Need fast: anyone REGRET dark hardwoods?

kelleg69March 31, 2009

I know some of you with dark hardwood flooring say that it does show dust, etc. but that you still would do it again, you love them, etc. Does anyone REGRET getting dark wood floors? One friend of mine has said they have been a pain. Hers are prefinished floors. Mine are white oak that will likely be stained a mix of Jacobean, Red Mahogany and Ebony (2/1/1). I like the color. I will try to post a pic. I know I want that color, but am not a "cleaner." But, i am also not anal about my house either...

Any thoughts? i will try to post a pic of stain.

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It is the one at the bottom. It is actually the same color as the one on top, but they wetted the wood on the bottom one--"popped the grain." I think it is a bit darker in real life.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:02PM
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That color will be ideal! Seriously. Our floors are stained super-dark ebony (like walking on a chocolate bar ... I'm in love), but that was the second try. When they installed the floor and stained it the color was remarkably similar to yours, and I have to say that while it wasn't dark enough for me it was a) v. pretty and b) v. friendly to not showing dirt! Seriously -- it's like the perfect middle-of-the-road.

How do I know? Because now I have the super-dark and it shows e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Luckily I'm like you and not anal about it, because if I were I'd probably be in an insane asylum or my family would've killed me for yelling.

Here's the "before" (which really looks like your color, or at least as your color looks on my monitor):

And the "after":

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:18PM
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In my mind dark floors make a room look smaller. I personally like any wood species with just a clear finish. It's bright and cheerful to me. I have a light beige tile downstairs and clear oak upstairs. I love them both. It's all a matter of preference. Try visiting libraries or friends' houses until you feel very comfortable with your decision. Don't rush. You'll have to live with whatever choice you make for a l-o-n-g time.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:21PM
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Darn, I answered both of you and then it lost it. Anyway, my house is pretty open and big, so I'm not worried about making spaces smaller. Rmkitchen, I love your house. I love your darker floors, but I also really like your first ones, so if you think that is what I am gettting, I am thrilled! How did you redo the floors? Did they have to re-sand and re-stain?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:28PM
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Thank you, kelleg! Yes, they resanded and restained. On the "bright" side (ahem), we'd had six+ months of construction in the house, so nearly all the furniture had been moved out anyway. And, because of the construction there were some dings, etc. in the floor, so with a "new" (more like refreshed) house we got a "new" (restained) floor. It's funny the way things work out, isn't it?

I guess because I'm a dark floor-aholic I can't see a dark floor making a room feel smaller as originalvermonter does -- I just see beautiful floors which make the room feel "grounded." Truthfully, the floors we had before (I mean when they installed them) were gorgeous, and everyone who came over would ooh and aah over them, but you know when you have a picture in your mind's eye? That was me (well, us) about the floors. But I'll tell you as I look at the detritus constantly scattered on our floor I do fondly recall the "before" color ....

I really think (and hope) you'll be happy! Can't wait to see pictures!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:39PM
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I hate our Brazilian Cherry floors. I didn't think they were that dark when we picked it out, since there are definitely darker choices out there. But they are dark enough to amplify any dust, scratches, and pet hair, and I'd change them in a second if I could, after only a year. They always look dirty. HOWEVER, your 'dark' will be different. You have a lot of grain pattern and more of a mix of light and dark, where ours look more solid color. I wouldn't worry about the floors you show if it were me.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:55PM
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kelleg, we had your color in our last house and they didn't show anything, and we have a cat and 2 boys. It's a great color--just kind of in between. It never showed dust.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 9:19PM
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Thank you all for answering. I think the oak with all that grain will help. My friend who regrets hers has more of a solid look--sounds like yours, rhome, though hers are pre-engineered oak (kind of made to look like walnut, I think). I think the grain pattern should hide stuff. I have a small dog who doesn't shed, so that is not a concern of mine.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 9:34PM
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I think its a medium color really and the grain should be forgiving. Also onsite finised floors are not as shiny as prefinished floors such as the brazilian cherry mentioned in the thread.

We have ebonized floors that are satin finished..we have no dog but we live on a busy city street. We do need to dust them a fair amount, but they tend to look ok. A client of mine has brazilian cherry and I think hers always look dirty. However, she is not the best at maintenance.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:38PM
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Fori is not pleased

Your color isn't that dark! It's beautiful and won't show dirt much at all. Do it!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:45PM
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"Also onsite finised floors are not as shiny as prefinished floors such as the brazilian cherry mentioned in the thread."

