What color stain on red oak floors?

Kristen HallockMarch 29, 2013

What color stain should I use on my red oak floors? My cabinets will be natural maple. The floors will be finished with a satin polyurethane.

I have seen some pictures of Special Walnut on red oak flooring that look nice. I want something to make the floors more brown and Less yellow/golden. But I don't want really dark floors either.

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from testing several stains on my alder cabinets, I found special walnut is slightly reddish. jacobean stain is more brown. dark walnut is also more brown. you might think they are too dark though. and your results might differ since you are using on red oak. good luck!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 3:45AM
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We mixed Jacobean and special walnut on our red oak floors. It was a 75/25 mix but I forgot which was which. You might try a small can of both and experiment.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 7:10AM
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Jacobean has green in it to knock down the red and add black. Might not bother you, but I didn't like it. We used Provincial.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:50AM
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Kristen Hallock

Just from seeing pictures online, I don't want anything as dark as Jacobean. Even provincial could be too dark, but some pics of provincial on red oak look light enough for me.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 12:52AM
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To avoid the yellow/ amber tones on oak, stay away from using oil based finishes which are, by nature, amber colored.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:16AM
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How about just going with the natural color vs a stain. I suspect our floor is red oak - it was a dingy gray when we moved in to our house but surprise - it came out quite nice with just the natural finish and polyurethane.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Kristen Hallock

A2gemeni - the natural color is what we have now and it's very yellow. Plus it's too close to the color of the maple cabinets. I'd like some contrast.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 5:48AM
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Thank you for clarifying. I will be watching for pictures.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:06AM
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We refinished our entire upper floor of 35 year old, very amber, red oak. After sanding the wood looked so bright and clean that we went with Bona Naturale, a very durable low sheen water based finish. It looks fantastic! We have a combo of rift oak and teak cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 12:01PM
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We went with Cherry stain on our red oak so clearly we we were going for different looks. :)

I just wanted to clarify - I think a2gemini was suggesting not using any stain at all, just polyurethane. Our floors were stained with Natural before we refinished them and I also found it way too yellow. It still might not be enough contrast for you, but it's another option.

I've linked to a thread on flooring I liked. Check out northcarolina's floors 2/3s down.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Decorating thread

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Kristen Hallock

Is there actually a stain color called "Natural"?

I was thinking that a2gemini meant no stain at all. And currently my floors are not stained at all. They have some kind of cheap finish on them, according to 1 hardwood guy. Both hardwood refinishers I had come out to look at the floors and give me a quote suggested oil based polyurethane. Does that REALLY make your floor yellow? The 1st guy said not to stain the floors, just use oil based poly to bring out the color in the red oak. The 2nd guy could see how I would want a light stain to make it more brown colored.

Here is the color of the floors now. I dont like this color. I want a bit darker.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Our floor guy used Minwax, and they do indeed have a yellow-ish color named Natural. He stained samples of Natural, Cherry, and multiple layers of Cherry (or maybe we tried Gunstock? I can't remember) on the sanded floor for us and let us choose. Then he sanded that area again and stained with Cherry. I would ask the companies who quoted if that might be a possibility for you. It was really helpful to see the colors in place with our own lighting.

Looking at Minwax's colors, I would try Special Walnut and Early American. Everyone absolutely loves our Cherry floors (it's a bright, warm, medium shade, not anything like the dark reddish furniture you see sometimes), so that might be an option too. I don't think it reads orange or yellow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Minwax

This post was edited by hoffmalr on Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 18:13

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:12PM
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