Red Oak Stain Colors

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Learning how to finish oak, means you need to know what the best finish for oak is. This means you should have an understanding of all the different oak finishes that you can choose from. Staining red oak or white oak is the part of your woodworking project that will bring out the color of your build, so make sure that you are aware of how each one looks once it is dry, and which is more suitable for either red or white oak.If you are a lover of the environment and living consciously, then it will be advisable to choose this type of wood finish because it is completely free of toxins. There are no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so you can appreciate that if you are sensitive to fumes that other types of finishes give off.

One thing to keep in mind regarding red oak is that it is not as rot-resistant as white oak wood. This means that it might sustain more infections over a shorter period of time.
Oak wood is very popular because of how durable it is, and the ease of building with it adds to that. This means that the items of furniture made from oak wood will cost a bit more than furniture made from other wood. This is also why you will see people trying to salvage their oak flooring when they are renovating so that they can reinstall it into their new home. It is expensive, and a lot of people cannot simply fork out the amount that it costs, and reusing what they have is the better option.If you are working with the spray mechanism, make sure that you hold the nozzle at the recommended distance from the wood’s surface so that there are no visible liquid drips. Make sure that the stain is applied in steady motions so as to achieve the smoothest and most even finish. Adding a coat of paint to nearly any surface will give it new life, and it will dramatically enhance the appearance. Although we have a lot of expectations of paint, do we know how to choose the best house paint? Conducting an exterior paint comparison is one of the most important parts of the pre-painting… In contrast to the darker red oak wood which has a deep tone to its natural coloring, the light oak is more suited to flooring because the tone of the white oak wood will have less effect on the stain or paint colors. This makes it slightly stronger, which is why, as opposed to red oak, it is much easier to endure damage when compared to it, but the drawback is that white oak is a little more expensive.The Amish are highly industrious as a culture, and they have used oak wood for their wood crafting purposes for generations. Oak is a very versatile and well-rounded wood, and the Amish have used it for generations, primarily for residential construction and agricultural construction. It is one of the most durable and flexible woods that they can find.

Once you are happy with your freshly sanded board or plank, and sure that you have left no dust behind from the sanding process, you can get out the product you have chosen for staining red oak or white oak, and you can prepare that for use. You will need a stick to mix the product so that all the substances are combined, as they tend to separate when they are left in storage for too long.
When you hear the term, “natural oak”, this is usually referencing white oak, which is also the most popular type of oak wood, and thus, more available for purchase than the red oak counterpart. But, finishing oak wood is much easier when you understand the differences between red and white oak wood. Let us go through a few of the most prominent differences.

A bit of preparation is the first order of business for your oak finishing. This means that the oak board or plank that you are working with will need to be sanded down. This applies to both red and white oak types.

What is the best stain color for red oak?
In summary, stain colors with yellow tint are good for red oak as they make red oak less red. Some stains that does it well are Weathered Oak, Glassic Gray, Golden Oak, Nutmeg. Cached
Beeswax is one of the most versatile substances that is available. It can be used to heal many skin ailments, or even just act as a moisturizer for very dry skin. In the industrial and carpentry industries, beeswax is also used as a treatment for wood, and it makes a beautiful oak finish. It is a natural oak fish, and it highlights the beautiful undertones of the wood, as well as every color within its grain. Preparing the stain or the finish comes with selecting your application method. If you have bought a spray-on type of finish, then your method is predetermined. Otherwise, you can apply the stain using a brush of some sort. Beeswax stains are usually applied with a cloth and then buffed into the wood’s surface. An oak finish might not have seemed like such an important thing to you before, but now, after reading this tutorial, we hope you appreciate the furniture in your home even more, understanding the process they have undergone to make them as elegantly beautiful and long-lasting as they are. Ideally, you should be more clued-up on how to finish oak wood, whether you are finishing red oak or white oak.

The method for applying the wood stain depends on the type of finish you have bought. Some products have been manufactured for spraying, and others are made as liquid that must be applied similarly to how you would apply paint – with a brush.
Many of us have some pieces of veneer furniture in our homes. This may be a cupboard in the kitchen or bathroom, a desk, a table, or even a countertop in your kitchen. However, it may eventually begin to look slightly scruffy with scratch marks or stains. This is no reason to discard it as…

What is the natural color on red oak?
Red Oak wood tends to be slightly reddish to amber color where as White Oak tends to be bit browner and more yellowish in shade.
A lacquer cat is typically quite glossy, and when you apply it to your oak wood it will reflect the sunlight beautifully, giving it that stunning sheen we all appreciate so much aesthetically. Lacquer can be applied by either brushing it on with a paintbrush, or it can be applied via a spray mechanism.Lacquer makes a strong finish for your oak wood, and it sticks well to the surface of whatever you are building. It provides strong protection to your wood’s surface, making it impervious to liquid spills or excess humidity in the climate you are living and working in.

Because white oak wood has a more compact grain, it is more watertight, which is why most carpenters like to use this type of wood for outdoor decking and roofing, boats, or anything that will be exposed to liquids.
The funny thing is that the name of this wood will lead you to believe that it is a white color, or at least lighter beige. But, this is not the case. White oak wood is more of a brown or gray color with a bit of opacity. This is only really noticeable once the wood has been cut into boards.Most manufacturers of the various Danish oil treatments will likely state on the packaging that you must use it in moderation. If you do so correctly, then it can be one of the best oak finishes that you could decide to use. Being a natural oak finish, it brings out the color of the wood beautifully and highlights the natural grains.

