Elissa C
Elissa C
  • Hometalker
  • Malverne, NY
Asked on May 23, 2012

I have oak wood floors in my home. We wamt to refinished and stained. What finish would you recommend for a rich brown?

Elissa CSandy9530106
+13

Answered

I want darker, but not the darkest, and I want it to have a sheen like it has been hand rubbed with layers of wax . Any suggestions on stain and should I use satin instead of semigloss? I also have a dog.
my floors at the bottom of my staircase as they are now, natural with a semigloss finish done many years ago.
my floors at the bottom of my staircase as they are now, natural with a semigloss finish done many years ago.
16 answers
  • Leslie D
    on May 23, 2012

    It's really a personal preference. Semi-gloss will scratch and show those scratches more easily, especially on a darker floor, but if you like the sheen, go for it. It holds up well enough and if you don't mind a slightly "lived in" look on the floors after a year or two of traffic, the scratches probably won't bother you. Consider the amount of traffic and with a dog, you will get more scratching. A glossy finish will also become the center of attention in the room and reflection off of the floor from sunlight, etc., could become distracting. Basically, the more matte the finish, the easier to maintain and the better it hides dust, footprints, etc., but if you're a great housekeeper and you prefer the glossy finish, it will probably work great for you. We want to see pictures when you're done!

  • Rebecca R
    on May 23, 2012

    Stain is not going to work on the dog. You'll have to use dog hair dye. :)

  • Melissa K
    on May 23, 2012

    Perfect color is on Fido's rear left leg...

  • Melissa K
    on May 23, 2012

    Perfect trim is on the foot

  • Elissa C
    on May 24, 2012

    So funny!

  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 24, 2012

    Gloss finishes are more durable than semi or satin...but they also look worse quicker. One common practice is to use gloss for the first two coats and then "top coat" with satin. This will provide the extra durability of the gloss with out comprising the "look". As far as stains go I have always been a fan of minwax's "golden oak" on red oak. Keep in mind that changing stain color requires a complete and through sanding to remove 100% of the previous finish and any underlying stain. An advantage to keeping things "natural" is that a screen and recoat can be done without the more aggressive sanding. On a final note I prefer to use oil based poly over any water based product. I tends to bring out more depth in the wood. Take a look at some before and afters in this project.. http://www.hometalk.com/Kevin/project/2473 This was a white oak installation (with a owner applied water based finish) that was less than a year old...it had not held up well at all. For a comparison of other floor finishes check out this article I wrote. http://www.networx.com/article/exotic-wood-floor-finishes-you-havent-s

  • Elissa C
    on May 24, 2012

    Thank you KMS Woodworks. The only reason I am thinking of staining the floors is that I know the floors have to be sanded anyway, and I want a fresh new look. I know that very dark floors won't hold up well, and show dirt quicker. After all these years it would be nice to have a change. Thank you for all your great information.

  • Kelly F
    on May 29, 2012

    You can use a dark stain- like walnut- but just put it on is small increments and wipe on/wipe off immediately. It gives a darker look that is nicer than say oak stain- but will not be so dark as walnut generally is. This is not hard to do- just take patience and time and a lot of old T-shirts. After the sanding is finished use the tack cloth to clean up saw dust- then get walnut stain and wipe on/wipe off. It gives a nice look- and I also have dogs- lots of big dogs. :)

  • Jeanette S
    on May 30, 2012

    Keep in mind that dark stain will show scratches more than will a light color. Dark is popular, but the natural color of oak is timeless. As for finish, dust will not show as much on satin finish. It is the dust that collects beneath and around furniture that drives you crazy!!!!

  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 30, 2012

    With a "sanding" and then "staining" project your floor sanding needs to be perfect if you use a darker colored stain. Natural oak is far less likely to show sanding swirls than a "dark" stain. Any good floor refinisher knows this...its the not so great floor finishers that leave these type of mistakes.

  • Elissa C
    on Jun 13, 2012

    Thank you all for all your helpful comments. I will post photos when I get the floors done.

  • Priscilla G
    on Oct 20, 2014

    I just finished finding (floor had carpet glued to it) and refinishing my living room oak floor and used a Minwax fast dying Polyurehane and my floor is shinny, and beautiful.....

  • 9530106
    on Feb 13, 2015

    Minwax Early American is very pretty, a little darker than Golden Oak, but not dark like a walnut stain. It looks great on oak, if you are looking for a little darker look.

  • Elissa C
    on Feb 17, 2015

    Thank you!

  • Sandy
    on Sep 7, 2015

    I had to hire mine done. After all of the sanding and cleaning, I asked him to bleach the floor twice (3 parts water to 1 part household bleach). Then came the coats of polyurethane. The floors just lit up!!! I purchased an Oreck buffer and use their wax and wood cleaner. It's expensive for my budget, but you are able to lightly clean and buff between the waxes. Best Wishes!!

  • Elissa C
    on Sep 13, 2015

    Sounds lovely. I want to go warmer without going too dark. I definitely don't want to keep it natural, as that is what I have been living with since 1980! I am curious what the bleached floors look like. I have never seen that.

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