bleached oak floors...too dated????please help

jwinsNovember 30, 2008

Hi all...I am in a dilema and would love all of your input. We are redoing our kitchen and taking out some walls, etc. I need to have the same flooring as the rest of the house..the other area is too small for seperate floors and would be too broken up. Right now the floors in the whole area minus the small existing kitchen is bleached oak. Even going up stairs, upstairs hallway, into master bedroom and even the railings on stairs. Basically the floors really coordinate and pull together so many aspects of the house.

Now here is my problem..

I only want wood flooring for the renovated space downstairs..basically it would be as soon as you walk in front door..pretty much whole first level. okay..if i put in new wood floors than i will have to match/replace wood on stairs, upstairs hallway, railings. That is something that is not in the budget. Originally I thought my only option would be tile that would coordinate with the bleached oak..but I desperately do not want tile in my whole first floor. So, I just was thinking that I could add new oak in kitchen and resand/stain entire fist floor and hopefully it would match up with stairs and railings.

So..what do you guys bleaching way too dated? And for anyone who might impossible might it be to match 20 year old bleached oak to brand new bleached oak?

Any help would be VERY much appreciated. I have been reading this forum for a very long time now and you guys have helped me make so many decisions (just from lurking!)

Thanks again!!

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I think bleached oak is somewhat dated, but it's really what you like. I'm not sure that you can sand the existing and get it to match a new floor, unless you are doing an onsite finished floor throughout. I would talk with a floor refinisher or two to get their opinion. I think you have to do it all or do something very different for the kitchen so that it's clear you wanted something else in there. Could do a darker floor for contrast with the oak. Also check out flooring stores for pricing. We got a beautiful Brazilian cherry (real) wood floor for the price of a basic oak found at the big boxes -- just because the flooring place really needed the business.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:10AM
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Thank you for your quick response! I would not be opposed to an onsite finish, I think it may be the only way. Let me ask you your opinion on this..My house is a front to back walk through front door and living room kitchen and dining room is all on same level. then, straight back is set of stairs going up with balcony straight across. so, when you walk in front door you see stairs straight ahead. i love the way it looks that the floors and stairs blend. Not my first choice by any means, but how do you think it would look if the stairs stayed white oak (I have runner going up) and the floor beneath (first floor) was different wood? I just cant seem to get passed this problem. I cant plan anything else without figuring this out. so annoying! Thank you again.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:23AM
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jwins - do you have a picture to post? I have a hard time picturing your description.

One thing would be that you could put tile in just the entry and then another wood color elsewhere to break it up.

As for dated. I still like the bleached oak, but I do think there was an era when it was popular and then not so popular so some might view it as dated. I think what matters is what you like and enjoy having around you.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 12:12PM
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We are in a 15 year old colonial and the entire first floor was bleached oak including the kitchen/family room. Everything is open and flows from room to room.
The floor in the kitchen needed to be sanded and restained but the living room & dining room that are rarely used and covered with very large rugs were in perfect condition(and beautiful). I originally was not going to change the finish and was working around the bleached oak floor. Also, if you choose to add wood floors to match the other bleached rooms we were warned they probably wouldn't match.
In the end, and after much pricing, I ended up biting the bullet and refinishing the entire first floor and the stairs & btw, went semi-dark. We were also thinking in terms of future resale, although we believe,we won't be selling for another 10 years minimum. We are complete except for the railing. That cost was prohibitive, and we thought about just buying a new railing. My husband and I are going to tackle that job this winter, after the holidays and if it turns out really badly we may just paint to match the ballisters which we are painting white.
We have carpeting on the second floor so that wasn't an issue.
I would think you have the option, to do the first floor and not touch the stairs since you have a runner but somehow address the railing.
I still like the bleached wood floors but I am glad I did it.
If you live in NJ, I have a wonderful refinisher to recommend. His pricing was the best and his work matched. He worked with us, so we didn't have to move everythng out of the living room and dining room at 1 time.
good luck.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 1:36PM
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I have bleached oak in my living room, dining room, and entry foyer. I was going to have them sanded and stained darker to match my new kitchen addition, but I was told they would never match because they were bleached.
I kept the bleached floors and went with a darker color in the kitchen.
It's fine, but I would have preferred one color. However, I still get compliments on my "white wood" floors.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 2:53PM
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Pickled oak floors are really "in" right now, and would make a good transition to the bleached oak. It's a very pretty look.
All interior design is fashion, and it all "dates". Ultimately you have to go with what you like. I think the bleached oak is due for a comeback anyway.
You might also consider lightly bleached pine if you don't mind the dings and dents, that's a look that doesn't seem to age or "date". You could also do a bamboo floor (industrial grade only, the other dents if you press your fingernail into it) or a cork floor, it would be obvious that these materials are present by choice.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 3:52PM
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Thank you for all of your input. I am going to try and post pics to give you a better idea of my space. Its just so hard to explain. My main problem is matching the first floor (kitchen included) to the stairs which are also bleached oak, but I do not want to change. I think I may end up with a travertine, or limestone or porcelain. I just am in such a quandry over this...ugh!!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Actually, I think that bleached oak will be the next "in" thing as a reaction to all of the dark woods and dark flooring currently in vogue. People don't like how high maintainence the dark flooring is, and the pendulum will swing the other way to light colored woods and flooring within the next 5 years. Then, there's always the classic medium oak color that never goes out of style and remains a staple. That would be my choice if it's achievable.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 8:55PM
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Not sure I'm getting the picture here, but if your stairs and railing are that light, I think they could easily be stained over without removing the finish. (They rough it up with sandpaper, apply stain, then topcoat over that.)

Then you could put down the same kind of oak in kitchen, have the whole thing sanded down, and put whatever color you want on it, and have the stairway stained to come as close as possible. I'm thinking if you have a technician who is talented enough, he could make the stairway look "distressed" instead of like whitewashed oak that's been stained over.

Also -- there is a difference between whitewashed oak and bleached oak. Bleached oak is actually bleached (the raw wood), then a stain put over it. I've seen it in some very high end contemporary homes in Highland Park, TX. Whitewashed oak is something else. Not sure which one you have, but if it's bleached oak it's most definitely in style, especially if you have a contemporary house.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 4:27PM
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Thank you for the responses. I'm not sure if I have bleached oak or white wash. It is not "pinkish" which I've assumed was more of a pickeled, it is more whiteish or yellowish actually after being 20 years old.

Bigdoglover (I love big dogs, too btw..) the reason I didnt want to involve the stairs and railing was because it also includes the whole upstairs and hallway (and the floor in my bedroom, but that didnt bother me as much) so, I just didnt want to deal with it.

I think what I have decided to do is carpet the stairs and hallway and get the warmer wood in the kitchen/dining/livingroom that I've always wanted. I'll have to just sand and stain the banisters, thats all. I dont mind the carpet in these areas, as it is now I have a runner on the stairs and this will just be wall to wall in that area. There are too many problems with the bleaching and besides, my husband really despises it.

Thanks again for all of your help. Now on to newer problems.....!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 8:02PM
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Let me just say, if it's in Highland Park/University Park, TX (two small towns in the center of Dallas), you don't have anything to worry about. The most gorgeous homes-if you see a home from Dallas in a home decor magazine this is usually where it is located. Homes are VERY VERY expensive.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 9:51PM
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I literally just put away the computer and picked up my newest Traditional Home issue that arrived in the mail. The first house featured which is owned by a designer and the first thing mentioned in the article is that she bleached all the floors in her home in her recent renovation. So there!!! ;)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 10:01PM
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