The Big Flooring Question: Red vs White

When most of us think of hardwood flooring, our minds instantly go to Oak. Oak is known for its durability, long life, and it’s time in the industry, oak has been used for centuries. Throughout the world, Oak flooring has been everywhere from elegant castle style homes to rural farmhouses and everywhere in between. Oak flooring has a huge demand because of its longevity, with some lasting over 100 years. Evidence of Oak’s durability can be seen in homes built around the turn of the 20th century which still have the original solid oak flooring intact

Oak hardwood flooring provides us with recognizable natural grain patterns, beautiful natural color and interesting natural character. It is also considered a “greener” use of a national natural resource because it is readily available in the US. Its carbon footprint is lower than that of exotic wood species (Brazilian Cherry or Tigerwood) and because of forestry protection programs, Oak trees are constantly being replanted here in the U.S.

There are many different species of Oaks available for flooring. The two that consumers are most familiar with are Red Oak and White Oak. Red Oak flooring is the more traditional choice of the two. Red oak is popular for its light golden to reddish pink tones and its more unique and “wilder” grain patterns.

Janka Rating: 1290
(Janka Hardness Rating is a rating that calculates the hardness of a species of wood. The higher the rating, the harder the wood.)

White Oak has been known to have been used for hundreds of years in the building of boats, truck beds, wooden wagon wheels and wine barrels because of its structural integrity. White oak flooring has less pronounced finer graining and warmer golden-brown tones. White Oak flooring is also more stable. White oak has been noted as being harder than Red Oak, because it is harder, it accepts stain color more evenly than a Red Oak floor.

Janka Rating: 1360

Red Oak flooring and White Oak flooring have been used in a variety of board widths and thicknesses over the years—from the 17th century, 12” to 20″ wide planks to the now more commonly used 2-1/4″ strip Oak flooring we see today. The current consumer trend is to use 3-1/4″, 5” or 7” wide boards. This allows for a more unique appearance than the traditional narrow 2-1/4″ wide floor boards. But it’s not so wide that it’s giving the home an older country feel, like the wider 4” to 8” floor boards do. Wider boards offer a very casual aesthetic, giving the home a unique and dramatic country or rustic feel. So, if you’re think about doing hardwood flooring here your home, Oak may be the way to go. If you have any questions or wanted to spend some time going over flooring options, please feel free to reach out to us!