How to match red-orange color of tigerwood?

bsspewerOctober 20, 2011

My new floor looks amazing (Lumber Liquidators Brazilian Koa aka Tigerwood). I need to redo my stairs, which currently are Oak treads. I'd like to make the treads look similar to the flooring, however, solid tigerwood treads are extremely expensive (around $100 a tread).

Is there a wood + stain combination that can mimic the reddish-orange color of the tigerwood? I imagine Oak isn't a good choice, since the grain looks vastly different.

Any suggestions? This is all in an effort to keep costs down, while making the stairs look similar to the floors.

Attached is a photo of the room, and a photo of the floor. I don't have one of my stairs yet..

This photo is a little on the red side because it was taken at night under less than ideal light:

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Why not make treads from your flooring?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 12:45PM
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RRM1 - I was thinking of doing that, but the flooring is engineered, not solid. That's ok, I would just need a subfloor for each tread. But the bullnose w/ left or right returns might not look so good since they would be pieced together from a length of bullnose.

At this time, I'm exploring options. Right now my best option I know of is to do it that way. However, a solid tread that looks the same or close would be so much better.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 1:03PM
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How thick is your flooring? I think I would explore keeping the bullnose on the treads and routing out behind them deep enough to hold the flooring. Sand off finish on oak(?) bullnose and stain to match (or a little darker than) the inlay.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 1:53PM
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That's an interesting idea.. but it might be too much work to route the entire top of a tread.

I can't reuse the oak treads, because they don't have a return. There's a halfwall (pony wall) that serves as the handrail, and I'll be replacing that with open stringers.

btw, I wasn't sure if this was considered a flooring or woodworking question, since the original question was simply what combination of wood & stain can match the general red-orange hue of the tigerwood.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 2:08PM
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There is only one way to match the color.

Trial and error.

And, using dyes will be superior to stains because of the ease of mixing.

The hidden gotcha with matching is the finish. You can get the color close and an oil based stain changes that color significantly. And the finish on your flooring is much different than you will find in a store.

My wife bought new living room furniture when we bought this house. Since I am a woodworker and did remodeling for a bit, she decided to save money and not buy a sofa table---since I matched colors of trim and trim repairs in peoples houses---surely I could match the grain/color of the end/coffee tables.

I spent over $100 just non dyes and stains to try and do that. And I am not happy with the results. I did fare a bit better at matching the trim colors of the 1965 woodwork we decided to keep and add new. But---I had all that dye and stain from the sofa table.

It ain't easy, but it can be close.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 6:55PM
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Natural Cherry is pretty close to the light portions of tigerwood. Until the cherry ages deeper and gets warmer. How much cheaper could cherry treads be?
Off-the-shelf all you are going to find is oak and SYP, neither of which are even close.
Spalted maple would give you the dark streaks, then a (very technically tricky) stain job will yield the warm color required.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 7:09PM
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The matching may actually be more difficult than routering out tread behind the bullnose and return piece(s). It will take finding lumber that matches the grain and figuring of the flooring AND coming up with a sequence of stains that will come out looking like the flooring. If you could router out the interior of the tread, then chisel out wood to the border of the bullnose and return. Then cut some flooring to fit in the cut outs. It may sound more difficult but you have never installed new stair treads. Trust me, it is a lot of work. There is another possibility which is to see if L.L. has any real wood that matches the veneer you have.

And to answer your original question. Nobody knows what lumber and stainS will be best at matching a manufactured flooring of a rare species of lumber with a yet to be determined species of lumber and stain until they do it.

I have a couple of ideas how to start, but they're just wild ideas. Good luck. Keep us posted on your progress and questions you might have

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 8:05PM
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Ok..thanks for all the advice guys.

LL has solid tigerwood treads, but they charge close to $160 per tread. They do offer bullnose stair landing pieces, which can be combined with the floor planks to make the tread.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 10:29PM
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