Choosing the right wood flooring for your project can be a stressful exercise that has you constantly second-guessing yourself. We know how tough this can be and would like to help you narrow it down, at least a little. We plan to talk about the difference between Red and White Oak (Hint: it’s more than just color).

Why Choose Oak At All?

For starters, Oak is a beautiful hardwood that has a storied history in American homes. It is also a very tough and durable wood that can easily hold up to the demand of a busy home or business. Because of these reasons, Oak is one of our best sellers.

Oak also happens to be a very plentiful tree in the United States, and a large supply of it is sourced right here. As a result, buying Oak is a greener choice than most other woods, as it uses a lot less energy to move around the country (vs around the world) with the money going to American workers.

Red Oak Vs White Oak

Red Oak and White Oak are the two most common species of Oak that you will find when it comes to flooring. They vary in a few important ways that I will discuss.

First Things First… Looks

So, I know I said there was more to Red vs White than just color, but color is still an important aspect. Red Oak is a classic choice, and it gets its name from the reddish and light golden tones in its grain. White Oak, on the other hand, can be identified by its lighter brown and warmer gold tones

Toughness and Durability

While both species of Oak are tough, White Oak boasts an impressive 1360 Janka rating (The measure of a wood’s resistance to scratches and damage). Red Oak doesn’t lag too far behind at a 1290 rating.

Texture and pattern

The Red Oak has a more elaborate grain pattern when compared to its White counterpart, giving it a deeper and more eye-catching texture. White Oak has a finer grain pattern and is much more subtle in its appearance, giving it a more consistent look.


What gives White Oak the nod over Red for me is how resistant it is to rot and water, which makes it an excellent choice for flooring. This is because White Oak has smaller, closed off pores, whereas Red Oak has larger pores. However, it’s not all bad with Red - the larger pores make it easier to stain deeply and evenly.

Which one is right for me?

In the end, you can’t go wrong with either of these historic Oaks, but in our minds, White Oak is better suited for most daily home needs. Both species are available in a wide range of colors, styles and widths. Colors range from dark to light. For example, our wide-plank Midnight White Oak provides a refined, classic look to any space, whereas our Ivory White Oak flooring is a favorite of designers looking for a chic, modern aesthetic. Browse our 60+ styles here.  

I hope you found this helpful, and feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts or questions on the subject.