Please help us choose our flooring!

lovetogarden_oakNovember 21, 2012

We are now needing to decide the flooring for our kitchen. The kitchen is medium sized (225 sf) and will have white shaker cabinetry and statuary vein countertop.

The wood species we are considering are: american walnut, white oak and maple. The rest of the house has read oak flooring (came with the house) but DH hates it, so we are going with a different species this time.

We are going to stain and sand the hardwood floor on the job-site. We are leaning towards darker stains (like coffee or chocolate) than lighter one. Although a medium stain of Sedona and coffee mix looks good to us, too.

Our floor guy said that maple is hard to stain and can turn out blotchy. So he's trying to steer us towards walnut. But I am worried about the "look at me" factor of walnut will compete with the countertop though I admit walnut is beautiful!

We have an adorable 80lbs lab, so we expect the floor to be scratched up. (Though our red oak floor hasn't shown any scracthes so far.) Maple is hardier than walnut so I was thinking that it is the better choice than the softer walnut for scratch-resistance.

I just heard about white oak flooring. So, I would love to see photos and hear more about it.

Could you please show me your medium to dark hardwood floors, especially if you have walnut, white oak or maple flooring.

Also, please share any insights you have about maintenance, scratching etc for your hardwood floor.

Thank you so much!!!

Have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday everyone!

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We have clear finished maple flooring in our 100 year old house (light). It's still beautiful and refinished wonderfully about 8 years ago. I have heard that maple doesn't stain well. Our 70# lab/husky nails have done some damage as have the kitchen chairs. I've heard white oak takes stain well but have no experience IRL. Walnut would be beautiful but might be too much of a difference from your red oak, esp if they meet up?

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:55PM
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WE just put in Walnut flooring in our foyer and our kitchen. While it is lovely to look at, it dents very easily. Moving the fridge back into place has left scars on the floor. Hopefully the flooring people can come back and help me with those.

I would stick to a nice hard oak.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 8:03AM
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He's correct about the maple. It's a gorgeous wood, one of my favorites. But it is incredibly hard to get right with a stain, especially with dark colors. And it will for sure be uneven and blotchy. If you want a monotone, even dark stain it will be difficult with maple. A light stain or a clear coat is best.

Walnut is gorgeous. I don't think it will compete with your countertops; if anything it will complement them.

I'm not as certain about the oak, but usually see it in a lighter stain.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 5:13PM
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We have White Oak finished in Gunstock (3 1/4 from Sommerset). We have it in our great room, the bedrooms, and the office. We do not have it in the baths, the kitchen, laundry or foyers.

We have two children (6 and 4) and a 43 lb dog. They are not easy on it at all. It has some dings in it, but not anything you notice until you are looking at it from the floor level. No chips or any gauges. I think it is the best hardwood choice you can make for duribility.

I will say, pay attention to how much direct sun that room gets. If it gets quite a bit, I wouldn't do a dark wood. Our great room gets a lot of light and you can definitely see the dust build up after a couple of hours. The other rooms are fine, so they show it a little, but it isn't bad.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 12:47PM
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Thanks so much everyone for your helpful feedback! Sounds like while walnut is beautiful to look at, and maple is hardy for a dog+family, white oak seems to win for BOTH durability and stainability. I will ask my floor guy to make us a stained sample, and see how that works out. DH is iffy with oak in general but he is open to change his mind after hearing your input. Hopefully the white oak sample looks good.

If anyone else want to chip in with your photos or feedback, please do so!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 2:54AM
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Walnut or white oak are my votes....

Here is my mix of red and white oak stained a dark walnut color.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 7:23AM
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boxerpups: nice flooring. What is the name of your stain? Why did you choose to mix the red and white oak? I am assuming it is because white oak is more expensive...

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 9:26AM
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The wood was already installed. We changed the color
My floor guy said it was a mix of red and white oak.
I have no idea why.
Probably because the golden oak yellowy stain worked
back when the house was built.
I had to get out of the golden oak look. I really wanted
to do an inky black floor but my floor guys were horrified.
Wood purists that are clearly the most stubborn people
I have ever worked with. I would use them again in a
NYC second but truth be told they are about wood not

The mix????... check out the link

Glad I could help...
Oh wait here is another

Here is a link that might be useful: an old link with the recipe

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 10:17AM
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You're going to stain your current red oak too, right? I would try and match that wood and then find a stain that gives you the look you want. Otherwise the stain may render differently on the two types of wood. We tried a ton of stains and ended up using Dark Walnut.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 10:56AM
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excellent advice Chris11895

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Thanks boxerpups for your photo and the link. Your floor is beautifulll!!! Do you see dustbunnies easily on your dark floor?