Woodworkers have always preferred working with red oak because of its unique aesthetic, especially in contrast to white oak. However, these woods share a lot of the same properties, which is why they can be used interchangeably if need be. You might initially think that white oak is the lighter wood of the two, but it is actually red oak that is lighter than white oak. You will find red oaks in the North Eastern Regions of the United States. There is something truly unique about the rain pattern of red oak, and it is reflected in the beauty of its appearance.

Not only is it a beautiful addition to your garden, it is also a very versatile type of wood to build with. The heartwood of the tree is strong and robust, so it is able to create strong chests of drawers, dressing tables, flooring in your dining room or living room, decking for your patio, and even making strong roofs for your home. If you want to build the smaller, less hardy things like the skirting of your floor and ceiling, leg and armrest on your furniture, and possibly a shelf that is not going to be carrying very heavy things, then you can use the sapwood.A beeswax treatment can be easily found in most hardware stores because it has been dubbed one of the best products to use for finishing red oak and white oak. It is very simple to apply because you need only a cloth and a bit of elbow grease. Wipe the cloth in the container that the bee’s wax comes in, and then rub it in with circular motions over the surface. Once it is all spread out, you need to buffer it with the same cloth, so continue those circular motions. Concrete can be found virtually everywhere due to its durability and versatile scope of application. While it may provide an increased level of structural resilience, concrete is prone to the formation of cracks from exposure over time. This is commonly the result of water degradation through rain and extreme weather conditions. Should you notice the… There is something truly luxurious about the aesthetics of oak furniture, one that simply cannot be mimicked by other types of wood. If you love the rustic look, chances are you will have an abundance of oak furniture, and possibly oak flooring to instill that aged feel to your home. Even if you are a fan of the more modern minimal interior design, oak furniture (with all its detailing), can be simple when it is not overly done with other trinkets. Is it not amazing how oak wood can last so long? This type of wood is notorious for its strength, but a lot of the time, the longer-lasting items of furniture have been coated with finishes that provide extra protection to the surface of the wood, preventing liquid spills, or damages from accidental nicks. This tutorial will teach you how to finish oak wood, whether it is your floor or your favorite piece of furniture. We will include the best finish for oak products designed for finishing oak of all types, so by the end of this tutorial you will have learned all you need to know about finishing red oak and finishing white oak. Not only that, but we will also include the best natural oak finish products. Oak finishes often involve adding a stain, so we will explain the process of staining red oak, and white oak.

Is red oak good for staining?
Pros of Red Oak In fact, red oak has become an industry benchmark due to the many advantages it offers: Stains well: red oak is easy to finish and stain without blotching. Easy to sand: red oak is easy to sand as long as you use a pad or block. Distinctive look: the wide grain pattern is unique and natural.
If you are working with the liquid form, the size of the brush that you use will depend entirely on how big the project that you are creating is. If the spaces are large, a bigger brush is preferable, and if the space is small with little nooks and corners, a smaller brush will work better. When you dip the brush into the stain, you must ensure that it only goes in three-quarters of the way and that the stain does not touch the ferrule of the brush (the metal part that holds the bristles to the handle) so that the stain does not cause it to break down and make the bristles fall out.

Oak is easier to work with if you are considering the staining part of the finishing process. It is much more absorbent, so the stain seeps right into the wood’s surface. But generally, red oak is thought to be the easier type of oak to work with and apply stain to.
The grit of the sandpaper for white oak wood should be about 120 to 140, but the red oak can be sanded down with slightly more rough-textured sandpaper because the wood is softer. When you are finished sanding, make sure there is no residue (sawdust left from the sanding process by cleaning the surface of your wood with a damp cloth. Oak trees are one of the most ancient tree species that are around today. They have been around for so long, and some of the largest and oldest trees have aged to about 500 years old, which is astonishing to think of the times that they have endured, managing to escape being shopped down to be used for furniture. Oak trees grow tall and strong, and they provide an amazing amount of shade, so there is more to appreciate from these trees than their ease of building. Wherever you look, this popular material is everywhere. Of course, we are talking about vinyl! This versatile product can be found in flooring, upholstering furniture, making handbags, and even inflatables. Vinyl is often used for both domestic and industrial reasons. Although vinyl is a tough and reliable material, its durability, like any other material, will…

White oak is different from red oak, not only in its coloring but also because it is resistant to infections, so it will not rot as easily as its red oak counterpart. Red wood’s rings within the grain are spaced out more freely, so it is more absorbent, but white oak wood is more compacted, so liquids or insect invasions will not be as much of a threat.
An amazing benefit that you might appreciate is that it has less work involved. You do not need to apply a primer before you coat it on, because it already adheres so well to the surface of your oak wood. It also is useful as an oak finish because there is less maintenance that you will need to do once the lacquer is applied. It is easy to clean and is so strong that it lasts a lot longer and provides much more durability than most wood finishes.Danish oil treatments are ideal as a natural oak finish, and it does not get scratched as easily as lacquer might, so having young children around will not leave your oak flooring looking tarnished from the inevitable scratches. It is much stronger, and because it penetrates so deeply into the wood’s grain, it lasts a lot longer. This means less effort is involved because it does not require a fresh coat every few months.Most people have not given the art of bookbinding much thought, leaving it to the professionals to sort broken books out for them. But imagine the satisfaction of being able to bind your own book, or repair your favorite and most sentimental novel yourself. You won’t know until you have tried and succeeded at the…

