How much does polyurethane darken the wood?
As part of a major home renovation project we just had our floors (original white(?) oak floors, 1927 house) sanded and refinished. The floor guys had sanded part of the floor in one bedroom and applied several different stains to show us what some of our options were. The old floors were a very dark brown but we really preferred the light color of "natural" that they showed us, so we specified that. The floors had been badly damaged over the years (in part by somebody's bad DIY sanding job in a previous renovation) but after sanding they were beautiful and incredibly light-colored; it was amazing how much it brightened up the house!
We knew they would be darker when finished but when we looked in last night, the floors were surprisingly dark--not nearly as dark as previously, but much darker than we expected; my first thought was that they had used one of the darker stains by mistake but our contractor says there was no stain at all, just the polyurethane on unstained wood. So... just how dark will polyurethane, with no stain, make a newly sanded oak wood floor? And can we expect the floors to lighten much once the polyurethane is completely dry? We looked in again this morning and the floors seemed mostly dry, but the color doesn't seem to have lightened much, if at all.