staining h/w oak floors darker ?
I spend more time over @ knots, but we need to refinish our h/w floors. My wife isn’t a big fan of the color (tradition “honey” from oak w/ oil stain). Does anybody have any experience / picutres of oak floors that have been stained darker before refinishing? I’m worried it’ll still look a lot like oak and will darken up the entire house (all of 1st floor and stairs are h/w).
Obviously it's a matter of aesthetics and can't be judged out of context. Looking at someone else's space won't tell you much about your own unless the light is similar etc.
Personally I hate stained wood for flooring. The biggest problem is that every scratch, and there WILL be some before you get around to re-finishing it yet again, will show through in glaring white. Yes, you can fudge those scratches with a wax pencil to make them less noticeable, but it's still a PITA that I don't need. Scratches, dents etc. in a solid-coloured wood floor tend to give the floor some character, but on a stained floor they just make it look damaged.
This sounds like a big enough project that you could make some samples.
Buy a sheet of 1/4" oak ply and cut it into 3 or 4 sections. Stain them different shades and see how they look in each area.
I'm a fan of "darker" but it can be too much if you're not careful.
By the way, I don't think you'll ever be able to finish a whole floor and lose the look of oak. That grain pattern and contrast are difficult to mask.
“The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds..” – Hume
Edited 2/14/2007 10:03 am by JMadson
If this is old oak hardwood flooring (quarter or rift sawn) then I doubt oak plywood will give a very good rendition of what will happen.About the best choice is to sand the floors, then do some small areas in the colors you are considering. 2' by 2' seems pretty good, just be sure to consider the light at different times of day. When you get close to the color you like, wipe some mineral spirits over it to see what the final effect will be. It will probably be a little bit darker than the stain alone. Let the colors sit a day so you can see them in different light.Then sand off the tests.
We just redid our oak floors last year. The wife wanted them to be almost black, we settled on a dark, dark brown, similar to walnut in color. They look pretty handsome, but they show every spec of dust that enters the house, so plan accordingly for your increased clean up time.
The two floor guys I know, my best friend and brother-in-law, both use Bona products and they seem to work well.
As was mentioned in an earlier post, do your rough sanding, but before you do your last grit on the drum sander, tape off some 2x2 ft squares and do stain samples right on the floor. You'll sand them off on your final drum pass.
Edited 2/14/2007 12:18 pm ET by fourquarter
If you use Oil Based Top Coat it will darken further over time as the oils age.
Water based doesn't change what the stain color will look like.
I once put a dark walnut on a oak floor and hated it. I like the natural color myself.
All, thanks for the help / guidance (and pics). I'll share the attached pics w/ my wife and see what my next steps are. I definately have concerns that'll darken up the house. We don't seem to get enough light in the house as is.
To look less "like oak" you need to even out the contrast in the grain, which is one of oak's defining characteristics. Doing this has less to do with the stain color you choose (although a really light color won't work), and more to do with the type of stain, how you apply it, and whether/how you fill the pores. The folks on Knots can probably tell you a great deal about how to even out the color variation in oak using either alcohol based dyes or gel stains over a sealing coat or grain filler. Gotta add that using most pore-fillers over 1500 or 2000 sf would be an enormous PITA."If the trout are lost, smash the state."