help me pick Bona stain color

weedyacresAugust 19, 2013

I've got old heart pine floors that I'm refinishing. I will use Bona Drifast stain and Bona Traffic. I'm looking at ordering the product online, but can't find a real good color swatch to pick a stain color. The best of them is linked below, but it's hard for me to differentiate, especially because they're all on oak.

I'm looking for a medium brown. Not reddish, not orangish, golden is ok. I think the 4 closest ones are: Nutmeg, Early American, Provincial, Puritan Pine. Can anyone help pick which one is likely best suited for my taste?

In case it matters, I will have some walnut mixed in. I've got some patching to do but not enough of the original flooring, so I'm going to do a decorative inlay sort of thing with walnut that we had left over from another floor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bona stain palette

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We mostly use DuraSeal so I can't help but I will point out one thing. If you're doing old Pine it will probably be red no matter what you use. Using a stain with a more green tone will help combat the red.
I have seen Nutmeg and liked it.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Can't help you much here; you already understand that different woods take stain differently...even how the wood is sanded and prepared will affect the final result.

I experiment with stain mixes on samples before I touch a floor with it. You should do likewise. Once you have the color where you want it and the stain is dry, apply a tiny bit of Traffic to the samples (you don't have to mix the two parts to do samples). That will give you a real good idea what your floor will look like finished.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:40PM
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JFC: The nutmeg does appeal to me.

Glenn: I'd love to experiment, but how would I get samples to do that?

I should say that I'm not super picky. I don't have a specific, precise shade in mind that I'll be miserable if I don't get. Just don't like orange-y floors and want a medium shade.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:18PM
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You can't get samples, unless you know a floor finisher that has about six different stain colors in stock. Since you like the nutmeg idea, get some and see what it does on the wood. Then, look at the result and if you think it's not quite where you want it to be, then get a can of another color that is either is the ticket or maybe mixed with the nutmeg will get you closer.

I think you can only get DriFast in quarts now, so the expense of getting a few cans to experiment with cost alot.

You might be able to snag a DriFast stain fan set that will have the actual stains applied to oak. It might cost you a few bucks...or find a flooring materials dealer who sells Bona products and has a sample set you can get a close look at.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:33AM
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"so the expense of getting a few cans to experiment with WON'T cost alot." what I meant to say.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:35AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Heart pine looks best unstained. It blotches badly when stained dark, and is difficult to even stain lightly without blotching. If you don't have enough scrap to experiment quite a bit, then the best course would be to leave well enough alone and just put a top coat on it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:52AM
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Hmmm, it's stained right now.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:25PM
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OK, now having thought about this a bit, I know pine isn't the greatest of woods to stain, and I'm thinking perhaps the above wood is just yellowed poly, not stained. So I'm a little worried about staining making it blotchy, but also about just poly being too orange.

Given that I can't get small samples of Bona stain, would it be a sufficient test to get some small cans of Minwax stain and poly, or whatever Lowe's sells, and try them out on some pieces to get an idea for how well the wood will stain/what it will look like with just poly?

I've also got a time issue, because we're scheduling labor day weekend to do the big floor refinishing project. So I need to decide soon so I can get the stuff ordered and shipped.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:58PM
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If you start with a stain sealant (basically clear shellac) it evens out the "grabbing" problem.

I think what you see is just ancient yellowed finish.

Given that this is not a primary residence and not a "forever" home, I'd lightly sand and then apply a clear finish and call it good.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:27PM
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