HELP - need to pick a floor stain by tomorrow!

seosmpMay 29, 2013


I'm struggling to pick a floor stain from the samples the floor contractor has made up for me. I had narrowed it down but wanted to try a tad darker shade of one sample and tad lighter of another. I'd asked to do the new samples next to the original samples and then in another room with a bigger sample to get a better view. Well, he sanded out the original samples and left me with 2 new stains that are pretty darn dark!! I had taken pix of the original samples (3 of them though were just to show me the base colors).

I will have a dark island and cabinetry by the kitchen eat-in area, and the perimeter cabinets in the kitchen area will be a lighter glazed maple. The samples in the pix are close. Note I'm doing my ENTIRE first floor so selection is important! It's approx 1700 sq ft of wood.

I am going to include the first set of stains in the first post -- I was leaning towards the sample in the upper right, but was concerned it was a touch too light. (I'm looking for a medium to dark stain color, trying to avoid red tones, looking for brown tones).

Shoot - I didn't realize they'd be in separate posts, but please take a look at the 2 other posts which have 2 pics of the new samples (which are supposed to be only a "touch" darker than the upper right sample and touch lighter than lower right).

How am I going to get this right with them! They start staining tomorrow! Thanks!!

This post was edited by seosmp on Wed, May 29, 13 at 18:34

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Sorry this is confusing! Are there 2 samples at the top or just one? It's difficult to see colors on a monitor. Try to get a sample from a flooring company and have them match it. It's also difficult because stains look different when they dry and in different lights. They should be able to match a color of a floor that you show them. my painters matched my island to a chair, but it took 3 to 4 tries to get it right.

Good luck! I tend to like medium light floors as they're more forgiving.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 6:47PM
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I actually showed them pictures of what I was looking for and gave the formula (a friend's floor) but they use different base colors.

The top was actually 2 different samples, with the right being a slightly darker brown. I'll have to see what kind of floor places are around and open - they need it by mid-morning tomorrow!


    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:40PM
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If you choose a darker stain, you should be aware that the floors will show dust quickly. We don't really like our dark floors and are staining them lighter.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Wed, May 29, 13 at 19:49

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:48PM
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What are the names / mixes of your stain colors? Your top right looks similar to the water popped Jacobean we just installed (and love - medium brown, very little red on red oak floors.). We considered something darker, but went with this for bouncing lit / not showing every speck of dust.

The other stain we considered was Kona which is slightly darker and might be a good fit for what you're looking for. (Though to be honest that was the name our floor guy told me, but I haven't seen it listed anywhere, so am not sure exactly what it was.)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 11:06PM
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Thanks for replying!

The base colors are Ebony, Neutral, and Antique Brown (DuraSeal colors). These are the 3 he mixes to come up with the samples. He doesn't use Minwax.

The top left was 50% Ebony and 50% Neutral. The top right I'm not sure about, but it was a slightly darker brown than the top left, so maybe it had slightly more Ebony?

Would you have a picture of your Jacobean floor? I just actually picked up Jacobean and Red Oak Minwax stains to see if it would help in matching the Duraseal mixtures.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:05AM
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I like the top right. Warm, not too dark. Not too much grain making it look busy. All personal preference. Second choice would be the bottom right but hard to see.

Be very sure of your selection before letting anyone touch the floor. Can you get a large sample board made before committing?

This post was edited by snookums2 on Thu, May 30, 13 at 9:04

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 9:03AM
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They actually did 4 more samples for me in a different location..... top and bottom are the two that I plan to decide between (where top is a shade darker than the bottom). The 2 middle colors have a touch too much charcoal tone to them.

They are literally going to start staining in a matter of hours -- so I need to run home when they are ready and they will lay the light color down... and if I think I want it darker, they will lay the darker color down (under cabinet spaces so they won't show)..... so I don't think I can have a board made.... they resisted this when I asked earlier....

