Red Oak vs White Oak | Which is Better For You?

White oak is harder, more durable, and more resistant to rot than red oak. So white oak is a great option for durable flooring. Because it has a higher density and is less prone to scratches and dents.

Actually white oak or red oak is not a species, but it is a group of many species of oak. Many species of oak are divided into white oak and red oak groups on the basis of the quality of the wood.

Red Oaks

Red oaks are straight-grained, uniformly textured, and easy to stain. It is a medium hardness wood that is most commonly used for making cabinets and furniture.

Red oak trees are fast-growing and native to North America. It is often planted in gardens and parks as an ornamental tree. Apart from decoration, it is also cultivated for wood. 

White Oaks

White oaks are durable, stable, and medium rot resistant. It is known for its heavy and strong wood. So it is the most acceptable wood species for durable flooring.

is native to eastern and central North America. It is planted as a shade tree. It is a tree that gives acorns. Which wild animals consume. 

#Red OakWhite Oak
Scientific Name: Quercus rubraQuercus alba
Janka Hardness:1,290 lbf (5,700 N)1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
Tree Size:80–115 ft (25–35 m) tall65-85 ft (20-25 m) tall
Crushing Strength:6,780 lbf / in2 (46.8 MPa)7,370 lbf / in2 (50.8 MPa)
Uses:Cabinetry, furniture, interior trim, flooring, and veneerCabinetry, furniture, interior trim, flooring, boatbuilding, barrels, and veneer
Color:light brown to pinkish-reddishlight brown to medium brown
Workability:Good WorkabilityGood Workability
Availability:Easily availableEasily available
Sustainability:Red oak is a sustainable woodWhite oak is also a sustainable wood

Red oak and White oak Uses

Red Oak Uses

It is widely used for furniture, cabinets, fence posts, railroad ties, doors, and floors. It can be used to make all applications that are not exposed to moisture and water.

Northern red oak is used to make quality charcoal, red oak burns slowly but produces high heat. So it is the right wood to make charcoal. Apart from northern red oak, many other hardwoods are also used to convert wood to charcoal. This process takes about 14-16 hours and depends on the wood species.

White Oak Uses

White oak is strong, dense, and rot-resistant. It is widely used for outdoor furniture, flooring, and cabinets. White oaks can be used for all applications that are exposed to moisture or weather.

Unlike red oak, white oak has a closer grain so it performs better in moisture. It doesn’t absorb a lot of moisture. So white oaks are a good choice for making boats. In America, white oak is used to make whiskey and wine barrels.

Color / Appearance

Red oak

The heartwood of red oak is pinkish to reddish brown while the sapwood is light brown. The red oak wood has large and open pores. Red oak has a straight grain, with a coarse, and uneven texture.

White oak

Heartwood is light to medium brown and sapwood is white to light brown. The difference between sapwood and heartwood is not easily detected. But it is slightly darker than red oak.

Which wood is harder, Red Oak or White Oak?

White oak is slightly harder and heavier than red oak. The hardness of red oak is 1,290 lbf (5,700 N) on the Janka scale while white oak has (1,360 lbf (6,000 N)) Janka hardness.

The Janka scale is used to determine the relative hardness of a particular domestic or exotic wood species.

Red Oak vs. White Oak: Which wood is more water resistant?

White oak has better water resistance properties than red oak. Many boat manufacturers choose white oak to make boats and boat parts. Because it can be used outdoors after the exterior finish.

Generally, there is no wood that is 100% water-proof. But there are some types of wood that can withstand moisture and water for long periods of time such as cedar, redwood, yew, white oak, and many others.

Some wood species, do not have naturally rot-resistant properties. They are made by paint, proxy, and chemical treatment to withstand moisture for some time.


White Oak is a bit more expensive than Red Oak. Because white oak has less amount of heartwood and a higher amount of sapwood. White oak is in high demand because it is more durable and stronger than red oak. Another reason for being expensive is that white oak contains less amount of heartwood while the sapwood is more.

This change in their price depends on many factors. Such as transport, grade of wood, and native places.

What’s the Best Wood to Burn, Red Oak or White Oak?

White oak is the most popular firewood in the United States. Its density is higher than Red Oak. It burns for a long time and gives high heat. White oak is capable of producing 24.4 million BTUs per cord.

Generally, Oak woods are easy to split and cut because it has a straight grain. It produces High Heat, Red oak is capable of producing 24 million BTUs per cord.

Which is better for flooring, Red Oak or White Oak?

A quality wood floor needs to have durability, hardness, moisture resistance, a high-quality look, and sustainability. Well finding wood for flooring is not easy. But when the choice is between red oak and white oak, it becomes a little easier.

If we give priority to the hardness and moisture resistance of the wood, then white oak is the best option for flooring. But red oak is the best choice if you are looking for a great appearance and easy to stain.

Finally, we can say both are great options for flooring. Some people prefer the look of red oak while others prefer white oak due to the low maintenance. It all depends on your choice.


White oak is a great choice for outdoor applications while red oak is good for indoor use. Both have their own properties. Which wood to choose depends on the purpose of its use.

Red Oak may be a more affordable and attractive option for you. White oak is more durable and suitable for outdoor projects.

The hardness of any wood affects the roughness, scratch, and dents of the wood. Wood with higher hardness is less likely to get dents and scratches. High hardness is considered better for wood floors.

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