Help! My new oak flooring has way more active graining than o

mkotschnigAugust 3, 2014

Hello all,

We just replaced a mix of flooring (tile in the hall, stick on tiles(!) in the kitchen) with red oak. The goal was to have it all look as nice as the adjoining existing red oak flooring in the living/dining room area--which we sanded and refinished when we did the new floors. Our flooring guy used a Golden Oak stain and then oil-based polyurethane.

We were away for the week when this was being done (I know, I know...) and I was so excited to get home and see the end result. Unfortunately, the new flooring has much more active, prominent graining than the old (it's kind of psychedelic!), and not only does it look different from the adjacent flooring, but it's just way too "active" for my liking (see old vs. new floor transition in photo below. Floor is actually more gold in color than this pic shows, but you get the gist).

My question is this: I know of course that staining brings out any grain more. I don't want to have to do this, but if we had it re-sanded and just put coats of oil-based poly down, would it help minimize the wild graining (enough to make it worth it)? Are there any other options available to us?

A second question is, why is this wood so much more grainy? He used "select or better," which I would assume wouldn't have quite so much graining to it, but I am new to this.

Appreciate your thoughts on this, and thanks!

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lazy_gardens

"if we had it re-sanded and just put coats of oil-based poly down, would it help minimize the wild graining"

No.

"A second question is, why is this wood so much more grainy?"

Is the whole floor that wild or just this area?

Wood varies ... he should have mixed boards from various boxes to break up clusters like this into wild boards here and there.

If the mill that cuts the boards sends them straight to the tongue and groove machines and then straight to the boxes you can have boxes that mostly came from the same tree, or chunk of tree, with similar grain.

" He used "select or better," which I would assume wouldn't have quite so much graining to it, but I am new to this."

http://www.sandmanfloors.net/Oak_Flooring_Grades.html

the oak grading refers to the knotholes, mineral marks, etc. not grain patterning. What you have is select or clear

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:02AM
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live_wire_oak

Perhaps a mix of rift and quartered would have suited you better, but that doesn't come cheap.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:34AM
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mkotschnig

Thanks for both of your responses--I really appreciate it. The whole area of flooring that he put in is as wild as the stuff on the top part of the photo--the entire kitchen, entry way, and kid's hallway. So, the whole batch was pretty much like this--wild is right. Whereas my existing floor has maybe 20% of boards that are heavily grained, this new flooring is about 80% wild!

Is that abnormal for about 650 square feet of flooring to have this much "wild" boards in it? What would one expect, on average? I'm just trying to figure out what I can do about it. It's just very much not what I wanted, and not at all like the flooring that is right next to it. So sad!

Super neophyte question: as a compromise, is it possible for him to replace some of the boards selectively--just to mix some "mild" boards in there and break it up a bit?

Thanks so much for your help.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:12PM
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mkotschnig

Here are comparison pics of 1) the existing flooring I wanted to match (and dog):

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:39PM
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mkotschnig

And, 2) here's what all the new flooring looks like::

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:41PM
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Sophie Wheeler

There's a lot of rift sawn boards in your original floor. Would you have been OK spending at least 50% more on the floor?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:27PM
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lazy_gardens

He could selectively replace some boards, but it's a PITA and would require more sanding and finishing - and a floor only has a certain number of sandings in its life.

Give it a couple of months and see if you still feel it's too wild. I think it's LOVELY. And it matches the dog.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:21AM
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chas045

I doubt that anyone coming to your home would notice anything unusual about your floor except that it is newly finished. I think it looks beautiful. You apparently didn't worry about those wild boards in the original floor. They are quite visible if you are looking for them AND unimportant if you aren't.

Until you get used to it, you might want to paint some stripes on the dog. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:18AM
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mkotschnig

Hello all,

thanks again for your input everyone.

Hollysprings, if I had known ahead of time that that is what it would have taken to match the floors better, I actually would have paid the premium for rift sawn. I have been dreaming about these floors being done for 8 years now and wanted then "just so." :)

But, I hear what you are all saying about just living with it a while and seeing how it settles in. There's good sense to that (always, right?). I assume the pinkish undertone of the new wood settle a bit as it ages? That may help too--less orange, tiger-y stripes, the better.

Regarding Toby the dog, I'm thinking of shaving in the zebra stripes on him--much less toxic than the oil-based stain.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:43AM
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