Thursday, August 22, 2013

Selecting the Stain Color for Our Wood Floors

Happy Hump Day everyone!  I am so excited because Mattey-boy finally gets home tonight after being in the Deen for the past two weeks...and it looks like this might be his last trip over for quite some time (for those of you who don't know, he has been spending about 3 weeks+ each month in Aberdeen, Scotland since March for work and his tour-of-duty is finally over)! Yippy for me!!!  While he has been gone this past two weeks, I have moved onto our next major project at the casa, and that's refinishing our wood floors. This is a pretty huge undertaking and has a lot riding on it (literally) because we have wood floors in EVERY SINGLE ROOM of the house (other than the bathrooms and laundry room - I showed you the details here)...and let me tell you, that's A LOT of wood people! Although the vast majority of the floors are the original floors that were installed when the house was built in 1967,  we have expanded the front of the house, relocated the stairs,  moved a ton of walls, and also added on a whole new bedroom during this renovation....which means that we had to install new floors for each of these locations. Easy-peasy, right???? Just go pick up some matching floor at the flooring store and you are good to go?!?! Well, unfortunately, that is 100% wrong in this case. So let me explain, here is a picture of how the floors look currently (with a whole lot of drywall dust and apparently some kind of water (I hope) drop...yummy):
So, asides from all the drywall dust, we have two major issues.  First, flooring companies no longer make wood floors with the cute little pegs at the end...apparently those pegs actually held the boards down (and are more expensive) so have become obsolete.  Second, 47 year old floors are super tricky to match because 40+ years worth of love gives them a depth and character that you can not recreate with brand new, out-of-the-box wood mater how much they hand scrape them.  So our solution was to hunt for reclaimed wood floor that were the same or similar vintage...and we totally scored!!! Although the salvaged floors were completely different colors than our current floors, they are real wood and can be sanded down and restained to match.  In the picture below you can see a sample of the newly installed salvaged floors (the ones on the left side of the square) next to our existing floors (the ones with the pegs on the right side of the square), with a sample of stain that matched the original color...pretty impressive if I do say so myself!!!
So now that we resolved the "how do you match 47 year old floors" issue, it is time for the fun stuff - picking the stain color!!! Fun, fun, fun! The color of our original floors (as you can see in the picture above) was a redish-orangish-brown with dark pegs.  Although it looked super pretty, we have both been leaning towards the idea of darker floors throughout the house (1) to go with the dark trim that we have downstairs and (2) because we think that it feels just a bit more dressed up.  However, I didn't want anything that was too dark, because I didn't want to loose the pretty wood grain and variations in each of the boards. So I thought maybe a dark walnut stain mixed with ebony. I explained my vision to the floor guys and then played Goldilocks for the afternoon wading through the seven samples that they provided:

Starting from the bottom row on the right and moving clockwise, we had
  1. Antique Brown (too light and too yellowish-brown)
  2. English Chestnut (too light and too orange)
  3. Spice brown (getting darker, but not dark enough...although I loved how it really brought out the grain)
  4. Coffee Brown {closed grain*(love the tone and the effect on the grain, but still just a hair too light for my taste)
  5. Coffee Brown {open grain*} (definitely good on the darkness, but it felt a bit flat)
  6. Ebony {open grain*}(too dark because we completely lost the wood grain)
  7. 50% Coffee Brown & 50% Ebony {open grain*} (WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!)
 * Open grain means they wipe the wood with water before applying the stain to open the grain so more of the color soaks makes a huge difference.
I absolutely fell in love with the 50% Coffee Brown-50% Ebony combination because (1) it provides the deep brown tone that I was envisioning with the Coffee Brown; and (2) the ebony stepped in to highlight the beautiful grain in each of the boards.  Here is a close up of the color (although the picture above it much more accurate depiction of the color...the color in the picture below is darker than the color in real life and there is more contrast)

So that is one more check on the ol' To-Do List!!! So exciting!  It is going to take the floor guys 10 days to finish the floors, but all the stain and first coat of poly should be down by Monday.  So stop by back to see the update!  I hope that you all have a wonderful rest of your week!!!

Oh, and just cause I am excited and because it's Thursday...I think it is time for a little Carlton!


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