flooring. A grey stain will not suit red oak flooring because of its undertone.


Another interesting feature to consider when comparing white oak flooring vs. red oak flooring is the hardness. The hardness will determine the stability and density of the flooring. The Janka hardness scale lists red oak flooring at 1290 and white oak’s hardness at 1360.

The hardness ratings will determine the resistance of both flooring options. Because white oak flooring is harder than red oak, it has a great resistance. This is why it’s a great option for rooms that see plenty of foot traffic. Furthermore, if you have kids and pets, it’s advisable to go for white oak flooring as it can better resist scratches, spills and dents.

Grain pattern

The grain pattern is another way to differentiate between white oak and red oak flooring. The grain pattern refers to the arrangement pattern. The arrangement patterns of the wood grains affect the properties of that wood.

If you examine the graining of white oak, you will notice pores that are filled with tyloses. On the other hand, you will notice the open pores on red oak. It is no wonder it is not as resistant as white oak.

Also, white oak and red oak may look similar to untrained eyes, but the grain patterns are different. Red oak grains are wider and can look zigzag or wavy. Its grains look varied and appear as swirls. On the contrary, white oak grains appear straighter, closely packed and more uniform.

Compatibility with other wood products

Compatibility with other wood products

Red oak has a smoother surface than white oak. Because of this feature, red oak is used for handrails and stair treads. They are suitable for matching woods with already existing woods. So, if you are looking to match bannisters or saddle, red oak is very affordable for that.

Water resistance

When discussing white oak vs red oak flooring, water resistance is an essential topic of discussion. When a plank of wood is water-resistant, it means water does not damage it easily.

That said, white oak floors are more water-resistant than red oak floors. This feature is due to the closely arranged graining and ray pattern. Its graining pattern appears closer with pores filled with tyloses. Tyloses, as it is known, helps wood to be water-resistant.

On the other hand, red oak flooring is more resistant to scratches than white oak flooring. This feature is attributed to the smooth surface of red oak flooring.

Why White Flooring Is Best For You

Both white oak and red oak flooring are good choices for flooring. Depending on your preferences, you can pick either of them over the other.

However, if we absolutely have to pick a side in the red oak vs white oak flooring debate, we’d advise you go with the latter. Here’s why:

White oak staining

Some people prefer to leave their homes naturally, and others may not want this natural look. So, they stain their flooring. However, the kind of staining you give your floor is dependent on if it is a white oak floor or red oak floor.

Because white oak has straight and closely packed graining, it is easy to stain. Interestingly, you do not have to look for a stain that will suit the boards, white oak flooring is compatible with an extensive variety of stains.

white oak staining


A common difference between white oak flooring and red oak flooring is their hardness. The increased hardness of white oak flooring comes with great density. In the same vein, great density comes with high resistance to water and scratches. So, for durable flooring, white oak flooring is a perfect choice.


Because of its graining pattern, white oak flooring has a better appearance than red oak flooring. So if you are looking for exquisite interior decoration, go for white oak flooring. Meanwhile, the pricing for white oak flooring in Brampton is always worth the value that you are getting.

Final Verdict

In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of white oak flooring. We have been able to show that white oak flooring is highly water-resistant because of its clogged pores which are filled with tyloses.

However, it doesn’t stop there. There are many more advantages of white oak flooring in the vs. argument with red oak flooring. White oak flooring comes in a variety of designs that make it a great fit for most homes and spaces. In the same vein, it also offers water resistance that makes it a great fit for kitchens.

Are you looking for the best white oak flooring designs for your home? Here at LV Flooring, we offer different beautiful designs for residential spaces and offices. If you need professional help, we can also provide advice on the best white oak flooring design for your space. Look through our collections today!

Related article: Things to Consider Before Installing White Oak Engineered Hardwood

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