The first thing that happened once we closed on our new house was to get the dingy ambered oak floors refinished and stained.
We closed Monday and the work started Tuesday.
Now let me tell you, the guy we worked with was really great and had the patience of a saint to boot (If you’re in Mass or NH and want his name, drop me an email!). Originally I was planning on sanding the floors and staining them a rich brown. Then I changed my mind and wanted to just sand and finish with a water based poly to keep them looking natural. You see, floors get an amber effect that happens with oil based polyurethane (they are darker initially and get darker and more orange as the years progress). A few days later I decided not only did I want water-based but I wanted Bona Naturale, which is a water-based poly that is completely tint free and matte. THEN, realizing that the floors would probably never really be as light as I wanted, I reverted to my original plan of staining them. PHEW. Did you catch all of that!?!
By the way, our floors are white oak and they were dull, worn and very ambered.
This navy blue carpet was up the stairs and throughout the entire hallway. The living room and dining room originally had matching area rugs, too.
And now for the afters! (apologies for the iPhone photos, I forgot to bring my camera!)
The new stain brings such warm and coziness to the space. It also strangely makes it brighter. Because of more contrast, maybe?
Of all the pictures this one above of the stairs probably shows the color the most accurately. It’s the most perfect medium toned brown. You might have noticed that we chose not to stain the banisters. $800 to sand and stain seemed steep so I figured I would do it myself or paint them white.
A little side by side action:
Right, so let’s get into the details. To achieve this look the floors were obviously first sanded. We then patch tested some stain colors to figure out which we liked best. I wish we’d taken pictures of this step, but alas, we didn’t. We sampled Bona DriFast in the color Provincial, Minwax Jacobean, Minwax Dark Walnut, Minwax Special Walnut and Minwax Early American. [Affiliate links added for your convenience]
The Jacobean & Dark Walnut were way too dark, bringing out an ebony color in the grain and both the Early American and Special Walnut had too much red. So Provincial it was :-)
The stain was applied using a water popping technique. From what I gather this basically raises the grain to let the wood absorb the stain more uniformly. It also has the result of getting a deeper color.
The floors were then finished with three coats of satin polyurethane (and sanded between each coat).
I really am in awe of how the turned out. They look brand new and the color is exactly what I wanted. The only problem now is that these lovely new floors make all the walls and baseboards look super grimy. I better pick paint colors soon so that we can get the painters in :-)
We officially move Tuesday so things might be a little quiet around here until we get unpacked. Be sure to check in on Instagram for updates, though!