Flooring is a dizzying array of choices; there are hardwood, bamboo, tile, ceramic, etc. It can be difficult to choose if you don’t already know what you want. But, if you do know what you want-say, Oak hardwood-your choice doesn’t end there! Did you know there are two different types of Oak?


Oak is a popular choice, especially in Northern Virginia; it’s readily available, affordable, and can be custom stained to your taste. The versatility and affordability makes it a great choice for your entire home, but which do you choose? How do you even make that choice?


If you already have oak floors in your home and want to add to them, you’ll want to match the stain. The stain can only be matched however, if you have the same type of oak, so start with finding out what kind of oak flooring you have if you don’t already know; after you’ve identified white or red, you can then choose your new flooring to match. Not only do you want your stain to match, you want the graining to match as well; choosing a new oak flooring to match the type you already have will make a difference. What if you don’t have the resources to find out whether you have red or white oak?


Well, red oak has a light pink tint to it and is slightly lighter than white oak. White oak (contrary to its name) is slightly browner, and tends to cast a darker, yellowish tone. When they’re stained, however, the difference becomes a little more subtle, especially with darker stains (making it more difficult to differentiate the two). With lighter stains, red oak takes on a redder undertone in its color.


White oak has a smoother look to it than red oak also.  Whereas red oak has strong graining which helps hide scratches and dents, white oak’s smooth surface gives it a more polished look.  White oak is also slightly more durable than red oak (on the Janka hardness scale, white oak performs at a 1360 and red oak at a 1290). Even though white oak is harder, as I mentioned it also shows scratches and dents more prevalently than red oak.


Generally speaking, red oak is common for stairs, banisters, and room transitions. If you are looking to renew or replace these areas, red oak is a good choice. White oak is more resistant to water than red oak due to its closed wood grain, making this type of oak a perfect choice for kitchens, bathrooms, foyers, and other transition rooms.


Of course there’s more to matching current hardwood with new oak flooring. If you aren’t certain what you already have, or what you want in your room, please contact one of our flooring professionals to help you make the best choice for your home!