While red oak trees are found in the northeastern regions of America, white oak trees are found in the Eastern regions of the United States. Because of the strength and versatility of the wood, it has become one of the most popular options of wood to build anything that needs to be strong. No matter whether the item you are building lives inside or outside, it is a suitable wood for many projects. From chests of drawers, dressing tables, dining room tables, bookshelves, flooring, and decking, this wood is very highly sought after.
Red oak is called Red, but the color of the wood is surprisingly more pink than it is red. Sometimes it leans towards an orange tone, as opposed to pink, but both are just as beautiful. What makes the color of the oak, is the soil that it is grown in, the moister the soil, the deeper the pink will be. Sometimes, in highly moist soil beds, the wood can have a salmon pink color. One thing to take note of, however, is that the deeper the pink, the softer the wood will be. Luckily, most jobs with this type of wood are still finished off with a stain, and a clear topcoat for extra protection, so the soft wood is not really an issue.Epoxy and super glue are both different types of adhesives that we all use for projects in our homes, as well as being used in the industrial sector. These adhesives are highly effective, giving an extremely strong bond with multipurpose applications. This is why we use them so extensively for DIY projects in our homes….

In addition to being versatile, white oak is highly popular across many industries, making it more expensive than other hardwoods. White Oak trees also take a long time to grow, so they are expensive because of that.
For some reason, Danish oil has a bad reputation when it comes to finishing red oak or white oak. Some people believe that it goes too deep into the surface of the wood, and that that is a problem, but this is not exactly the case. The quality of the wood that you need will depend on what you are building with the wood. If you are looking at the general reasons that make it good quality, then white oak is a lot stronger than most hardwoods, and will resist rotting for longer. It is also very versatile, so it is able to be used for multiple projects and builds. While knowing what products are better for oak can help you choose a finish, if you do not understand the process that finishing oak requires, then it will sit as a wasteful product on the shelf in your work shed. This is not only a pity in terms of your wallet, but also in terms of general waste in the world. Rather understand how to do it, then buy something and give up for lack of knowledge. In this next section, we will explain how to finish oak, so that you do not waste the product you have just bought, or are planning to buy.Red oak is popular with woodworkers because of its natural appearance. Fortunately, it is also easy to stain. Layering dye, gel stain, and a topcoat is a way to turn red oak a consistent color with a beautiful finish. Each layer should be sealed with shellac and sanded to improve the stain. Take your time while working and you may get the perfect finish on your red oak.

– Red Oak tends to have wider grain lines which can be more wavy and Red Oak tends to displays a more prominent grain pattern than White Oak is because it is a lighter wood than White Oak. If you are looking for a cleaner grain then White Oak is the better choice.
Even though White and Red Oak wood are both used for flooring, White Oak has been much more desirable and envied over the years as it can produce some of the finest grain patterns (Check out Castle Bespoke’s project portfolio to witness the magic of White Oak floors). Through history White Oak has been used for fine furniture, architectural moldings and trim, beams, railroad ties, fence posts, mine timbers, ships, caskets and whiskey barrels. Red Oak has also been common in cabinets and everyday items such as desks, chairs, molding and flooring.Since Red oak is the industry standard, grow more rapidly and is more common across the USA, Red Oak flooring tends to be cheaper and more readily available than White Oak flooring. To
p end solid or engineered White Oak flooring can cost as much as $11-13 per square foot, compared to $7-9 per square foot for the top grade red oak planks. However, with so much competition on the market you can find both solid red oak and white oak flooring ranging from $3 to $5 per square foot. Both red oak and white oak are also available in engineered hardwood planks, which are often cheaper than solid flooring.

