Aging yellow birch flooring
I’m new to the forum. My husband and I own a 1930’s cottage style home and are planning a kitchen, eat-in area addition to the home. If you are familiar with Gordon Van Tine kit homes, my house appears to be a knock-off of the Hudson model.
The entire house has yellow birch floors and we would like to use yellow birch in the addition. However, I’d like the floors in the new space to blend in with the old floors. Is there a fool proof method for quickly achieving the look of aged yellow birch? The existing flooring has an orangy glow and some red as well.
Thanks for any advice!
Welcome to Breaktime vtcottage!!
I do not have any good answers for you, but hopefully someone else here will
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Wood gets part of its patina through exposure to UV light, part from age, and part from yellowing of the finish. Get a tanning bed bulb, wear protective goggles, and expose yourself! I mean, expose the wood.
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Tha orangy glow could very well be partly from amber shellac. Use a little denatured alcohol on a rag, and rub it on the floor. If the finish dissolves, its shellac.
matching new wood to old can be very difficult. Its mostly trial and error, and if you do manage to match to colors now, the new floor will continue to change color as it ages.
I replaced a patch (approx 8 square feet) in the middle of a yellow birch floor. Before I started, I bought very small cans of several types of stain and varnish, and applied it to sample boards. I used the one that came the closest. There was a very slight different at first, but after a month or two of exposure to the sun, the new boards yellowed to the exact color of the surrounding floor. I may have just been lucky, but the sun defanitely helped my cause.
The only foolproof way to match to old is to refinish the old.
But back in that time period it was common to use shellac on floors and wood wainscot. The colours you describe sound like an amber tinted shellac. Try testing some on a piece before doing the whole. You can thin it with denatured alcohol if too dark.
Part of that colour comes from UV light aging it as well. That just takes time.
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will experiment with shellac to see how close I can get.
One advantage of shellac over stain is that it is reversable--if you don't like the color, you can remove it with alcohol or laquer thinner. (But I would definitely test a small patch where it won't be seen--like behind a door or in a corner first.)
Shellac can be found in many colors ranging from nearly clear to orange to reddish brown to dark brown. It is repairable if scratched. Doesn't handle alcohol (as in alcoholic drinks or perfume) well and ammonia will ruin it.
Shellac adds chatoyancy and really makes birch look good--pops the grain on birch and gives a depth and brilliance like you are looking at it through water and it changes as the angle of light (or viewing) changes, like a cat's eye gemstone.