What is a good stain for Oak Flooring?

Zoe52February 2, 2014

Or should it just be plain?

We are planning on putting in oak flooring for cost reasons and because it is very sturdy. However, I don't like the typical stain done on it because it turns yellow.

I also don't like too dark a stain on it because it shows the dirt.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a stain color (or no stain and/or pictures of some oak wood that they like?

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The yellow color or "ambering" is not related to the stain color. From all I've read it is a result of an oil based finish. I did read one interesting blog recently that suggested first applying an oil based finish and then applying a water based finish. This goes against everything I know about finishes (my father was involved in formulating finishes of all types his entire career). The blogger claimed it was done in her house.

That said, my oak floors are a medium brown stain with an oil finish. After 12-13 years I don't really see any ambering. I think by the time you begin to notice it, it will be time to refinish the floors anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Why hardwood floors change color.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:58PM
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I am partial to no stain, but that might be because my oak floors are red oak. They look great not masked with stain.

And the above poster is right... the stain is not what ambers.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:50PM
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Beth Parsons

We chose to forgo the stain on our oak floors. I have kids and pets and by leaving the floors natural, repairing minor scrapes and scratches is much easier and less noticeable. We used 2 coats of a matte water-based poly as the finish and I love them.

Here are some pics of our floor taken just after we moved in last year.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Is that red oak? It is beautiful!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Beth Parsons

For the life of me I can't remember if it's red or white. It is #2 common grade as we wanted a more rustic look and the price was right. We've been in the house 13 months now and I love it as much as the day the poly was applied. We've had a few scratches here and there but you can hardly see the touchups because there is no stain to be scratched through.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 12:13AM
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