Staining Pre-Finished Floors Darker...

Jenna326August 8, 2012

Hi there! I've been a lurker on these forums for quite some time and I've always been able to find the answers to whatever my questions were... this time is different however so I figured I would start my own thread.

We recently moved into a home with 16 year old Bruce 3/4" prefinished floors in a reddish Gunstock Oak/Cherry color throughout the first floor. My husband and I really love the look of dark floors and are considering having them refinished in a Dark Walnut/Jacobean stain. The first contractor who came told me he wouldn't be able to make our floors that dark due to the bevels... saying that the current stain in the bevels would not be removed. He recommended Provincial as the darkest we could go. He then said other contractors may tell me I CAN go that dark just for my business, but that I'll be unhappy with the final result.

Sure enough, contractor #2 said it would not be an issue going darker and said Jacobean would look great with some water popping!

I'm curious as to what the truth is when it comes to going darker with prefinished floors. Though I understand Contractor #1's reasoning surrounding the bevels, wouldn't that only make a difference if I was going lighter? I already feel the bevels are a darker color than the 'top' of the floor - perhaps that's 15+ years of dirt - and I'm having trouble understanding why they wouldn't look right?

Thank you so much for all your suggestions and advice - I really appreciate it!

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Sophie Wheeler

How big are the bevels? You'd have to use a big old drum sander and sand down past them to smooth the floor out if you want to go as dark as you say you do. Does the floor have that much thickness to be able to take that much off? And are you really a masochist who wants to spend your life with a swiffer in your hand? Dark floors are a huge increase in maintenance. They always look dusty/dirty, even 5 minutes after you clean them. Some people find he additional work worth it, but the vast majority of people with real lives HATE living with them.

I'd suggest an experiment to see if you are going to fall into that camp. Buy a large piece of masonite at the hardware store and paint it with a semi gloss floor paint in a chocolate brown color about as dark as you think you want to go. Do a second coat. Let it cure for several days. Now put that baby in the middle of your busiest traffic path. Live with it that way for a couple of weeks and see how you feel about the dust and dirt showing. If you can live with it and it not drive you nuts, then you might be a candidate to have dark floors.

And in the meantime, get more quotes from more flooring professionals and ask them about how much sanding they'll have to do to get past the bevel and what it would look like if they didn't do that much sanding.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:44AM
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Jenna326

Hi! Thanks for your input! We did do a sample of Dark Walnut on an 8" long board and actually love it! With the variation in color from the wood grain I don't think dirt will be AS noticeable as it would be on a solid color floor. I'm sure you're right though - we'll have to swiffer a bit more and my Roomba will start getting much more use! :)

So you agree that the bevels need to be completely gone to stain a darker color? Currently the bevels are large enough to see them... they are just about the width of a credit card but are not deep enough to hold one up... Both contractors said they would only sand away a very small amount of our floor and that a small bevel will remain. I just don't want to 'fall' for the one that said we CAN go dark only to find out we CAN'T once we've they've been sanded away. We are only really refinishing to change the color, the floors themselves are in decent enough shape.

Thanks again for your help!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 8:23PM
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