Refinishing White Oak Floors: Stained or Natural?

CassandraNovember 19, 2010

Did anyhere stain oak floors a darker color? I am torn between going natural or putting down a medium brown stain. If you did stain yours, what color stain did you use? Also, any thoughts on what color the floors might have been stained when they were installed in 1913? Did people leave them natural then? Here's a photo of the current natural color.

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Natural for sure! I have very rarely seen them stained (beyond maybe a slight amber with polyurethane) in houses that age (ours is 1915, and our dining room looks almost like yours except the built-in is gone now! :)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Thanks artemis. Anyone else want to weigh in here? Looking at my photo I realize I love the color and the variation in boards just as they are. What I'm worried about it that refinishing without stain will lighten the floors or turn them that grayish-white of new white oak. My flooring people said they would lighten "somewhat" but not to the extent of my fears. BTW I will be using oil based poly for the amber tones.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 6:24AM
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They will be lighter for a while when newly finished, but will darken with age. My oak floors are rather light, but were covered in carpet for 75 years, perhaps inhibiting some darkening?

Your floors look just like my fir floors on the top floor of my home. I love the variation and the red color- very warm. The floor in my 'office'-bedroom are dark, and I can't wait to refinish them to a lighter color, as they seem to make the room darker.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 12:33PM
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FWIW, the grayish white oak that you see these days is actually a different species---European---so you're covered there. They will lighten a bit after they're sanded, but should darken again with a little time.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 2:11PM
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You can stain them. I have seen them in ipswitch pine or provincial and IMO it gives a nicely toned-down "instant age" look.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 2:32PM
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