All Brazilian Cherry flooring isn't prefinished, nor shiny. :-) Ours does happen to be prefinished, but with a satin finish. I do think your grain pattern will make the biggest difference.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:52PM
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Thanks again, everyone. I do think it is darker in person, but not really dark--not ebony. Anyway, I hope it will be good. Like EVERY other decision, I second guess myself. I'll post pictures eventually. Right now, they will just do the newel posts, handrail and stair treads. The rest of the floors will come in a couple of months.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 11:06PM
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We have oak on the first floor, except in the kitchen & dining room where we have Brazillian Walnut. I like the oak floors, they are very warm and easy to care for, but I LOVE our dark Walnut floors!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 11:51PM
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Mine are ebony in the kitchen and dining room and on all of the stairs. In the living room I have red birch (I think...very light with a soft red cast) bedroom is bamboo in honey and the family room and my son's room are a medium to dark tiger wood. By far the dark ebony floors (stained oak) show every speck of dust and seem to have terminal cat hair dust balls rolling around the corners (I know I had the hair before but it was hidden in the horrible shag carpet). I have to vacumm more than I used to but frankly...I probably needed to vacumm more I just couldn't see it :) Despite the upkeep, I don't regret the floors a bit...not a one of them. It did however force us to buy a better stair vacummm (I now wear one of those professional ones on a back pack for janitors LOL). The tiger wood is pretty good at hiding messes (which is good given it's the family room) but not as good as shag carpet...the hides orange cat hair like a pro LOL But not as good as the shag....ahhh I miss that old varigated olive green and pink.....YA RIGHT!!!!

I think in the victorian we'll paint the current burgundy floors an ebony....more dusting, but worth it for the look :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 11:58PM
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I forgot to add...dark floors show volcanic dust like crazy!!!!! Avoid them in you live under a mountain that's smoking :oP

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:01AM
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we are in the middle of installing walnut floors, and I love them. They do show some dust and dirt (but we have a LOT of it now anyway) but they also hide a lot, if that makes sense?! The variance in color also helps to hide dings or dust, which is one of the reasons I chose it. I think with 3 kids and a dog it will be a wise choice.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:16AM
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Staining our floors dark (jacobean) is one of the best things we did in our house. Yes- as you know, they do show dust- but nothing a quick zip around the house with a dry swiffer doesn't take care of. If you're a dark floor lover, then you'll agree they just give a room a little more umph! I went back and forth on this for months- then I flipped through my clippings from home mags and saw one main constant- rich dark floors! Mine are red oak- sanded twice, water popped and stained with jacobean. Love them! Sometimes, I wish we went a little darker. All in all, they are really dark, but you can still see the variation in grain- which I like. I say go for it!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:37AM
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Go for it, you'll love it and it doesn't seem too dark. We did Special Walnut on our red oak and it hides dirt beautfully, I would call it medium dark. I wish I had gone a little darker, maybe added some Jacaobean or Ebony. But everyone talked me out of it. I say go with your gut and do what you love. Having the grain from the oak will definitely help hide the dirt.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 7:39AM
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What does water popped mean? Someone had mentioned it and I have never heard that term before. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:17AM
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Kelleg, our oak parquet floors are a similar color to your proposal - Red Mahogany stain put down first, then a layer of Jacobean atop to take out the purplish-red. I'd characterize them as medium-dark. They do show dust - and we have a LOT of it as our house is still under renovation - but it's not every little speck and the elegance of the dark color compensates for the extra cleaning. We had might lighter cherry-stained oak in our last house and that hid everything but was a more casual look, which we didn't want for this house.

Attached a picture (taken on a miserable gray day, but you get a good sense of the color).

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:57AM
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Igloochic - I've been reading the volcano situation - hope that everything works out okay!!!

Kelleg, I think that a lot depends on the light in the house. I had shiny, oak stained a walnut colour floors in my last house. In the southern parts of the house, the dust showed something awful. In the northern parts of the house, footprints showed something awful. I swore that I'd never go dark hardwood again.

