The Differences Between Oak

You are searching for the perfect floor to best express you. You know you want a hardwood floor, be it solid or engineered but you keep seeing that there are different types of Oak wood. Red Oak, White Oak, European Oak, American Oak; what's the difference? You'd be surprised that each Oak type has individual characteristics compared to its counterpart and shines in its own light.


Red, White, and European Oak feature significant variations in color and grain caused by a variety of factors. These factors include: Differences within a tree, age of the tree, rate of growth, soil and climate of the region, and most importantly, the genetic differences between the various species within each group.

European Oak vs. American Oak



European white oak, commonly known as common oak, is a temperate hardwood native to Europe, west of the Caucasus, in countries like Germany, Poland, France, and England. The European Oak is planted for forestry and produces a long-lasting, durable heartwood. American oak is also a temperate hardwood predominantly found in Eastern North America in regions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario, Quebec, and southern Maine. There is another species of American oak called "red" oak, which grows in Western North America in regions of Oregon and Washington. American white oak typically grows high in the mountains and low lands giving rise to different characteristics and tends to be short and thick. Both European and American species are classified as "white" oaks and have been known to live for several hundred years.


Though, they have quite similar color tones, European oak has a much darker complexion than its American counterpart. European oak has a warm golden brown color and tends to have a more even color tone across its planks. American oak is subtly lighter in color, with reddish tones and can show greater color variations between lighter and darker shades due to much larger grain and growth rings. When it comes to grain, European oak has a more wavy and tighter grain pattern than American oak. American oak tends to have a large and predominantly straight grain pattern with larger grain and growth rings.



American Oak: Red vs. White


As a homegrown wood, forested throughout the US. American oak is considered an environmentally friendly flooring option. What is less known is that there are actually two distinct types of American oak: white oak and red oak.


The most obvious difference between the two types of oak flooring is color. While white oak may sound light in color, it is in fact darker than what you may think. white oak wood consists of browns and tans, making it darker than red oak which has tones of pink and red throughout. The name white oak comes from the tree as the color of the bark is light grey and almost white. The same naming ideology is used for red oak, as the name "red oak" comes from the colors the leaves change in autumn and not from the wood itself.


The grain patterns between red oak and white oak are distinguishably different. While both are oak, there is a definite difference between the look of white and red oak based on the grain. Red oak has a grain that is more varied, or "wild" with many swirls and deviations. It also has wider grain lines that appear wavy or zigzag in appearance. White oak, on the other hand, has smaller and tighter grain lines. These grain lines make for a straighter and more uniform look. The grain of the is closer in color with the actual wood so the lines are more subtle in white oak. Since red oak is a lighter wood, the natural pattern of the grain tends to be more visible.







  • Harvested in Europe
  • Darker Complexion
  • Warm Golden Brown
  • Wavy & Tight Grain



  • Harvested in Eastern North America
  • Lighter Complexion
  • Browns & Tans
  • Small & Straight Grain



  • Harvested in Western North America
  • Lighter Complexion
  • Pinkish & Red Tones
  • Wavy & Wide Grain