Story at a glance:

  • Rift white oak a top choice when it comes to sustainable kitchen projects.
  • Rift white oak resists rot and is more resilient than red oak.

Consistency in design is crucial, whether it’s in architecture, interiors, or on the web. Many interior designers know to start with the color scheme, identifying which color will be part of each room.

You can incorporate color in many ways, and wood is one sustainable building material that can help create a cohesive look. Starting from the floor up, you can use wood as a neutral tone that allows flexibility with accent colors. While mixing and matching wood species can be eye-catching, white oak is a top choice of builders on the West Coast.

Not only is rift white oak a favorite; it’s also a top choice for sustainable kitchen remodels. Remodeling a small kitchen—on average 100 square feet—can cost a homeowner upwards of $10,000. Many new homeowners would rather skip the renovation 10 years later and instead invest in the bells and whistles upfront. By building what your clients want from the ground up you’re ensuring their happiness and likelihood they’ll spread the word, as well as their loyalty and trust knowing you’re designing what they envisioned.

Why White Oak?


Rift white oak cabinets from a hotel remodel by Woodstock Architectural Products. Photo courtesy of Woodstock AP

Rift white oak lands itself on the most wanted list for home builders and owners alike for many reasons—including that it’s rot-resistant. White oak is also water-resistant and more resilient than its counterpart, red oak, because of its tight grains and silica growing in the open grains.

White oak’s tight grains allow for a range of color options on the face of the wood and deep within the grain. Your eye focuses on the unique knots and curves of the growth rings within the grain; adding color to the wood is an easy way to enhance the characteristics of each individual piece. Who wouldn’t want to start with such a clean palette you can unleash your creativity upon?

White oak is an attractive light brown with a pale shade of grayish green that’s hardly noticeable to the untrained eye. To a casual observer white oak looks dark yellow or brown. Darker natural colors paired with its smooth linear pattern make it a preferred design and building option.

Why Rift Cut?


White Oak planks, raw lumber at Woodstock Architectural Products. Photo courtesy of Woodstock AP

A lot of the new custom homes are built using rift white oak for the cleanliness of the grain. There are four major types of wood cuts—plain sawn, quarter sawn, rift sawn, and live sawn. Rift sawn or cut wood is the perfect match for the modern and contemporary design look. The wood log is cut at a 90-degree angle to the growth rings, creating a perpendicular cut of four equal pieces. The three center rings are preserved and defined as a rift cut.

Rift sawn wood are high waste planks with straight lines that make the boards hard and durable. While it’s an ideal builder’s choice for cabinets, flooring, and moulding, it’s also more costly due to the amount of waste created during production. In Southern Nevada specifically, many luxurious multimillion-dollar homes are built with rift white oak features.

Solid vs Veneer

The interior design of a home normally takes place after the drywall has been added to secure its wooden frame. The cabinets and countertops act as a portal, transforming the house from a concept to a welcoming home. With cabinets, owners have the choice of solid wood or wood veneer.

Wood veneer is a commonly less expensive option to achieve most wood looks with the flexibility to get many consistent grains at one time. It’s inexpensive because only one log is needed to produce hundreds of veneer sheets that sit on top of a substrate. Apartment buildings and commercial constructions also rely heavily on the consistency and polished appearance of wood veneer.

Solid oak planks come from slow-growing trees, making them slightly more valuable but reasonably priced overall. Some describe raw, unfinished rift white oak as “gracefully tan” and “elegantly straight” because of its straight grain and color. For a more natural appearance in a large design, solid wood will get you hundreds of one-of-a-kind planks, while wood veneer will produce a look that’s visually similar. The unpredictability of solid wood makes it an interior designer’s clutch resource for authenticity.

Woodstock Architectural Products always has rift white oak in stock. Acquiring milled lumber for a large project usually has a one- to two-week lead time. Lumber transportation continues to be a challenge with a lack of qualified drivers, but Woodstock’s industry connections include our own oak dealer who provides all American lumber for our clients. My 30 years of expertise has often been called upon by builders, contractors, designers, and owners throughout the Las Vegas valley. I’ve consulted on numerous projects to identify the best wood species for a specific design.

Learn more about Woodstock Architectural Products


gb&dPRO members are recognized experts in their fields and contribute opinion columns as one of their member benefits. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and may not reflect the view of gb&d. We are committed to a diversity of voices advocating for high-performing, sustainable built environment practices. We’d like to hear what you think about this article or any of our other coverage. Send us an email at [email protected].