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making new red oak flooring look okay with 50 year old newly sanded white oak flooring

user-4051922's picture

Hi.  We are renovating a house and opened up kitchen/dining/living rooms to each other.  The living room has 50 year old oak floors and we needed to put oak in the kitchen and dining areas.  While we knew, because the living room was older wood, that they wouldn't match exactly, we were okay with that.  

The flooring installer sanded a little of the old floor and determined it was red oak.  So they installed new red oak in the kitchen and dining area.  However, when the sanding began, it was clear that the old floors were white oak.

These two floors butt up against each other.   They don't have to match because we put a picture frame border between them and ran the new red oak at a different angle than the  old floors.

How on earth do we make them at least look similar, given that they are now two different species of oak.  Help!

Thank you in advance for your advice.


Why not celebrate the (post #215473, reply #1 of 6)

Why not celebrate the difference?

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

You'll need to do a lot of (post #215473, reply #2 of 6)

You'll need to do a lot of stain matching to get something on the white oak that will match the red. Easier would be to hire a floor finishing company to do it for you., they do it everyday. 

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

But do NOT hire the first (post #215473, reply #3 of 6)

But do NOT hire the first bozo who was supposedly a flooring expert and could not tell the difference between white and red oak - if not sure, he shoudl have found a spot to look at the end graiin at least..

Another reason to rely on DIY skills <G> 

I'm in the twilight of my (post #215473, reply #4 of 6)

I'm in the twilight of my career. I've had a number of cases where I needed to match old and the new woodwork. In your case we are dealing with two species of oak. Not to worry.

First, oil-stain a sample of (new) red oak.  Now oil-stain a sample of white oak and let both dry thoroughly. The wood is both stained and semi-sealed. Subsequent coats won't be absorbed as deeply. My guess is the white oak will stain lighter and less redish than your red oak sample. Now apply a second, different-colored oil stain to the white oak. The idea is to GRADUALLY get both floors to match

Depending on the color I wish to achieve, I may choose to apply a LATEX-BASED toner to the white oak. If you can't get latex in tube-concentrates, have latex stain mixed in the aprox. color you wish to achieve. Mix a small amount of the latex stain with a 50/50 solution of water-borne polyurethane. Apply this in one or more coats. Since latex dries quickly, be carefull in the application process, always keeping a wet film.

Eventually you will reach a point where, wood grain not withstanding, the two floors look very similar in appearance. Let the woods dry thoroughly. Lightly "sand" with a scouring pad and apply either oil or water-borne finish. Apply the clear finish in several THIN coats. 

This is not an easy task. It requires and artist's eye in order to achieve perfection. But don't let that keep you from trying. And, as another person observed, there is nothing wrong with a slight contrast in color. The Good Book says god pronounced creation "Good"; not perfect...just "good". That should be good enough :) 

Mel Fros

Further insights into matching colors (post #215473, reply #6 of 6)

One more point about matching colors. Most stained woods show two hues: one is the dominant and primary hue, and the other the secondary hue. Usually the secondary hue is the lighter one. Your first stain coat (usually oil-based) should match this lighter hue. Subsequent stain coat(s) darken and soften the first hue as you grandually tone the wood to a darker color. You cannot start with a dark tone and work towards a lighter color tone.

The other thing to memeber is that oil-based stains penetrate and water-borne stains tend to "sit" on the surface. Therefore, for a high-traffic area you want to start oil-based and limit the extent to which you use water-based stains. I often us a small amount of latex-based toner (concentrate or stain) mixed with water-borne finish to achieve the color I wish to match. Once the color has been achieved, it is important to protect it with several thin layers of clear finish. Sand lightly between finishes. I prefer satin or flat finishes.

Walt Dysney Corp. enticed me with the promise of a college-paid education and a job as cartoonist. My mother stepped in sharply: You will not draw Mickey Mouse the rest of your days! No! You will become an architect! She was emphatic. Mom, I replied in my native German tongue, What makes you think I am even remotely intersted in houses?

Mothers know best.....sigh :)

Mel Fros

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How was the final (post #215473, reply #5 of 6)

How was the final determiantion made that the original flooring is White Oak?