Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood Flooring

Dark Stained Wood Floors- Pros and Cons

You’ll often hear a lot of banter about dark wood floors if you read a lot of design forums. Sites like Houzz and Pinterest offer up some really great pictures. You can engage contractors directly on Houzz and get opinions. While all of this is useful, there sometimes can be subjectivity if making a sale is involved. Let me take a moment to present things that are equally good and bad with wood floors and let you decide.

Pros of Dark Wood Flooring

  • Dark colors are the hot item lately. If you are selling a home in a more high-end neighborhood you may want to consider a dark floor. If you live in the Sacramento Valley, then the areas that are demanding more and more dark floors are Granite Bay, Rocklin, Roseville, and Loomis.
  • You can create a really powerful contrast with your vertical surfaces such as baseboards and cabinets and stair risers.
  • With certain dark color treatments it is possible to cover the grain characteristics of oak to be more consistent. We did this on a couple of projects and it almost creates an optical illusion when standing in different positions within the room.

Cons of Dark Flooring

  • Dark floors will reflect the quality of your maintenance procedures. Pet hair, dirt, and food crumbs will stand out more on a dark floor.
  • Dark floors require considerably more attention to detail in sanding, which raises the cost of your project.
  • If you are living in an area with minimal sunlight, the spaces in your home overall will appear darker or smaller relatively speaking.
  • Dark floors can possibly be difficult to repair if that is needed. If your repair scenario is too complicated, then you will need to refinish a large area or the entire floor.

A Little Bit of Practicality…

From a practical standpoint, I always tell my customers that you need to set a priority for what you want the most in your floor. Dark floors are really one of a kind in appearance, but if you don’t like maintenance then it could end up irritating you. One really good alternative that gives you the best of both worlds is to darken your floor, but stay in a lighter more brown color range. Colors such as Medium brown, English Chestnut, and Provincial from Dura Seal are great looking but still light enough so that your eye is not drawn to every little pet hair.

Waterborne Woes

One item rarely mentioned regarding stained floors is the finish that is applied over the stain. For several reasons I strongly disapprove of waterborne finishes being applied over really dark stains:

  • Waterborne finishes DO NOT have very clear optical properties. Over a dark surface they tend to really reflect back the light rather than showing the beauty of the floor. For this reason we use a combination of Glitsa Green Label floor Sealer and Glitsa Multikote. All of the dark stained floors in our gallery page are this finish combination.
  • Because wood is hygroscopic most floors experience seasonal movement from dry periods like winter to early spring, waterborne finishes can have really bad problems with white lines syndrome. If this happens to your floor, then the only resolution is a complete re-sanding which is not fun.
  • Waterborne finishes do nothing to enhance the depth of color of a stained floor in comparison to an oil-based product.
  • The optically reflective nature of the resins within waterborne finish lead to a greater chance for showing “spider webbing” scratches in front of large windows and intense can lights like a kitchen if the refinisher is not very skilled.

Stay in TOUCH and thanks for reading!

I hope that this post fills you in on the whole expectations side of refinishing your wood flooring darker. If you run into anything that doesn’t make sense, feel free to e-mail us and we will help answer your questions.

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