Heartwood and sapwood are similar, with sapwood lighter in color. Most pieces have a reddish tone. Slightly redder than white oak.
Open, slightly coarser (more porous) than white oak. Plainsawn boards have a plumed or flared grain appearance. Riftsawn has a tighter grain pattern, low figuring. Quartersawn has a flake pattern, sometimes called tiger rays or butterflies.
More than 200 subspecies in North America. Great variation in color and grain, depending on the origin of the wood and differences in growing seasons. Northern, Southern and Appalacian red oak all can be divided into upland and lowland species. Because tey grow more slowly, upland species have a more uniform grain pattern than lowland species, with more growth rings per inch.
Stains well and demonstrates strong stain contrast. Red oak generally works better than white oak for bleached floors because it is more porous, and because tannins in white oak can discolor the floor.