White oak has a brown or tan finished color, while red oak is actually lighter in color and has a pinkish hue. Because they have a different density, they will absorb a stain color differently and won’t match each other when stained.
99% of all staircases are red oak- stair treads, spindles, posts, risers, and stairs. 90% of flooring in homes built after 1950 are made of red oak.
Most floors with accent borders are white oak. White oak has more mineral streaks in its overall appearance.
When a contractor does a flooring repair quite often they will put in the wrong oak. Many contractors cannot tell the difference between the two species. Make sure you get the right one, especially if you are trying to match existing wood flooring or details.
The photo shows the difference between White Oak(top) & Red Oak(bottom).