Both Red Oak and White Oak are very durable woods. According the Janka hardness test, White Oak flooring scores a 1360 while Red Oak is at 1290. Some might argue that the inherent hardness and density of White Oak makes it slightly more stable and durable compared to Red Oak for wood flooring, but both types of hardwood flooring will work well.Red Oak grain patterns tend to be more complex and intricate than the finer grain pattern of White Oak which is more subtle in its appearance, giving it a more consistent look. The grain in White Oak runs straighter and tighter than Red Oak, with fewer swirls, circles or deviations. Red oak also has wider grain lines that can run in zigzag patterns, or subtle, wavy lines that are absent from White Oak. Another reason that Red Oak flooring displays a more prominent grain pattern than White Oak is because it is a lighter wood than White Oak. And on the other hand, the smoother look of White Oak can also be attributed to the fact that the dark grain is less noticeable against the darker wood. (Check out Castle Bespoke’s exclusive White Oak products on our Products page)This is a 100% test where you can take shavings of the wood and soak it in a dish with a solution of 5% Sodium Nitrite to Water (By weight not volume). If it’s red oak, there will only be a small color change, making the wood only slightly darker. But if it’s white oak, there will be a noticeable color change in as little as five minutes, (though it can take longer if the wood is dry, or if the temperature is low). The heartwood of white oak will eventually change to a dark indigo to almost black. This method is extremely accurate and reliable and, if you’re ever in a situation where you can’t separate between red and white oak based on anatomy, this method is nearly foolproof. (Though, only the heartwood will bring about the color change, not the sapwood.) Recipe for 10% Sodium Nitrite Solution for Testing Oaks: 1 cup water + 4 teaspoons sodium nitrite ( Directions: Stir in sodium nitrite until clear. Clearly label solution to avoid confusion; sodium nitrite is very dangerous if ingested. ). However, if you dont want to take the hassle of making the formula yourself, you can buy a Woodwise test kit at Greenpointe OnlineBoth Red and White Oak are considered to be a “green” use of natural resource. The carbon footprint of both types of wood is lower than that of exotic wood species like Brazilian Cherry or Tigerwood.White Oak tends to be more resistant to rot and water as compared to Red Oak, which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture and flooring. This is because White Oak has smaller, closed off pores, whereas Red Oak has larger pores. However the larger pores in Red Oak make it easier to stain deeply and evenly. As mentioned above, along with being harder than red oak, white oak is also more stable and denser than red oak. However, for best results in terms of stability, both red oak and white oak planks should be allowed to fully adapt to the local environments before installation.- White oak is much more is suitable for water-holding applications such as boat building, outdoor furniture, luxury flooring etc. where as Red oak is suitable for interior pieces such as cabinets, indoor furniture, flooring.Red Oak wood is a lighter shade wood than compared to White Oak. Red Oak wood tends to be slightly reddish to amber color where as White Oak tends to be bit browner and more yellowish in shade. While comparing raw Oak wood, its fairly easy to make out the difference with a naked eye however if you have a finished Oak floor, it would be hard to identify if your floor is Red Oak or White Oak. In that case, there are other reliable tests that you can perform to find out if your wood is Red Oak or White Oak.

When working either species, you may notice differences in how they feel in your hands and how the machines react to them. The inherent hardness of white oak can make a saw blade burn, chatter or skip if it is even slightly dull. White oak is also more brittle than red oak and will splinter or even shatter if the wood is introduced into a blade a bit too fast. Red oak cuts smoother and has a slightly pliable quality to it that prevents it from shattering or breaking as easily as white oak. When working with hand tools such as chisels, red oak is far easier to carve.
– As far as cost goes, Red Oak is comparatively cheaper than White Oak. In terms of flooring, White Oak tends to add $1-$2 more compared to Red Oak floor of the same quality.Whats the difference between Red Oak v/s White Oak? This is a very common question most of us come across especially when we are looking into Oak flooring for a commercial design project or a home remodel/renovation. Lets dive deeper in understanding the ways to differentiate between a Red Oak and White Oak floor along with what makes them different in terms of workability, cost and use.

The rays which are the sides of the pin holes are much longer in White Oak Floors as compared to a Red Oak floor. A Red Oak floor would typically have 1/4″ long rays as compared to 3/4″long rays in a White Oak floor. If you are working with a finished floor, it is a good way to identify if your wood is Red Oak or White Oak.
Thank you for the question! The floor color has remained consistent in the 2 years since we refinished them. Water-based products do not change color with exposure to sunlight, so these floors should remain pretty consistent for years to come. 🙂Hi Robin – Sorry to hear about this predicament. Honestly, you are probably not going to match white oak and red oak very well when they are placed side by side, especially with an oil finish on the white oak. I know it stinks, but the best option is to probably replace the red oak flooring with white oak. Also, the oil finish on the white oak will yellow as the months/years progress, so even if you match it initially, it will likely not match as the stain matures. The absolute best option here would be to replace the red oak with white oak and sand and refinish all the flooring, then apply a water based stain/finish. That will produce a consistent look and won’t yellow as the sun hits it. Good luck!

However, we want to share some of the things we learned (the hard way) and the products that we used. The below 5 steps are designed to help anyone looking to refinish a wood floor, no matter what wood species or stain is used, but I will highlight the products and process we went through when refinishing red oak to be less “red”.

Use painters tape to create squares on your floor in several areas of your home. Have your contractor apply the stains so you can see what you like best. For our red oak, we went through quite a few different combinations of stains before settling on the one we liked best. It is important in this step to take your time deciding – you will likely feel pressured by your contractor to select a stain as soon as possible (so they have time to order it so they can complete the job). But this is a HUGE decision that can be very costly if you end up choosing a stain you don’t like, so don’t rush.
Thanks for the comment! I would suggest you have your contractors tape off a couple 3×3 areas on your floor and in the first square, use two coats of Bona NordicSeal. In the second, use three coats, and then compare the two. The more coats you put on, the lighter it gets. The Bona HD Traffic won’t change the color/tone, and one coat was OK for us. Hope that helps!

