Red Oak vs White Oak Flooring

When it comes to hardwood flooring, oak is one of the more popular choices. It’s known for its durability and attractive appearance. Oak is also one of the types of hardwood flooring that is easy to find. But did you know that there are two different types of oak flooring?

That’s right. When choosing your oak hardwood flooring, you’ll need to decide whether you want to go with white or red. If you’re not sure of the difference, read on, and we’ll compare the two types of oak.

Difference between red oak and white oak hardwood flooring

Some of the differences between red oak and white oak are not significant when you’re choosing hardwood flooring. However, let’s compare and contrast the two types.


While it’s natural to think that white oak has a lighter appearance than red oak, that’s not quite how it works. White oak has browns and tans mixed in, while red oak has a more pinkish colouring. Yet, once you put a stain on your oak hardwood, you won’t be able to tell the difference between red and white oak. If you’re considering using a dark stain, you can save some money by choosing red oak as your hardwood flooring option. On the other hand, if you want a lighter stain, it’s best to go with white oak.

Grain pattern

White oak and red oak have different grain patterns, which can be a giveaway when looking at hardwood flooring. It can also help you decide what type of pattern you prefer in your flooring. Red oak has a less uniform design to the grain. There can be various swirls and wavy or zigzag grain lines. The grain pattern is also more visible with red oak, which means it can hide scratches better than white oak. White oak offers a more straight and uniform appearance. The grain lines are smaller than red oak and may give the impression that white oak is more solid as hardwood flooring. But that’s not the case. Red oak is just as sturdy as white oak.

Hardness rank

Hardwood flooring is given a rating on the Janka scale that lets you know how hard the wood is, reflecting its strength. White oak has a rating of 1360, while red oak is 1290. So, what does this mean? The rating can be used to decide the type of hardwood flooring you want to use. Consider how you want to use the hardwood. If you’re looking to build something outside, such as a deck, it’s best to go with stronger wood. So, white oak would be a better choice. However, if you’re using hardwood flooring inside your home or office, you can select white or red oak.

Water resistance

Water damage may be a concern depending on where you’ll be installing the hardwood flooring. Your hardwood is an investment you’re making in your home, and you want to consider all the potential issues. So, if you’re concerned about your hardwood flooring’s ability to resist water damage, you’ll want to select white oak over red. White oak is known for its ability to ward off water better than red oak. That’s because it is a closed-grain wood. This means that the pores can withstand moisture better and maintain an attractive appearance. With red oak, there is a chance that the water can leave black stains, which ruins the appearance of your hardwood flooring.


When it comes to hardwood flooring, you’re usually dealing with a more expensive flooring type. However, in exchange, you’ll be getting attractive, durable, and long-lasting hardwood flooring. The cost can vary between white and red oak depending on the size of the planks and the grade of the wood. However, it’s common for white oak to be pricier than red oak.

Which oak hardwood flooring is best for you?

Whether you choose red oak or white oak will largely determine your preference and the scope of the project. If you need hardwood flooring to be more water-resistant, you’ll want to pay more and get white oak. However, if you’re not concerned about water damage to your hardwood flooring, you could save money and buy red oak planks.

Red and white oak are also better suited to different parts of your home. For example, red oak is most often used for stairs and railing, interior trim and even panelling. White oak has been the more common choice for hardwood flooring, but it can also be good for interior finishing.

One other thing to consider is if your home already has hardwood flooring. You’ll want to match what you already have installed. It will be easy to recognize the difference between white and red oak if you mismatch what you already have in your home, even if you stain it. So, if you’re not sure what type of hardwood flooring you already have, ask a professional to examine it.

Caring for your hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring is one of the most attractive flooring types and has been used to boost the curb appeal on many properties. Some research has found that hardwood flooring can have a significantly high ROI. However, you’ll want to keep your hardwood flooring looking its best. Here are some ways that you can care for your hardwood flooring.

  • Watch the humidity in your home and try to find a balance, particularly in the winter months
  • Don’t let people walk on your hardwood flooring with shoes
  • Protect it by covering it with a rug
  • Sweep, vacuum, and wash your hardwod flooring often
  • Clean up spills quickly
  • Fix scratches on your hardwood flooring to keep it looking new

Why choose Ottawa Diamond Flooring?

Ottawa Diamond Flooring has been serving the Ottawa area for over 25 years. We pride ourselves on our customer service and extensive knowledge about flooring.

If you have questions about the right hardwood flooring for your home, contact the team at Ottawa Diamond Flooring.