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How to Make Red Oak Look Like White Oak: Explained in Detail

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Oak is one of the most common types of wood used in cabinetry and furniture making. Oak can be dyed or stained to make it look like another type of wood.

This tutorial will show you how to make a red oak look like a white oak quickly and easily.

How to Make Red Oak Look like White Oak in Easy Steps?

Tips on How to Make Red Oak Look like White Oak

This step-by-step guide shows you to stain red oak hardwood flooring looks like white oak hardwood flooring.

Step 1. Find a High-Quality Wood Stain

To get started, you’ll need a good quality wood stain. A high-quality dye or stain will work best for this project so that it looks as natural as possible.

Choose a color close to white oak so that your red oak looks more authentic but still different enough that there’s a difference in color between the two types of wood flooring.

You also want to have a clean paintbrush, rags, a few old towels or newspapers, and a bucket or container with water with some soap in it. You’ll also need a paint roller and a sponge or two to use after you’re finished staining the floor.

Step 2. Prepare the Surface

As you begin, it’s best to prepare all of your supplies, such as a brush, gloves, and wood dye. The first step in this process is to sand the oak until it is smooth.

First, you should use a floor sander with coarse-grit sandpaper to make sure that any rough particles from the wood are buffed away. Then go over the surface with 120-grit sandpaper to get rid of the fine scratches that have been made in the grain. Brush off any dust or wood debris before staining it.

Step 3. Apply Stain

Apply stain evenly over the unfinished flooring in thin coats. Use a clean brush or roller to help you spread the stain evenly and make sure it penetrates deeply into the wood, especially if it is a hardwood floor that has been treated with a sealant. To increase the durability of your stained floor, rub some linseed oil onto it after it has dried completely.

Step 4. Dry It

Your wood floor took 24 hours after you wiped the stain to dry. It was a very wet coat of stain, and it was drying all night, so you might want to try letting it sit as long as possible if you have time. So you don’t get any excess staining on the areas around it.

Step 5. Apply another Coat of Stain

In order to achieve a look that more closely resembles white oak flooring, you have to apply an additional coat of stain. After the last coat, allow it to dry overnight before applying a coat of white spray paint.

Step 6. Spray Painting

A little bit of white paint can be used on the red oak flooring to further imitate the white oak’s look. It will dry in moments, and you’re done.

Step 7. Dry Floor again

After you dry the floor, it’s important to sweep it again with a soft-bristled broom. It will remove the residue from the floor and return the floor to its original color.

Step 8. Seal The Floor With an Appropriate Sealer (Optional)

Sealing the floor with an appropriate sealer is not always necessary. However, when given a choice, I would recommend sealing the floor with an appropriate sealer to protect the lacquer from scratches and stains caused by furniture moving around on the floor.

Step 9. Clean up the Floor

Wipe up any spills or messes. Sweep the floor of debris and dirt. Clean with a damp mop and clean water to remove all dirt from the floor.

Step 10. Enjoy Your New Floor Look

When you’re done, take a look at your floor and enjoy it. If it seems like it’s not working for you, remove the finished material with a damp cloth and try again.

What is The Difference between White Oak and Red Oak?

What is The Difference between White Oak and Red Oak


White oak trees are typically about three times denser than red oak. White oaks have a lighter color and finer grain compared to the heavier, darker grains of red oaks.

Moisture Resistance:

More and more home builders are opting for white oak as it has a much higher resistance to moisture in comparison to other woods. White oak is even resistant to rot caused by fungi-like mold, whereas red oaks are not.

Dry out Time:

Red oaks also take longer to dry out, meaning they will shrink instead of the swell when moister conditions exist again, which also contributes to their susceptibility against fungus infestation from wet conditions.


Red oak as been the traditional choice of furniture makers for generations. The reddish color is a classic look, but many people want to see what white oak does in their home and with their decor.


Red oak is very porous and has prominent growth rings while white oak has no prominent growth rings. White Oak has a lighter color and is more pliable. White oak doesn’t have much variation in color. These two species of oak are best for staining when you want to create a more dramatic look. If you want an oak floor that looks like maple, try one of the other variations of this tutorial.

