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Red Oak floors....old and new mismatched

sjssjf's picture


I'm looking for help with the appearance of the finish on my red oak hardwood floors. 

I installed new red oak flooring in a kitchen area.  Although the installer said it would be a reasonably close color match where it meets the older red oak in my dining room, I'm not happy with the results.   Essentially, the older oak has a richer, deeper amber look as compared to the new flooring.

At this point, my installer has only put down the first coat of Polyurethane.  

I'm curious to know if there is an oil based Poly available that is specifically designed to have a deeper amber appearance.  If so, could I use the deeper amber poly on the subsequent coats of the new wood only to help even out the final appearance...

If not, is there any other way to make the appearance of the old and new flooring more uniform?



Keep in mind that the new (post #207320, reply #1 of 5)

Keep in mind that the new flooring will darken and become "richer" as it ages and as light affects it.  If it were color-matched now it might get too dark in 5 years.

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

The color of red oak changes (post #207320, reply #2 of 5)

The color of red oak changes with age. Three major causes, oxidation, UV exposure and the linseed oil in the varnish darkening. Since a coat of poly has been applied, it's too late to use a stain. It doesn't make sense to use toners or other colored top coats on a floor. Your best bet is to live with the new until it changes and comes more in line with the old, either that or sand and refinish the old. I would leave it alone if an oil based poly has been used. Waterborne won't change as fast and probably won't look like the old floor, ever.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

Although my comment will not (post #207320, reply #3 of 5)

Although my comment will not relate to this one exactly, if one encounters repairs in the future where matching material is not available I've heard of great success with sun baking new to match better, particularily with exotics or those that undergo vast changes in color. A good UV lamp could work too but I've never tried it.

Ken (post #207320, reply #4 of 5)

It's a real step up when someone with a lot of experience in a trade or product can post replies to questions.  Thanks for coming back and here's hoping you stick around.

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If your installer/finisher (post #207320, reply #5 of 5)

If your installer/finisher put down a water borne poly and the original floor had an oil based finish, they will never match. The finisher should have done samples prior to applying anything to the floor. 

A solvent finish will give wood a "wet out" appearance that is lacking in the water based finishes. If, for durability or other reasons, a water borne finish is desired, a deeper color saturation can be achieved by first applying a coat of dewaxed shellac. Top that initial coating with any other finish of your choice. This finish schedule is done routinely on furniture with great results.