Mixing red oak and white oak-does it matter?

coastal_modern_loveMay 23, 2011

I am renovating a home and have some spaces with original white oak floors that I am sanding and staining (second floor). Some rooms on the first floor had to get new flooring. My builder thought it would be ok to use red oak on that first floor without asking me. I told him to use whatever we had upstairs. His reasoning was they hardly ever use white anymore and red is better. Skip forward to today when I met the floor finishing guy. He tells me the species of woods are different and although they are both oak, they will have different results when stained. I plan on using a walnut stain Minwax special walnut or Cabot coastal gray. The two spaces can not be seen at the same time. Should I forget it and take the lesson learned or should I push for some kind of remedy?

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If the floors are in...what would be the remedy? If the contract (if you have one) states 'white oak', then you may have a remedy, because it is not what you agreed upon in the contract.

Since they will not be seen together, it's not going to be a big deal. However, the floor finisher is right, you may notice a difference. If your finisher is topnotch, he may be able to get both floors to look very similar in the end.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 9:39PM
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My contract says "replace wood floors". The are replacing what was white oak. Does this mean the could have replaced with carpet, anything they had laying around? I assumed the wording means to put down what was there before. A remedy option is make them rip it out for white or "replace" my $$ for what I paid for the red. Or a simple I'm sorry would suffice. But they are sticking to "it is better and we did you a favor". Before we paid for the floor I DID specify to use the same wood as the upstairs, he then said it was red oak upstairs. His mistake. We find out later it was white upstairs.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 7:07AM
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He should have known the specie...easy to tell.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:45PM
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If all your contract said was "replace wood floors" you are lucky you didn't get pine. If you don't specify the material in writing you are stuck with contractor's choice.

They will stain a bit different, and red oak tends to age to a redder, but if they aren't visible at the same time, it's not going to be obvious. Red oak tends to have more prominent figures in the grain.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 7:18PM
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To clarify our contract:
We have an *atypical* contract arrangement. It was a whole house water damage situation and many things were staying the same and many things were being upgraded. The contract was written in a way that we choose materials and pay as we go. The builder listed every item that was being worked on and estimated cost, labor separate and every item had to be approved by us before he began. Every item and finish we decided on was purchased by him as we approved it. We were given his receipts of all purchases (down to the nails!) on a monthly basis. When the time came for a finish decision, we had a meeting to choose materials and discuss cost. We would then give the go ahead and he would purchase the materials. When we were ready for floors, he called me down to choose size and material. He said the current floor upstairs (that did not get damaged) was red oak. I told him to go ahead and get the same for main floor, but to use a wider plank. His mistake in identifying the wood. We finished the whole house 2500 sq ft like this with no problems and excellent outcome, except for this floor mistake.

I guess if you are saying it won't be noticeable since they are not visible at the same time, I will not pursue any further. I think we have a good arrangement with our builder and don't want to burn bridges as this is the last item on our project. And I feel a little better as you are both telling me the difference will not be noticeable. Let's see what happens next week. I've been putting off staining until I felt comfortable with the outcome.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 8:16PM
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