Oak wood floors are available in various shades and provide a warm canvas for the rest of your decor. You might wish to darken your floor to match it to furniture or wall paint, to disguise unattractive dark stains, or to make floors look new. Whether or not it darkens over time and how much the pigment will change depends on the original shade and the original finish.
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Opaque or solid wood stains contain a lot of pigment and work by coating the wood with a layer of stain over the surface. Semi-translucent oil-based stains soak into the wood and colour it without leaving a layer over the wood, leaving the wood grain and pattern visible. Semi-translucent latex-based stains coat the wood with a thin layer, allowing the original colour to show through, Wood stains can match different wood colours to each other to help disguise stains.
Wood Floor Finish
Wood finishes create a thin, protective layer on wood. They are available in clear or tinted forms, and both can darken oak floors. Polyurethane wood finishes are durable and resistant to water and alcohol. Lacquer provides a more natural look than polyurethane but is more difficult to apply. Penetrating oil-based finishes soak into floors and add a little protection but are not very durable. Untinted polyurethane will impart an amber colour to the wood over time.
Dirt and Oils
Wood floors, especially unfinished wood floors, become darker over time as dirt and oils soak into them. For example, wood floors may be lighter in an area protected by a rug than in an area that is highly trafficked. Many floor owners choose to protect wood with a clear finish to prevent darkening, or they stain unevenly darkened floors to even out the colour.
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- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Wood Finishing: Stains, Sealers and Fillers
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Sealing, Staining and Filling
- Lowes.com: Refinish Wood Furniture
- Iowa State University Extension: Finishing Exterior Wood Surfaces
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Selection and Application of Exterior Stains for Wood