Red oak vs White Oak hardwood. What's the difference? Armonk NY

Home Builder with The Flooring Girl

What is the difference between red oak and white oak hardwood?

red oak hardwood flooring Armonk New YorkOak flooring is the most popular species of hardwood here in Armonk NY.  Oak is a very practical wood, is readily available (grown and made in the US), very affordable and very easy to stain so you can find the color you prefer.  But many consumers don't realize that there are 2 species of oak - red oak and white oak flooring.

If you are installing new hardwood flooring everywhere, either red oak hardwood or white oak hardwood will work, and your choice will probably be dependent on which look/color you prefer as well as the price (the prices of red oak/white oak fluctuate, so in general there is not usually a major price difference, but this can vary slightly at any given time frame or based on the brand/grade/width of hardwood you are choosing.

If you already have oak flooring, and are adding additional oak flooring, you will want to match what you already have...that way, you will have a consistent look and wood will absorb the stain colors the same way.  I've seen it happen too often where a customer (or contractor) has mismatched the wood with red oak in some areas and white oak in others.  This means that your wood will never completely match - the graining will be different and the stain color will be different.


What's the difference between red oak flooring and white oak flooring?

Red Oak flooring - select grade                                                                   White Oak flooring - select grade

Red Oak flooring - Select gradeWhite oak hardwood flooring select grade1.  Color - red oak has a bit of a pinkish tint is a little bit lighter than white oak.  White oak tends to be a bit browner, darker and more yellow.  When you stain them, the difference between the 2 species decreases, especially the darker you go.  With lighter stains, the red oak tends to have a bit of red undertone in the color.


2.  Graining - red oak tends to have stronger graining than white oak hardwood.  White oak has a bit of a smoother look. Some people prefer the strong graining of red oak - both because they like the look and because the strong graining helps hide the scratches and dents; other prefer the slightly smoother grain of white oak and feel it's a less busy look.

Red oak vs White oak hardwood flooring - No 1 grade3.  Hardness - white oak flooring is a bit harder than red oak.  On the Janka hardness scale, White oak is 1360 and red oak is 1290.  But, as I mentioned above, even though red oak is a bit less hard, it tends to show the dents a bit less.


4.  Compatibility with stair treads and accessories - Red oak is more common in stair treads, saddles, banisters and other transitions.  If you have oak stair treads already in your home, chances are, they are red oak, so you may be better served matching that.  If you need to get new stair treads or other transitions, they are usually more readily available (and hence lower priced) in red oak.


5.  Price - In general, there is not a major price difference between red oak and white flooring.  Because unfinished hardwood is a commodity item, the price tends to fluctuate weekly.  At times, red oak costs more; at other times, white oak costs more.  the price will often vary based on width and grade.  And, very often, I have the red oak in 1 size as more expensive and white oak of another size is more expensive, and it literally changes all the time.


Please note that matching hardwood is a bit more complex than simply matching red oak vs. white oak.  Also, there are differences in grades of hardwood flooring (e.g. select grade vs No 1 vs. No2 vs quartersawn).  I will share this info in a future blog post.  But, if you are unsure what type of flooring you have, it's best to call in an hardwood flooring expert.

If you live in Armonk NY and would like to add hardwood flooring or refinish your hardwood floors, give The Flooring Girl a call at 914-937-2950 and let us "bring the store to your door."

Map of Armonk NY 10504
View Larger Map

Armonk NY oak hardwood flooring - red oak vs. white oak floors. What’s the difference


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Kathy Streib 08/09/2012 11:47 PM
  2. John McCormack 08/12/2012 09:12 AM
Home Improvement
New York Westchester County Armonk Armonk Home Improvement
westchester hardwood flooring and refinishing shop at home

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Once again, a very informative post.  I have had clients that want to "match" their existing hardwood.  I had no idea it was so complex.

Aug 09, 2012 12:13 PM #1
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Joan - Thank you.  Yes, it's important to find the right species, right grade and often the right stain color.

Aug 09, 2012 12:30 PM #2
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

White oak has been very popular here in Manhattan New York home renovation as well. Great points Debbie!

Aug 09, 2012 01:34 PM #3
John McCormack
Albuquerque Homes Realty * - Albuquerque, NM, Albuquerque Homes Realty

White seems to be the wood of choice in Oak  The  dark hand carved woods go better with the southwest look and feel of most home in our area.  Awesome information you are the go to Flooring Queen!

Aug 09, 2012 02:20 PM #4
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

I appreciate the description of the differences in the Oak Flooring Debbie.

Aug 09, 2012 05:51 PM #5
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

It has been a challenge from time to time, to attempt to match flooring in homes that I flip. Once sanded, the stain helps out a lot, but when refinished, all look great.

Aug 09, 2012 07:23 PM #6
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

And this type of info is why you do what you do and I do what I're my "go to" Girl when it comes to Flooring.................

Aug 09, 2012 07:36 PM #7
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Eileen - Glad to hear that and thank you.

John - Thanks so much.  You're so funny.

Tom - You are welcome.

Joe - with darker stains, you can often cover up a lot.

Roger - Thank you.  You are so sweet.

Aug 09, 2012 08:56 PM #8
Irene Durocher
Coldwell Banker BUYERS AGENT - Boca Raton, FL

Hi Debbie, great information for everyone to know. Thanks for sharing with us.

Aug 09, 2012 10:15 PM #9
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Debbie- I second John's nomination!! You are no longer the Flooring Girl.. you are the Flooring Queen!!!     When we first moved to Florida everything was in tile with some carpet in the bedrooms.  I've been seeing more and more wood floors being chosen and I love it!

Aug 09, 2012 11:27 PM #10
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Irene - You are welcome.

Kathy - thank you.  You guys are so sweet and so suppotive.

Aug 10, 2012 01:48 AM #11
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Debbie Gartner

The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
Are you ready for new flooring?
Spam prevention

Additional Information