Thank you for the question! The Bona NordicSeal acts as a bleach – the more coats you put on, the lighter the floors become. No stains were used on these floors. The sealant we used is Bona HD Traffic and does not affect the color of the wood tone. Thanks!
Hi – I admire the stairs and hand rail colors matching with the hardwood floor. Can you let me know the process you did to sand / refinish the stairs and hand rail. What type of paint or stain was used ? would be helpful to know – the brand name of stain / paint colors. ThanksUse online resources such as Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram to see what other people have done to refinish their floors, and what products they use. Find a few examples that you like and keep the links or save them to you phone so you can show your contractor. Examples that list the products they use are best – the more detail you can provide your contractor, the better.

What is the most popular stain for red oak?
Minwax is the stain choice that most DIY bloggers use. Duraseal is more widely used by flooring professionals. Duraseal offers more stain options. Cached
This is perhaps one of the most challenging parts of the process, and definitely one of the most important. A contractor can make or break a refinishing project, so finding the right contractor, at the right price, is key. Use online resources such as Angi, Yelp, and Google (reviews) to find a wood floor contractor that specializes in refinishing. There are many contractors that can rip out a floor and install a new one, but refinishing an existing floor is more of an artform, and experience matters.Hi Erin! We did not try the Bona DriFast stain, but we did try other white and gray stains (diluted with water). The problem with those was that it looked “beachy”, like we were whitewashing the floor. The NordicSeal is like a bleach, so it still keeps the wood feel, but removes the red tones. I highly recommend it! We did the same process on the banister and rails. And yes, we used Satin as the topcoat – the matte finish just showed too much dirt (always looked dirty) and we are extremely happy with the satin finish. Good luck with your project!We really like the look of white oak– it’s warm and inviting without being overly red. If we wanted to rip up the existing red oak and replace it with white oak, it would easily cost six figures. Instead, we did our research and found out that we could get close to the look of white oak by sanding the red oak and applying a white wash. We decided to go for it and spoiler alert, we are so glad we did! We are John and Megan, and we are excited to share our love of design, decor, and home renovations. We are a husband and wife team with a passion for improving our home, one room at a time! Over the years we have developed a unique design style and have done a fair number of renovations – we want to share what we have learned, give useful design and DIY tips, and allow you to shop our favorite decor and home items. This was actually a blessing in disguise because in the week that we lived with the matte floor sections, we realized just how much dirt they showed and how unfinished they looked. We had the contractor apply the satin sealer when they came back to redo their work. However, what they did this time to ensure a consistent finish (this is our big tip) is to mix all the containers of sealer in one big container/barrel before applying. Apparently, there was enough variation in the many containers of sealer (all labeled as the same matte finish) that it dried differently when applied. Mixing everything together ensures that the product will be consistent across your entire area.We were on a tight timeline – our goal was to have the floors finished before moving day. The contractor was scheduled to apply the Bona HD sealer two days before we moved in, so it had time to cure completely before the movers walked all over it. They texted and said they were done, and the next day I drive out to the property to inspect the floors and found that some rooms had a matte finish, while others had a satin finish, and a clear line could be seen. Check out the pictures below. Obviously, this was a big problem since we were moving in the next day. Long story short, we had to move in and a week later, move all the furniture to the garage so the contractor could sand the top finish off the floor and reapply the sealer.

What kind of stain do you use on red oak?
The Best Dark Stain Colors for Red Oak Jacobean is probably my favorite stain color but Minwax Dark Walnut is a close second! But Espresso is just as gorgeous, just a touch lighter than the other two. Cached
we are in the process of putting new read oak hardwood floors due to water damage and sand & stain the rest of the floor which are already installed. we had darker ( antique brown) before and we would like to go with the same approach like you guys did ( bleach the read oak) and we would like to go for grey stain as well. Does this work ? Also we would like to paint walls. what type of paint and finish have you used on the wallsWhen we bought our current house, we inherited a red oak floor that spanned most of the first floor and the entire second level. Our house was built in the early 2000’s, and red oak and rich cherry were very popular choices at that time. Fast forward 20 years and people are spending big money to remove the red elements from their homes. However, you can remove the “red” in many of these elements for a fraction of the cost of replacing by painting or refinishing. Ready to learn how to refinish red oak flooring? You’re in luck – read on to learn how we did it!

Watching the sanding machines strip the old stain or paint off a wood floor is one of the most satisfying things to watch! Make sure your contractor sands all the nooks and crannies around walls, stairs, and doorways. If you have any water damage in certain areas or other imperfections, now is the time to replace those boards and fill the imperfections with high-quality (stainable) filler. If you are considering extending your wood floor into other rooms, now is the time to install it. For our project, we removed the dated marble in the entryway and powder room and installed matching red oak to create a consistent look on the main level. This is where a good contractor can be a huge asset – having one that knows what wood to use to perfectly match your existing floor is key.
Thank you for the question! The Nordicseal is similar to a bleach – the more coats you put on the lighter it becomes. We did two coats of that directly on the raw wood (no stain). We then applied the Bona HD Traffic on top of that, and that’s it!

