Everything You Need To Know About American White Oak Timber

American White Oak Timber – The Ultimate Guide

Are you considering American White Oak for your next project? Before making your choice, find out everything you need to know about this beautiful and strong timber species.


Is White Oak rare?

American White Oak (quercus alba) is native to North America, however in recent years has been on the verge of endangerment. This concern led to the establishment of reforestation and management programs. White Oak sprouts in abundance from cut stumps, making it the perfect species for a plantation. It is also one of the fastest growing types of oak, making it a sustainable option for use in construction. Although White Oak has been threatened by endangerment, it does not appear on the IUCN’s red list of endangered tree species. In fact, statistics from 2009 show that this is one of very few species which, through management programs in the USA, is actually increasing in available volume.

Certain sources offer Forestry Stewardship Council FSC® Certification on request, however, the American Hardwood Export Council shares information on the reforestation programs.

Is Oak wood strong and durable?

American White Oak has a seasoned density of 750 kg/m3 and falls at a 6 (1360) on the Janka Hardness Scale, putting it in the medium bracket for hardwoods. This helps its usage as very easy to machine, joint and shape. It remains one of the most popular species for steam bending.

What is the difference between Red and White Oak?

The main differences between Red and White Oak are appearance, water resistance and hardness rating.

Appearance – White Oak displays brown and yellow tones with a smooth, subtle grain. It’s great for contemporary style designs due to its mineral streaks. Red Oak has more of a pinkish tint with red undertones and a strong grain pattern.

Hardness –  White Oak is slightly harder than Red Oak, however despite this, Red tends to dent less.

Water Resistance – White Oak is a closed grain wood, and its pores are plugged with tyloses. As a result, White Oak is a lot more water resistance and less likely to suffer from decay and rot.

Is Red Oak or White Oak better for flooring?

Oak, in general, is a very popular option for flooring due to its strength and durability. One is not better than the other for flooring, it really comes down to personal preference, desired appearance and if you’re matching to other timber features in your home. While White Oak is slightly harder, both are still incredibly durable.

How long does it take for a White Oak tree to mature?

White Oak trees can live for centuries. They take between 20-50 years to fully mature, and have a moderate growth rate between 50-80 centimetres per year. At full maturity, White Oak can reach between 24-30 metres tall and 1-metre-wide, with very strong branches.

Why is Oak so widely used to make furniture?

American White is a popular hardwood choice for its distinctive growth rings, stability, and paler colour.

Due to its natural grain, American White Oak creates one of the most unique aesthetics in finishes. Naturally accepting stains, finishes including wire-brushing, lime-washing and rustic may highlight this beautiful specie using natural waxes, oils and synthetic coatings. Both UV cured and spirit-based finishes are popular.

Demand for this product is strong globally for use in cabinetry and joinery, as well as internal linings, floorings, and boat building.

Where does White Oak come from?

American White Oak is a prominent hardwood tree along the coast of North America. It is most commonly grown in Minnesota, Ontario and Quebec, however it can be found as far south as Texas and Florida.

Is White Oak a hard or softwood?

White Oak is a hardwood. Hardwood comes from deciduous trees that are characteristically slow growing and therefore denser. Hardwood trees are angiosperms, which produce seeds, shells or fruits. White Oak trees produce acorns.

What prices are American White Oak?

The price of American White Oak falls in the mid range category of hardwoods. It is a sustainably sourced, common hardwood, making it a reasonably low priced option.

Which is better- American White Oak or European White Oak?

American White Oak has a slightly different composition, and European White Oak tends to have a tighter grain and smaller growth rings. Both trees have the same hardness rating, and offer the same level of durability and strength. European Oak is slightly taller and larger, and is used if longer planks are required. Both types of Oak are versatile and great to work with.


Does White Oak sound like a perfect fit for your job? If you’re still unsure or you’d like an expert opinion, contact us at Coach House Timbers and we’ll assist you with the best timber selection.