Hardness Rating: Red Oak

Red Oak Hardwood Flooring Gets High Marks for its Versatility

Red oak, one of the top-selling hardwood flooring options in the United States, gets high marks because of coloring and graining that gives it the ability to adapt to a wide range of design schemes, from rustic to contemporary. Because of its abundance in the United States, it also can be one of the most affordable hardwood flooring options for American homeowners.

When selecting oak as hardwood flooring, it’s important to distinguish the Red Oak from the closely related White Oak species. Although they tend to be similar in pricing and availability, the Red Oak shows off more reddish tones that range from a light reddish pink to medium reddish brown. White Oak flooring, on the other hand, usually features darker brown hues with a yellow undertone. Also, a Red Oak floor tends to have a stronger graining than White Oak.

Although it is less hard on the Janka Hardness Scale compared to White Oak, a Red Oak hardwood floor will show fewer dents because of that stronger grain pattern.

Here are some other things you should know about Red Oak flooring:

Name: Red Oak naturally gets its name from the red oak tree, which is one of the fastesting growing species in the oak tree family.

Origins: North America, with more than 200 subspecies available, provides Red Oak with a wide variety of options in color and grain. According to the National Flooring Association (NFA), the Red Oak can vary in appearance based on where the trees originated — upland or lowland locations in Northern, Southern and Appalachian regions.

Janka Hardness Rating: With a Janka Hardness rating of 1290 out of 4000, the Red Oak wood species falls within the medium range for hardwood flooring options. The Janka Hardness scale is used to determine a hardwood’s resistance to dents, dings and scratches. The test, which uses a 2” x 2” x 6” piece of a wood specimen and a steel ball, determines how many pounds per square inch of force will make the steel ball embed halfway into the wood. That result leads to the wood’s Janka Hardness rating. Woods at the low end of the scale will show more evidence of dings compared to those at the top. However, woods at the very top of the Janka Hardness Scale could be too difficult to cut for home applications. Also note that Red Oak flooring that originate from Southern regions will be softer, with a Janka Hardness rating of 1060, according to the NFA.

Installation: The Janka rating for Red Oak, along with its other traits, makes it an ideal choice for wood flooring. For installation, it gets above average performance when it comes to sawing, machining and nailing. Red Oak, because of its higher porous qualities, also performs better than White Oak with staining. As such, it can be stained in a numerous array of hues to accommodate your design scheme.

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