Hi – I see floor differences between old red oak floors having lines in between them due to them having grooves Vs. modern hardwood floors looks like flat surface, how deep did you sand them ? did you attempt to remove the grooves completely, if not possible – how will it look like after finishing, will the guests notice the floor difference between old and new ? Thanks for your comments
That’s it! We hope these 5 steps (and the tips and products below) help you in your refinishing project and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

I am selling my house, which was built in 1950. Almost the entire house has white oak flooring with oil base poly, which as you mentioned has yellowed in the sun after recently being refinished. Here’s the problem: we accidentally purchased red oak to replace the one room that had carpeting. When the contractor we hired separately came to install it, he noticed the wood was different but didn’t say anything. Now we want to refinish the red oak to get it as close as possible to the rest of the house. Sanding and applying oil base poly darkens the red oak, but you can tell the floors are different due to the red veins. Any ideas?

Always get at least three quotes (more is better) and select a contractor that offers a fair price, and one that you get a good vibe from. Show them pictures and products of the look you want (from step 1 above) and make sure they understand what you want. The contractor we chose had many positive, recent reviews from previous customers (on Angie’s List), and they arrived on time to give their quote. They were also very responsive (via texts and calls) when I had questions about their quote or their services.
Your floors look beautiful! Thank you for sharing your process. We just added Red Oak to our kitchen and Family Room and will be refinishing the existing floors on the first floor next week. Our contractor planned on using Bona DriFast Stain and I was planning on doing mixture of White/Natural to try to eliminate the pink and yellow tones. Did you try that before deciding to go with the NordicSeal? Sounds like your way may be the easiest way to get this beautiful natural look of white oak. What did you do with your existing banister on your staircase? Did you do this same process on your stairs? I’m considering using a gel stain on the banister and stairs in a gray/brown color, with white balitsters and risers. I would keep my stairs the light oak color, but am afraid the banister won’t match. Our house was built in 1993, so it definitely needs refinished. You ended up using the Satin topcoat, correct?For our project, the contractor mixed some options for us and applied them in our sample squares. Some stains were mixed with others, while others were diluted to be lighter in tone. Ultimately, we went with two coats of Bona NordicSeal and topped with one coat of Bona Traffic HD Satin finish. The NordicSeal is a great product for red oak – it safely “bleaches” the wood and removes the harsh red tones. The more coats you apply, the lighter it becomes. Thanks for the question! Our wood floors were installed 20 years ago, so in comparison to some of the older homes (100+ years, for example), the wood grain and tone match pretty well. We did not have to sand the new wood down too much to match the existing wood. Wood is a natural product and varies in look and tone depending on location, age, exposure to sun, humidity, etc. One thing to note is that our floors are sand-in-place planks, so they don’t have the gap between each plank, which may be the “grooves” you are referring to. The grooved flooring would be much harder to match and sand so that it looks consistent. But I recommend you talk to a local flooring expert in your area! 🙂 Many products have to be applied in a certain way or with certain tools/applicators. Make sure your contractor knows how to apply the products you selected. Application quality can make or break your final product, especially in an open concept floorplan or large expanse of hardwood. Stay on top of your contractor! We have a big tip to share for this step, but before we give it, let me give you the back story on how our contractor gave us a two-tone floor.

Is red oak outdated?
Red oak was very popular during times when certain stains and finishes were trendy (hi orange floors of the ’90s!). That being said, red oak isn’t out of style and orange floors aren’t your destiny if you have red oak floors. There are ways to stain the oak to minimize or even hide the orange undertones.
I’m so glad I can across your post! Now I know exactly what to tell our flooring contractor when we’re ready. 🙂 We want to pair the lightened red oak floor with a crisp white wall just like you did. What paint color did you use? Thanks!Unless i missed it in the article I didn’t see how you got the redo oak to look white. Did you bleach the floors with a particular agent? If the first photo is the finished product could you kindly elaborate on the process and selection of stains/sealants? That color is exactly what my wife and I are looking for.For the finish, use a water-based product, not an oil-based product which can yellow from sun exposure over time. The water-based products are also much easier to work with. One of the big trends right now is matte finishes, and this is what we “thought” we wanted, but after a slight debacle (more detail about that in the next step), we realized that the matte look for flooring just looks unfinished and consistently dirty. A satin sheen is still soft enough for our taste but looks finished and clean.You can really see splotches of white in the Antique White. If you really like this just make sure you use a good wood conditioner and you shouldn’t get the splotchiness that I got.Red Oak is very similar to Oak but it has a bit more red in it (obviously right). The stain colors will come out similar but there will be some very subtle differences to the final product. Varathane Classic Black is the only one I really can see a good amount of black in. I think the red in the oak really cancels out the black in the other two. You just don’t see it as much. Again I think these are all really nice options here. And I notice a mistake in my photo, it’s Minwax Red Mahogany, not Varathane. I corrected it in the link below.Today I am sharing the best wood stains for red oak! I have 20 different colors and photos of how each color looks on red oak so you can choose the right stain color for you!

If you have been around the blog for a while and read any of my paint posts you will know that undertones really determine how a color will look and the same can be said for stain colors. The undertones here are in the wood and the stain colors look different on different types of wood.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.For the light stain colors, I really like all the options below. You can get a super light one and one that is a touch darker. It’s really all in what you are looking for. These dark colors are just stunning! Jacobean is probably my favorite stain color but Minwax Dark Walnut is a close second! But Espresso is just as gorgeous, just a touch lighter than the other two. Strong flooring provides you with a great chance for customization. It also comes in different widths which allows you to further customize the flooring to your home. Thus, pick a lighter shade for the ground, if you desire a natural and more durable flooring. Natural bamboo flooring is offered in planks. In solid bamboo flooring there are two sorts, in other words, horizontal and vertical.