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:46AM
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seosmp-do these correlate at all to the first shades you posted? I think I like the one on the bottom (the lightest one - still warm). Is it the same as the one on the top right that snookums chose? I will reiterate what others have said with flooring that is darker, it shows everything. We have brazilian cherry which also reads red but it's still on the darker side and you see every speck of dust. Normally eh, not a huge deal but we are showing our house right now and trying to keep them dustless/spotless is nearly impossible!

Make sure you report back what you choose! Everyone loves pics!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:20PM
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I prefer the bottom shade, but it's hard to say without a larger and better photo. It reads warm, but not red.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:40PM
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I do have pics on my phone of the jacobean. I will try and get them up for you in a minute. And our floor guy uses duraseal as well.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:28PM
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We actually tried out Antique brown and coffee (I think) plus a mix because I'd seen it on Houzz, and we just didn't like the colors in our house - they looked muted / dirty to us on our floors, but we were both happy with the Jacobean (our contractor had also shown it to us on another job site so I'd seen a full floor of it and knew I liked it.)

And sorry it turns out I don't have a great picture - I clearly need to go back now that it's finished / polyed

Stain options, unfortunately with unequal lighting (Kona (I think) with water popping, Kona without, Jacobean with water popping):

Our floors mid install - still dirty, but it gives a sense of the color (and ignore the stair rail - we haven't gotten to that yet so is the original stain):

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:38PM
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And not our floor, but a Jacobean on red oak floor that our contractor showed us. Also saw it next to a white oak floor, and the stain read darker on that.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:44PM
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The clearcoat will darken your floor up, so pick one shade lighter than you'd like to end up with. I'd do the bottom one in the four stripe pic, and it will end up looking slightly darker, but still have enough of a prominent grain visible to help hide all of the dust and dirt.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Thanks for the pictures and input! Unfortunately I now am past the point of no return!!

They called me since they were ready to stain (I was at work). I popped home, nervous the entire drive -- they put the lighter of the two samples down under the cabinet area (maybe 5 feet) -- it is amazing how different it looks from different perspectives - I loved it from 10 feet away, but was nervous about the darkness when I stood 25 feet away.... this is basically the one in the upper right of the top picture (this is what they told me anyway). So after looking from various angles, I said let's do it! I definitely didn't want to go with the darker, and I didn't want to muck around with lightening it further. I had wanted medium to dark brown all along, and I figured to go with my gut.... I do have to say, I'M VERY NERVOUS how it will finally look, but I don't think I'd be able to tell between the 2 samples I was leaning towards anyway.... at least that's what I'm telling myself!!! :)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:16PM
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And it'll look different when the stain covers the entire floor. And then look different again when it's poly'd. :-) I remember waiting nervously down the street in our temporary house while our new white oak floors were stained. Its easy to doubt yourself, especially when, like me, you've never chosen floor stain before. Very exiting, too! Be sure to post some pics as soon as it's done.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Here's a picture of the floor in the foyer -- the final coat (where it's all made to look nice) will be done when the kitchen is finally done. So this contains just the sealer and one topcoat.

The color varies throughout the floor (based on the boards) -- it was a bit darker where they put the initial sample for me to decide, so the floor is a touch lighter than I thought it would be, but I still like it. Considering it's just about the entire first floor (less a bathroom and laundry room), I better like it! :)

Thanks again for ALL the replies - they helped a lot!

Now I have to figure out the baseboards (I'm switching from 3.5" to 5.25" baseboards)!! Suggestions there are welcome!! :)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Looks great! What was the name of the stain you wound up with?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:25PM
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I believe it was 50% Ebony and 50% Neutral (DuraSeal colors).

It is actually darkening up as it dries as well.... so it's growing on me!

This post was edited by seosmp on Fri, May 31, 13 at 19:18

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:14PM
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I really love this color. My floors will be stained tomorrow. I wish I knew for sure that is what you did!

    Bookmark   on Monday at 8:37PM
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