Issue staining Red Oak hardwood floor (Dark Stain)

GiuseppeMJune 8, 2011

Hi guys, I have a question I'd like to ask to the expert on the forum and to the members that have already dealt with this...

The contractor has just finished installing the hardwood floor on the first level, and he's gonna start the main level in a couple days.

I have told him that I like a really dark stain, I originally used a sample of the floor he gave me (4" Select or Better unfinished Red Oak) and I stained it with Minwax Jacobean.

I really liked the result...but unfortunately he forgot to mention that the stain gets darker on an unsanded surface...and so when he stained a couple square feet of sanded floor the result was a brown and yellow floor.

I understand Red Oak has a very particular grain, and it will take the stain differently than other species, but I didn't expect the yellow.

He also tried some Ebony but with a similar result.

I saw this pictures on a catalog, it's a prefinished red oak, very dark, and it seems the stain is more constant.

How do you achieve that dark tone throughout the whole floor?

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What you have in your pics is a factory finished floor. It is difficult to get that kind of consistent look when staining unfinished, especially if the unfinished has boards with mixed sawing characteristics. The face sawn material will take up and hold the least pigment and will be the yellow boards you are seeing.

We can sometimes get a more even look by using a sand grit sequence to allow more pigment to be deposited on the floor and by doing what we call waterpopping; you may still get variations, but it will look as even as it's going to get. I don't do this...but some of my colleagues will first use an analine dye and then, when it is dry, will follow that up with a pigmented stain.

Talk with your finisher.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 6:26PM
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Thanks I'll tell my finisher about that, i don't know which grit he used here but this is a sample we did of Jacobean + 1 coat oil based finish

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 8:41PM
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There seems to be a limit on how dark you can get a floor with stain (pigments). The brand makes some difference. Water popping can help to an extent. With dye you can get jet black if you want it. Dye is usually considered to be harder to work with. You need to be careful to use the correct brand as dye is more prone to fading than pigment. Another option is to add color to the finish coats but many floor finishers consider this a less professional solution. Also it can make the grain of the wood less noticeable.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 3:09PM
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I had the same problem when staining my red oak floors. My wood floor guy made some calls and discovered that adding some stain (10% ratio or less) to the poly darkened the floors the way we wanted.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 3:41PM
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