If you intend to install your hardwood floor yourself but have limited experience in laying flooring, you will likely wish to consider utilizing an engineered wood that may be glued or floated. Hardwood floors have come a very long way in the previous thirty decades. Real hardwood floors need a lot of upkeep and maintenance. If you are searching for solid hardwood floors to last provided that your house does, pick a thicker plank.The very first step is to work out precisely what kind of wood is on your floors. Actually, in some instances, like, for instance, in basements, it is far better to use engineered wood instead of solid wood. In any of those scenarios, engineered wood is most likely the best route to go. If you’re looking for a reddish wood, look at using red oak or beech.

Of all Of the bathroom furnishings, flooring is one which has a fantastic impact upon the restroom decor. If you’re thinking about choosing this flooring then you have to learn some real facts about it. So, you can think about bamboo flooring from such brands. Bamboo wood flooring is full of details and you may observe the fine or thick lines. If you are searching for a nice but inexpensive wood flooring, laminate bamboo flooring is the very best option available.The flooring is offered in finished and unfinished alternatives. Nowadays most laminate flooring doesn’t require glue and just clicks together. Prefinished flooring gets rid of the dust and noise factors (you will nonetheless get some noise), however your subfloor should be perfectly level to attain the best outcomes. Prefinished wood flooring doesn’t require sanding and staining which saves a good deal of time. Asian Walnut wood flooring is just one of the most unique hardwood species offered in the market now. If you get unfinished, Asian Walnut wood flooring it is going to have to get the protective finish applied after installation in your house.

How do you make red oak pop?
Adding a dye or stain to your Oak project creates a strong undertone that can really pop the grain. Traditionally, mixing and using dye is a process done by woodworkers and furniture makers. Dye coloring tends to be yellow or reddish brown.
Wood floors are very sensitive to moisture. They already come with a lot of natural character and beauty. Strong wood floors are pricier in materials and harder to install. Asian Walnut wood floors are now ever more popular in the past couple of decades.

In terms of the shellac, it’s frequently used to seal the oak. The second idea if you’re working with oak is always guarantee that all your tools are extremely sharp. Both types are really hard and durable, but white oak is normally thought to be the most desirable since it matures more slowly. White oak for flooring has a broad selection of colors that range from white to dark gray brown.Some recent floors may be produced of an engineered wood, and these can’t be refinished. It is not hard to observe why prefinished floors have gotten so common. Engineered bamboo floor may also be floated and is an excellent option in the event the sub-floor is concrete.

Get the exact shade you want by bringing the item to the Lowe’s paint desk. They’ll take it from there — and you’ll take home a perfectly matched color.
*Minwax’s #1 claim above is based on Epicor’s Industry Data Analytics and third-party survey results for interior wood stains for the 12 month period ending 12/21.

Find the exact color you want to create your custom look with Minwax. With more than 240+ color options, we’ve got the perfect stain color for your project!

In this section, I will focus on light to medium tone stains, as they are popular in modern homes, easy to match with furniture, and hide dirt well, making them versatile choices. Additionally, I will discuss oil-based finishes, which are known for their durability and widespread availability.
If I were to do it again, I would spend more time testing the stain color on a piece of red oak plywood myself to make a decision without the pressure of floor finishers being present. Additionally, I would probably choose a slightly grayer stain color that diminishes the grain instead of enhancing it.Right after my husband and I purchased our 1940s house, we were thrilled to discover beautiful hardwood floors hidden beneath layers of old carpeting. However, we soon realized that the floors were made of red oak when we brought in a flooring company.

Looking to stain your red oak floors but struggling to choose the right color? With the natural reddish hue of red oak, finding the perfect stain can be challenging.

This is a great first step to narrow down your choice without having to resand the floor, which can make it thinner and more difficult. Once you have a few strong contenders, you can test them on the actual floor.
This is why I ended up choosing Nutmeg. I liked how it balanced the pink tones and gave a neutral brown color, and the medium hue hid the nail holes fairly well. One thing I’m not particularly fond of is how it enhances the green tones. When compared to Weathered Oak, you can see a contrast between the wood grain and the base color.The easiest way is to get red oak planks or plywood to test stain colors. Oak planks may be harder to acquire and more expensive, so red oak plywood is a convenient option. Do you want to lighten or darken the wood floor? While it may seem like darker stains would be better at hiding dirt, in reality, black floors can actually show dirt quite prominently, as dirt tends to be gray, not black. In this photo below, I used some leftover 3/4″ plywood to test some stain colors. You can see their color and grain are very similar to floor planks which makes them a great candidate for stain color testing.So hope these red oak stain colors gives you some ideas on what are the best stain for your red oak floor. In summary, stain colors with yellow tint are good for red oak as they make red oak less red. Some stains that does it well are Weathered Oak, Glassic Gray, Golden Oak, Nutmeg. However, we found that staining the floors slightly darker, combined with balancing out the redness to achieve a more neutral light brown color, which fit our vision much better. Plus, the darker stain helped to hide dirt and wear-and-tear more effectively, making it a practical choice for high-traffic areas. This may not be a big issue for a new red oak floor with fewer nail holes, but for traditional hardwood floors with narrow planks and closely spaced nail holes, it was a concern.

