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Species – Red Oak

Species Information - Red Oak

Species Information

The Red Oak is native to North America (including the US and Canada) and is the state tree of New Jersey, as well as the provincial tree of Prince Edward Island. On average the Red Oak grows to 90 feet tall, but can be as high as 140 feet, with a trunk ranging from 20–40 inches in diameter.

Red Oak is a tolerant tree that can handle growth in many soils and varied situations. However, it prefers the glacial drift and well-drained borders of streams.

In its preferred and optimal conditions, the Red Oak can grow extremely fast, reaching 20 feet tall in just 10 years. According to the USDA, the trees may live up to 500 years.

Red Oak’s are easily recognized by the bark, which features ridges that have shiny stripes down the center.

Red Oak is one of the most used and important oaks for timber production here in the US. Quality woods are used for lumber and veneer, while defective logs are typically used for firewood.

Red Oak is typically not used for outdoor applications (like boatbuilding) because the grain of the wood is extremely open.

(Northern) Red Oak should not be confused with the Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcate), which is also known as Spanish Oak.

Scientific Names

The scientific name for Red Oak (or, more specifically, Northern Red Oak) is Quercus rubra.


Red Oak is native to North America, namely the Northeastern US and Southeast Canada. Evidence of Red Oak can be found from the North End of the Great Lakes to Nova Scotia, and as far south as Georgia.

Crossover Names

Red Oak is also commonly called Northern Red Oak or Champion Oak.

Janka Rating

Red Oak is a relatively hard wood, with a Janka hardness rating of 1,220.

Red Oak Janka Scale Rating 1,220

*The Janka rating measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. Click Here for more info.


The heartwood of Red Oak is light to medium brown, typically with a reddish hue. The sapwood is nearly completely white to light brown, and does not feature a sharp demarcation from the heartwood.

The grain of the Red Oak is porous and open, and is slightly coarser than white oak. A plainsawn board will feature a plumed or flared grain appearance. Riftsawn boards feature a tighter grain pattern. Quartersawn boards have a flake pattern, which is sometimes referred to as tiger rays or butterflies.


Red Oak is friendly to work with when using hand and machine tools. It has a moderately high shrinkage value, which results in mediocre dimensional stability, particularly in flatsawn boards. When in contact with iron, staining and discoloration can occur. It does respond well to steam bending. It glues, stains and finishes well.

Red Oak is rated as non-durable, or perishable. The wood will stain when in contact with water.

CLICK HERE to view all of our Red Oak hardwood flooring.

Click below for a detailed discription of the different species of hardwood.

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