But, in the new house, I realized that I'm a dark hardwood kinda person. So I had handscraped, UV oiled oak (stained a very dark chocolate) floors installed. No footprints bec it is a super matte finish. But fuzzy wuzzy cat dust bunnies do show up nicely, as do baby cookie crumbs. And, at this time of the year, dried dead grass clippings seem to be all over the floor....but I still love the floor.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 10:23AM
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we had really dark floors in our previous home. The showed every speck of dirt, dust and corgi hair. I still adored them. I got one of those Eureka cordless mini vacs and went over problem areas almost every day. They didn't need constant mopping (the chore I hate most). Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:53AM
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We have purchased extremely dark flooring, but haven't put it in yet... hopefully in the next couple weeks. I'm expecting it to be a bit more maintenance, but they are so gorgeous, i'm *thinking/hoping* it will be worth it. BTW, they are the same flooring that was in the Abercrombie & Fitch stores... and as the guy who sold them told me on the phone, "they're as black as the ace of spades" (hear this with a lovely south georgia drawl).


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:58AM
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I think yours is more of a medium/dark, and should hide a lot. We did handscraped walnut with a dark charcoal matte finish. So far, the oven is the only thing in use in the new kitchen, and yes, it does show everything that falls on it (especially white things like the cheese that inevitably falls off pizza on the way to the oven...).
We added large south facing windows, and in the next stage of remodeling we will add more to the west side, too, as more natural light was highest on my wish list. The dark floors will be through the kitchen, dining area, and living room. We have enough natural light that it doesn't seem too dark at all.
I like the dark floors enough to live with the need to dust them frequently, but with the size of our family, we need to vacuum often anyway.
One caution is that the sheen of your finish will affect the results. Higher shine finishes tend to show scratches more on darker floors than matte finishes do. We did handscraped matte finished floors so that the distressing that our floors will get will just add to the character. (I hope!).

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:56PM
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zeebee, are those parquet floors new or refinished? I have hideous 80's orange parquet in my *whole* house and would love to darken it, but am not sure it's possible. Yours look fabulous!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 2:15PM
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I have had both dark and light floors and I prefer the light. But.... my preference is not based on showing dirt. I prefer light because I think it shows less wear and tear, and also, it seems to make the room lighter and brighter which makes me happy -- I love bright and airy rooms. You should choose the floor that will make you smile every time you walk in the room.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 2:45PM
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I guess I'm the odd man out, but yes: I regret my dark floors.

Last summer [when I was making these choices] I was smitten by dark, rich, reddish browns. I still like the look, but not the maintenence, and my floors are matte finish that's far lower maintenence than anything glossy.

Every dog hair and fleck of dust shows. A shoe that isn't completely clean and dry leaves a track. Even in the upstairs master where I used cork in a similar color and dogs and shoes are very rare, maintenence is far more than I expected.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 3:25PM
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zeebee, are those parquet floors new or refinished? I have hideous 80's orange parquet in my *whole* house and would love to darken it, but am not sure it's possible. Yours look fabulous!

Thanks! Floors are new. Previous owner took up the original painted-many-times parquet and finished the pine subfloor, but it was too soft and clashed horribly with the other woodwork. Our floor guy put down plywood over the pine (so if the next owner wants pine, they can have it) and laid new oak parquet atop. Took two tries at staining it but it's now the color we love.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 3:28PM
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Zeebee....I have to be painfully honest with you....

I could really give a dang about what your floor looks like...what I really want to the rest of the house!!!!! If that room is a preview I want MORE MORE MORE....It's FABULOUS!!!!! (OK so the floor is nice too LOL but sheesh those moldings...the fire place....yummy!)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 3:55PM
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I started an update thread, but the stair treads and handrails got stained today and they look much darker. I am worried. Help! Should I go for it? I do love the color.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 6:27PM
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I too am anti-dark floors. The house we just sold had Brazilian cherry and it was beautiful right after it was clean but it didn't take long for that to be a distant memory. We are in a condo now while our house is being built and it also has dark pre-finished laminate. Thank goodness I am only renting! I can not keep them clean. They are driving me CRAZY! I too am normally drawn to dark woods but I've found some beautiful lighter floors that I will be choosing for my new home. I am a little picky about my house looking clean and with working full time and 2 busy, active children, I don't want to be bothered with hard to maintain floors. Just my little ol' opinion!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:06PM
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missstaceyh, What lighter color flooring will you be choosing for your new home? Were your Brazilian Cherry floors glossy? Thanks for letting me know. Did the darker floors darken the room?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:01PM
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