What is oak wood?

Oak wood is a type of hardwood that comes from the oak native to the northern hemisphere. There are about 600 oak species, both deciduous and evergreen. North America has the most, with about 90 species native there. Oak has been used as a hardwood for thousands of years, but it takes up to 150 years for the wood from an oak tree to be used for construction. Modern oak uses include household items, flooring, wine barrels, and firewood.

Appearance of oak wood

The shade of oak wood can vary from tree to tree and from branch to branch. When a natural finish or oil is applied, the variations and contrasts of this beautiful material sparkle, creating a stunning natural feature in its own right without the need for heavy embellishments. Oak wood feels hard and smooth depending on the finish.

oak trunks

Frequently asked questions about oak wood

If you are unsure whether oak is the right choice for your home, learn more about what sets oak apart from other woods and how to care for it below.

What color is oak wood ?

A piece of natural oak can take on almost any shade, from light beige to brown and red. While white oak tends to look more beige to brown and red oak tends to look pinker, it's not always easy to tell the difference between different types of oak based on color alone. What's more, the same oak can be several different colours, and both red and white oak are highly stainable, meaning a piece can look as dark as walnut or even brighten up an entire room when stained in a vibrant shade.

Why does oak wood change color over time?

Oak wood may darken slightly over time and take on more amber hues. This occurs through exposure to oxygen and UV light, making it a largely unavoidable process. With oak furniture, most people will not even notice the color change.

What are the most common uses for oak wood?


Oak wood is valued in furniture making, floors and cabinets for its durability, workability and natural beauty. Oak wood is suitable for almost any furniture application. Although it is somewhat more difficult to work with than softer woods due to its hardness, oak has the strength to be used for seating furniture, tables ( oak tree trunk table and oak coffee table), beds and other furniture. In particular, most mission style furniture is often made of solid oak. Mission style furniture is often described as sturdy, heavy and even brittle. It is characterized by straight vertical and horizontal lines, square or rectangular legs, and durable construction.

What does the grain pattern of oak wood look like?

oak wood pattern

Oak wood generally has a straight grain and an uneven texture. However, there are other aspects that make the grain of oak wood unique. The water resistance of white oak, for example, lies in the pores. They are completely closed off by tyloses. Red oak does not have the same cell growth and its pores are open. Another unique feature of oak is the rays that run along the grain. Red oak can sometimes look like someone has drawn dotted lines across a plank with a dark pencil. The same stripes also occur in white oak, but they are usually much longer.

Is oak hardwood or softwood?

Oak is a deciduous wood. However, this distinction has nothing to do with a wood's ability to resist damage. It has to do with whether the wood comes from a dicot or a gymnosperm tree. Deciduous trees usually belong to the dicot group, and are therefore all deciduous wood. Others, such as pine and spruce, are of the gymnosperm group, which is why they are called softwoods.

Where does oak wood come from?

Oak wood comes from a multitude of oak trees. Even when we say "red oak" or "white oak", it can still refer to any number of trees within the category. For example, "red oak" may come from a northern red oak, a southern red oak, or some other variety. Conversely, "white oak" generally means that the wood comes from Quercus alba, the scientific name for the white oak. But there are also other white oaks, such as the Arizona white oak or swamp white oak.

How Big Are White Oak Trees?

White oak trees can grow up to 100 meters high and have a diameter of 50 centimeters. They mature and begin producing acorns in about 20 years.

Is oak wood environmentally friendly? Are Oak Trees Endangered?

Oak trees grow in abundance. Oak wood is generally a good choice in terms of environmental friendliness as it is sustainable and biodegradable.

How to care for oak furniture

The care of an oak piece of furniture largely depends on the way it has been finished or the measures taken to seal the wood. It is also better to avoid commercially available polishes and cleaners as they can often damage the finish.