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

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

red oak hardwood flooring Irvington New YorkOak flooring is the most popular species of hardwood here in Irvington 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 Irvington 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."

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

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


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. David Popoff 01/20/2013 12:50 AM
Home Improvement
New York Westchester County Irvington Irvington Home Improvement
westchester hardwood flooring and refinishing shop at home

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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

  We can depend on you for education in all things flooring....and the community and all of the internet audience appreciates the opportunity to be your students...AND more than that..CUSTOMERS !

Jan 18, 2013 10:28 PM #1
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Debbie, I understand completely, you made it easy. And of course to make sure that we really know what to do, we should call The Flooring Girl.

Jan 18, 2013 10:28 PM #2
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Sally & David - Thank you so much for your kind words.  You guys are the best.

Debbie - Thanks.  You are so sweet.

Jan 18, 2013 10:29 PM #3
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning,'re a wealth of information about flooring.... this is a good post for those thinking of ripping out carpet and replacing with many get jabbed on price...

Jan 18, 2013 10:33 PM #4
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Debbie, this is great information as always. I don't think there''s a single place where anyone to get all this information from other than doing the research themselves.  Thanks for sharing!

Jan 18, 2013 10:47 PM #5
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Debbie we have white oak in our home and we love it, our stairs match the floor as well, a sign of a good builder.

Jan 18, 2013 10:50 PM #6
Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate

Very interesting Debbie,

I think most of the old houses in Silver Spring and Takoma Park have the White Oak Flooring.  They are a more light yellow color with no pinkish tinge.  I noticed in a lot of these old house the Living areas are done in oak and a lot of the attics and kitchens have PINE floors installed.  Pine seems like it was probably cheaper? - ususally find wide width pine when you pull up old linoleum in a kitchen.

Jan 19, 2013 01:21 AM #7
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Debbie, excellent information as always.  Looking at the two floors side by side, I like the look of the white oak better.

Jan 19, 2013 06:21 AM #8
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

Debbie - another informative blog about flooring. Thanks so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge. Suggested!

Jan 20, 2013 01:29 AM #9
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Debbie Gartner

The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
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