Yes! Red oak (Quercus rubra) is popular due to its durability, warm coloration, and overall classic look that can complement many natural, country, or classic kitchens. However, you should note that red oak isn’t as hard as other types of wood such as hard maple.
In addition, red oak has a distinctive grain pattern and color that may not fit everyone's taste. In the end, whether red oak makes a good butcher block for your home will depend on your specific preferences and needs.
Red oak butcher block countertops are quite durable and can withstand heavy use. With a tight, closed grain, red oak type makes it less likely to absorb liquids and stains. However, it may not be the best choice for you as it’s not as hard as some other types of woods like hard maple.
For example, consider that red oak has a janka scale of 1220, while hard maple comes in at 1450. Ultimately, the choice between oak and maple (or walnut or hickory) is a choice based on personal preference or wanting a harder or softer wood.
Red oak butcher block has a few, but not many, disadvantages to consider. For example, they require more maintenance than other hardwood types. For example, you may need to regularly oil your butcher block (unless you permanently seal it, which is what we recommend).
Butcher block surfaces also have a tendency to retain knife marks, scratches, and dents. The upside to this is that scuffs and dents add character and natural beauty to your butcher block, especially as the wood ages. Also, in terms of pricing, butcher block is more expensive when compared with other types of countertops like laminate or tile. It's important to weigh these disadvantages against the advantages before making a decision.
The strongest and most popular butcher block wood is hard maple. Maple is a great choice due to its density and durability. It is characterized by a tight grain, stability, and resistance to knives.
Maple is also highly resistant to bacteria and staining. Red oak butcher block is a great alternative to maple, especially for commercial applications. Besides wood species, you should consider that the durability and strength of the butcher block will also depend on the quality of how it was processed and finished.
Ready to place your order of red oak butcher block countertops, tables, barstools, etc.? Order here, or contact the Forever Joint Tops team here. Learn more about edge grain vs end grain butcher block if you aren't sure which to buy.