Lighter floors with darker staircase?

SilverlillyApril 24, 2012

Folks, I have a dilemma! We live in a century home (1905), and have been renovating - doing things in pieces and perhaps not in the right order...but that's the way it goes. We have red oak (I think) floors that had really darkened to a an orangey colour over time. Last year we had the staircase refinished, matching them to the floor, but in a more neutral tone (browner). Now, a year later, we are refinishing the floors, and are doing them natural to avoid VOC's in stain as I am pregnant. But the natural floor, with finish coat, will be several shades lighter than the staircase. Is this look ok? We are using Bona water based floor finish, so it is unlikely to darken much over time...What do you think about lighter floors with a darker staircase?

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Wood usually goes with wood, so I think it will look OK. I have stained staircases darker for clients that wanted that and all were pleased with their choice and the results.

As for your concerns about staining...I would not worry much about that if I were you, as something like Bona's DriFast stain dries so fast that the manufacturer claims that it can be coated in about two to four hours after application. I've never done that, however. I usually wait for the stain to dry overnight.

The Bona waterborne finishes do contain less VOCs than oil based, but there still is some. Because your pregnancy has you concerned, then perhaps you might want to stay at a relative or friend's house for a night or rent a hotel room. Also, window fans set to exhaust air from the house are very effective at moving fumes out of the house during the finish cure time. Bona finishes are mostly cured 48 hours after application and just about totally cured in seven days.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Thanks so much for this response! This is extremely helpful. They did not specify that they would use Bona stain - but they did say the fumes would be largely dissipated within hours, so I expect it might be Bona. The Finish is Bona Mega for sure. We will probably stain, and take your advice about the fans...If there seems to be fumes - do you think one night away would be enough to bring them down to comfortable breathing levels? I did take a sniff of the "test patch" and it seemed to be almost odourless by the time I came home from work!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:49PM
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Mega is a good choice for you. It is very unlikely that you will have any problems with odors from the finish.

The fan should only be used after the finish has set dry enough to walk on. Air movement across the wet product can adversely affect leveling of the finish film, so wait until the finish is dry before turning on a fan to exhaust any latent fumes to the outside.

Open windows on the opposite side of the house to draw in fresh air as the room air is exhausted out the other side.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 4:13PM
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Thanks! It's done - they used a Minwax stain that looks beautiful - what a change in the wood! The grain is amazing. The smell is strong, but we've had windows open and fans on (after drying!), and have barricaded ourselves into the the unfinished part of the house with plastic over doorways and it's not bad here at all, virtually no odour with windows open...all will be well tomorrow once the Mega is on. Thanks again :)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 9:33PM
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