Chris, alas, we are not going to stain our red oak flooring at this time. It's not in our budget to do the rest of the flooring in the house. So, we will have flooring of different color and species right next to each other (egad!) My floor guy said not to worry. Hope he's right.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 1:16PM
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I have natural ash in my 45 year old house. It is in great condition and the house has always been occupied by kids and dogs, currently two football/lacrosse playing boys(ie not gentle), and two 45-50 lb rescue dogs.
I don't see ash discussed much and wanted to throw it out as an option since it is actually harder then oak. It can yellow like maple, which wouldn't be an issue since you are staining, it stains well.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 2:23PM
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Boxer, your floors are beautiful! I do like oak flooring.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Hi, Localeater!

I will look into ash. Thanks for the tips!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 3:14PM
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When we built, I was determined to have walnut floors, but after looking into it, decided on Maple. Then, when I started talking to our floor guys, found out how hard to stain maple is. They suggested hickory for stainability and durability. In the end, we had dark stained maple on our staircase and dark hickory on the floors. We love the way it all turned out and the hickory is more beautiful than I had imagined, as well as very durable.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 3:43PM
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My sister has walnut and it is gorgeous but already scratched terrible after 2 years due to the big golden doodle. It was prefinished too so not an easy fix.

I agree with hickory being good- after all that's what baseball bats are made of. Have you ever seen a "dent" in a ball bat? Of course they do break with a lot of force but don't think you'll have to worry about that!

I had red oak with Provincial stain ( min wax) but this time I'm going to go with white oak which is a little harder than red.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 4:42PM
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Thanks for the tips on hickory, gharborwa and mountaineergirl!

I find it amusing that my search is now expanding instead of narrowing. It does feel like the right direction, though.

I am eager to hear from all of you.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Everyone says dark floors have dust bunnies.
Maybe if you never clean.
I have no dust bunnies, if a little dog hair or dust appears
it gets swept up.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 7:29PM
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I am not a neat freak at all, but the dark wood floors in our previous house and they drove me nuts with the dust & lint. I would finish vacuuming and mopping, turn around & it already looked dirty again. We now have natural color maple and I'm so much happier with the floor. YMMV

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 7:45PM
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How ash floors? We have a large boxer and most likely will be getting another large breed soon. I am not loving oak floors and maple floors tend to be too yellow. A lot of the furniture that we have is cherry (incl kitchen cabinets) and teak. Does anyone have experience with ash?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 7:54PM
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Thank you to everyone who responded to my post here.

Just to close the loop for this post, here's an update.

We ended up choosing santos mahogany, variable planks of 3" and 5" wide, for our kitchen floor. It is browner and redder than the wood floor in the rest of the house. The color variation between the santos mahogany and the oak flooring in the rest of the house doesn't bother us. Although, now the oak flooring looks tired and in need of refinishing to keep up with the new kitchen floor!

The santos mahogany floor is sanded and finished on-site with oil-based sealer, 2 coats of Bona Traffic Satin and 1 coat of Traffic Semi gloss. The floor is unstained. When the first two satin coats were put on, the floor looked pinkish and very dull. I almost cried in despair. But GWer kitchenkrazed helped me out and mentioned that to change the sheen, we could put Traffic semi gloss for the third coat. We asked our floor guy to do that. Amazingly, after that last coat, the floor is no longer pink but beautiful warm red brown that we LOVE, and instead of being dull, it has a gentle lustre that looks great!

It is hardy with our dog's drool and slobberiness. We have had scratches from dropping a drawer onto it (it was a loud crash!) but other than that, the floor has held up very well since January this year. No scratches from our dog yet...

As far as cleaning, it is a cinch! It's wonderful that I don't see black dog hairs as easily as I did on my previous white vinyl floor. Water stains (or drool stains, more accurately) are more visible but easily wiped off with a damp cloth. Dust is hardly noticeable, but maybe because I enjoy cleaning my floor now and do so more often than I did on the old vinyl floor. Lol!

Below is the photo of the floor, and the link to our "just finished" kitchen reveal.

Here is a link that might be useful: White Kitchen Reveal

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 3:24AM
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