Red Oak vs. White Oak Flooring: Which Should You Buy? 

Qtr Cut Red Oak

Have you ever stepped into a property and felt an instant warmth emanating from the exquisite floors beneath you? Chances are, you were marveling at oak flooring. Yet, the question arises: was it red oak or white oak? This is a common query that can even stump seasoned homeowners. Both red and white oak are renowned for their durability and timeless appeal, making them highly coveted choices in flooring.

Of course, selecting the right wood flooring is a crucial decision that affects the appearance and functionality of your property. However, deciding between red oak and white oak flooring can be a daunting task. Ultimately, the selection for your project rests on your personal preferences. This blog will explore the differences between red oak and white oak flooring, empowering you to make an informed decision when choosing the ideal flooring based on your needs and taste.

Red and White Oak: An Overview 

Oaks are hardwood (dicotyledonous) trees or shrubs belonging to the genus Quercus within the beech family. With 500 species, both deciduous and evergreen, oak trees usually thrive in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Red oak is a member of a subgenus (Erythrobalanus) of North American ornamental trees. These oak species possess bristle-tipped leaves and acorns with hairy shell linings. Beyond the red oak appearance, these round-headed hardwoods quickly reach a height of 25 meters (80 feet). In a few cases, it may occasionally reach 45 m (150 feet). 

White oak (Quercus alba) emerges as a perennial tree of the Fagaceae family, growing in rich, heavy, upland soil at a relatively slow growth rate of 12” to 24” yearly. Such species often appear in a round or oval shape and develop a deep taproot system. Additionally, white oaks are medium to tall trees capable of reaching heights of 60-70’ and a diameter of 3-4.

Red Oak vs. White Oak Flooring

The following are some of the key differences between these hardwoods:

  1. Visual Differences

One of the most noticeable differences between white oak and red oak flooring lies in their colour variations. Red oak has tints and subtleties of red and pink undertones, rendering it a more traditional approach. If you appreciate a strong wood grain pattern and wish to achieve a classic and timeless interior design appearance, red hardwood can be the ideal alternative for you. 

On the other hand, white oak is more on the moderate side, and it features golden to browner tones with tighter grain lines. It is often chosen for its ability to brighten the space and bring out the rich, warm tone of the wood, delivering a modern, sophisticated appearance to your property.

  1. Durability 

When it comes to durability, red oak and white oak flooring are both solid choices. However, red oak is slightly less hard than white oak. Additionally, it demands more attention in heavy-use environments.

Built with a solid hardness rating, white oak flooring is less prone to splintering and more resilient to wear and denting, making it a better choice for high-traffic areas of your home.

  1. Availability

Red oak is usually available in various colours and is a typical hardwood used for flooring worldwide. These are also reasonably priced, with excellent traits of durability and classic appeal.

Due to its exceptional qualities, including durability, water resistance, and decay resistance, white oak may have a higher upfront cost. So, if you are on a budget, white oak flooring can be an expensive alternative for you.

So, What Should You Go For?

While both white and red oak stand out as the most desirable choices, each boasts distinct strengths and individual qualities. Red oak’s red and pink undertones are suitable for a classic and timeless interior design appearance. In contrast, white oak holds golden browner tones and offers a sophisticated appearance to your property. When it comes to durability, red oak is less durable than white, making it a high-maintenance alternative. As far as cost goes, red oak flooring is comparatively cheaper than white oak. Choosing the right wood flooring is a significant decision, and acquiring a comprehensive grasp of these distinctions equips you to make an educated choice. For exclusive options that best suit your style and requirements, contact Tropical Forest Products. Get in touch with us and allow us to help you make your space uniquely yours.

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