Please note that all the photos in this blog post were taken by me using a phone or DSLR camera. However, the color of the photos may be influenced by factors such as camera color profile, monitor color, and lighting conditions when the photos were captured. While I have tried my best to present the photos as close to real life as possible. Before you determine a stain for your red oak flooring, make sure to test some things in real life and check under different lighting.
In addition to that, other two important factors to chose the best stain for red oak are: Does it highlight the wood grain? Does it hide nail holes? If you prefer to hide the nail holes on your red oak floor, then a medium to darker stain color will be a better choice.After considering various options that were tested on our floor, I ended up choosing Nutmeg as the stain color. Here is a photo I snapped while they were testing different colors. In this post, I’ll share a few key factors to consider while choosing wood stain for red oak, test out some popular stains on red oak, my personal experience staining our red oak floor to help you find the ideal stain color for your red oak floors. I tested some popular stain colors on red oak plywood to see how they interact with my red oak floor. I also tried to match the existing Nutmeg stain on my floor, but it’s not available for purchase. I need to re-stain parts of the floor that were patched up by my contractor, so it’s been a side quest to find the right match.Pickled Oak: Pickled Oak by Minwax. This stain gives a light white wash to white oak. When it is applied to red oak, it doesn’t really brighten the wood tone. Instead, it brings out the pink hue from red oak. With that being said, I don’t recommend stain on red oak floors.

Golden Oak from Varathane: the last one in the picture is Golden Oak. This is a pretty popular stain color. I wanted to get the golden hawk from Minwax, but Minwax stains are no longer carry it at Home Depot unfortunately. This stain gives a more bright yellow finish to the read oak, complete disguise it to a pice of stained white oak.
Oil Based Polyurethane: Oil based poly coat by Varathane which adds warmth to wood. After applying a coat, the red oak takes a slight yellow hue, and darkens a tiny bit. Purpose of this one is to give you a baseline to compare with other stain colors on red oak wood.

What color stain looks good on oak?
Grey wood stain gives wood a naturally aged or rustic look. It’s great for a beach house, lake house, or farmhouse aesthetic. Classic Gray by Minwax is my favorite gray toned stain on oak! This is a great option if you want to take oak wood and transform it to have more of a cool tone to it.
You can easily buy ¼” plywood sheets in sizes starting from 2’x2’ and to up to 4’x8’. Make sure to buy plywood with a fine sanded finish as for better mimicry of the floor.

What finish looks best on red oak?
A beeswax treatment can be easily found in most hardware stores because it has been dubbed one of the best products to use for finishing red oak and white oak. It is very simple to apply because you need only a cloth and a bit of elbow grease.
In case you are not familiar of DuraSeal, they are the professional line of Minwax. So most of the time, the stain color stay consistent between these two lines.I also found QC 13 and QC 4 interesting. QC with a number is from their Intermixed Collection, and these colors are a mix of two stains to achieve more color variations. I liked how they mixed with Classic Gray to create a more gray finish. However, these two colors were relatively light, and the nail holes on the hardwood floor were too obvious.

Weathered Oak: Top stain color is from Varathane on the bottom stain is from Minwax. It’s interesting the same stain name can result in a slightly different color. Varathane’s weathered oak from virus and has more of a warm hue, whereas weathered oak from Minwax skew more yellow. They both appress the red hue from red oak.
Weathered oak mixed with English Chestnut: This is my attempt to recreate my current floor stain Nutmeg since it is a lot harder to buy locally. When I first applied English Chestnut on red oak, it turned more red, so I applied Weathered Oak to balance it out a bit. It is the darkest option from what I have tested

How do you modernize red oak?
The NordicSeal is a great product for red oak – it safely “bleaches” the wood and removes the harsh red tones. The more coats you apply, the lighter it becomes. For the finish, use a water-based product, not an oil-based product which can yellow from sun exposure over time.
If you’re like us and you’re aiming for a modern look with your red oak floors, reducing the red hue is important, unless a light pink floor is your cup of tea.

After they sanded a patch from the floor, we noticed the hardwood floor patch looks light pink. The floor was originally stained in a very dark color so we couldn’t tell because exposing the raw wood underneath.

These are some light to medium stain color I tested on red oak recently. Keep reading as I’ll share more stain colors applied on my red oak floor when we finish refinished it a few years ago.
Initially, I was surprised to find that our red oak floor looked so pink. Despite doing research on stain colors, when the floor company tested them on my floor, they looked different. This is because most of the online resource on stain color is based on white oak, not red oak. In fact, some stain colors can look really different between these two oak floors.Some stains can actually enhance the redness, while others may have yellow or green undertones that help to counterbalance the redness, resulting in a more neutral floor color. Testing out the stain colors on the red oak floor to achieve the right balance of warm vs cool hue can be crucial. Later in the post I’ll share some popular stain colors tested on red oak wood, to give you some ideas.