Hard level:

Red oak is stronger and takes longer to dry when wet; this makes it less friendly for dentil molding purposes. Both have Janka hardness ratings above 1,400, which is relatively soft compared to other hardwoods. This will make the process much easier.


What is the Best Stain for Oak?

Stain is one way to make oak look like white oak without painting or replacing all your cabinets.

When staining furniture, you have three main finishes to choose from. To get a high-quality look, you should use a catalyzed finish. For oak, just about any type of oil-based stain will work fine.

Specialty brands like Minwax and Jacobean can be found at most home improvement or furniture stores, but these finishes can also be easily made at home for much less.

Some of the most popular colors for stained oak are black, taupe, espresso, and chocolate. A few other popular colors are honey and dark walnut.

Red color stains are the most common choice, especially for kitchen cabinets. Of course, white oak is also popular.

Does Tung Oil Work as Well as Polyurethane for Oak Wood?

Tung oil is a sealant for wooden surfaces. Tung oil is often used on furniture and floors. Tung oil is also used to fill cracks, locks, and knots in the wood. Polyurethane is a protective coating often applied to wood products such as plywood, particleboard, doors, furnishings, cabinets, etc.

How do You Bleach Red Oak to Look like White Oak?

If you’re using a store-bought product, be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. If you’re making your own bleach, mix one part bleach and two parts water in a spray bottle. Apply it evenly over the wood’s surface with a brush or cloth, and then wipe off any excess. Make sure you wear gloves. Let dry for about ten minutes, and then apply another coat if necessary.

Can Red Oak be Stained Grey?

It’s not advisable to stain an oak that is already the color red, but it can be done with a light grey if you’re sure that the result will please you and nobody else.

The process can be done in 2 or 3 coats of stain depending on how much grey is desired and/or if you use a stain/sealer combo. A good sealer is necessary to give the oak enough protection while it dries and cures. Otherwise, the color pigment might soak off of the wood.

Which is Better Red Oak or White Oak?

They are both great choices but different.

Overall, if you’re looking for a lighter wood with wider grains then white oak would be the better choice. If you want a darker brown or reddish colored wood, then red oak would be the best option.

Oak species generally don’t come in other colors, so if your preference is not dark brown, then making sure you know how hard your material will eventually become before selecting anything might help make your final decision easier.

How Can I Tell If My Floor is Red or White Oak?

Check your floor for any obvious differences in color, run your hands over it and feel for any inconsistencies or gaps in between boards.

White oak will feel slightly less coarse than red oak because it contains different sapwood which naturally has a finer grain that can be used for flooring.

Is Red Oak Cheaper than White Oak?

People find it easier to stain red oak, which saves them money over time, whereas the knots in white oaks require ladders and other means of getting up high enough to do so. When comparing two pieces of furniture for purchase, oftentimes one will be made out of each type of wood.

If someone wants an entire room full of either type, they can go with what their budget allows but many people choose to mix the two. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

Why does My White Oak Floor Sometimes Have Dark Lines in It?

It’s hard to avoid getting gaps between boards when you’re installing any type of flooring. This is especially true with wood floors because the boards expand and contract through seasonal changes in temperature.

These gaps can be filled using a variety of different filler materials such as colored wax, putty, or other materials but experienced carpenters will always fill these areas with a color that matches their floor. This way, there are no gaps to fill, and the floors look more natural.

Is it Possible to Dye Oak Instead Of Staining It?

Oak is fairly difficult to dye because its strong reddish brown tannins are easily transferred to other materials. If you do have complicated designs or patterns that you want to dye onto your wood, it’s usually best to leave those parts unfinished until the piece is assembled. This way there will be no accidents.

What can I Use for a Clear Coat Over-Dyed Oak?

The idea of using a natural finish like wax or oil comes from the days before modern polyurethanes. Modern polyurethane types are designed to create a protective barrier that gives the wood an even sheen and keeps it looking polished for years.

You can always remove polyurethane by sanding away chunks of excess material, but this method is messy, and you’re likely to end up with a lot of dust in your home.

red oak look like white oak


With a little bit of creativity and some elbow grease, you can make red oak look like white oak. We hope these tips will help you get started on your own DIY project to transform this type of wood and create something that looks professional.

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