Hardwood Floor Species identification


The first thing National Floors must do is identify the species of hardwood floors that you have.  This is done simply with a smartphone & text.  When we can better understand what you have, we can then discuss your options.  The reason being, not all hardwood floors can be stained.  On the other hand, there are many species that can have their color customized to your liking.  Please take a picture, like that in the example on the left and text it to (510) 468-4165  

Option 1 | Hardwood Floors with Natural Optionred oak hardwood floor natural color national floors

Option 1 is defined as a red oak hardwood floor that has been restored by sanding them and creating a new surface.  This involves the removal of imperfections that lie in the surface.  Another benefit to know is the wood floor will also be sanded FLAT!  At the end of the sanding process, the floor can be prepared to accept color or top coat.  Adding just the top coat is what we refer to as a "Natural" option, which brings out the natural color.  Every hardwood species will have a slightly different appearance.  Most of the lighter hardwood species will have a golden tone.    

The picture on the right best depicts "Option 1", on Red Oak hardwood floors.  This project had Red Oak hardwood floors that were installed over 40 years ago.  After we resurfaced the wood floors, the creation a new surface was complete and we then top coated 3 times with commercial grade finish.  This is the end result.  Beautiful wood floors restored that will last for years to come.   

Option 2 | Hardwood Floors Stain Option

Option 2 if you desire something other than the "Natural" look, then you are a candidate for "Staining your hardwood floors".  The sanding process is the same as Option 1, except we would add the color of your choice prior to top coating for protection.  There are certain wood species, like red or white oak, that accept stain colors much better than others. This is why we need to know what wood species you have prior to offering you your options.   

The process of staining your hardwood floors

When a like new surface has been created and properly prepared, a custom stain color of your choice can now be added.  As stated before, there are hardwood species like OAK, that can be color manipulated for a personal fit.  Since all wood comes from different trees, there is always going to be color variations in the floor.  When you hire National Floors, we always recommend a "Stain demo" at the start of the project.  This way you can see first hand what the actual stain color would look like in your home, under your lighting conditions.  This way you can move forward with certainty about your choice of color.  After the color of choice has been applied, the floor will then be top coated 3 times with commercial grade polyurethane. 

Please scroll to the bottom of the page for "Stain color choices".

Hardwood floors | Staining explained

Not all hardwood floors can be stained.  Red oak and White oak floors tend to accept stain better than most other species.  The Stain examples shown "Below" are on Red Oak, but most don't know that red oak has multiple tones.  The picture on the right shows the variation in tones.  We usually find between 6-8 varying tones from light to dark shades along with different grain patterns.  The pictures below represent a single shade of what the actual stain could look like on your hardwood floors. What does all this mean? For red oak, it means that the stain choice will vary depending on the original tone of the hardwood.  The fact is, which ever color you choose, the stain will appear lighter on a light piece of oak then a darker piece of oak and vice verse. In "No Way" should you expect a pastel or even shade of stain when having your floors stained. Wood is an imperfect material and these differences can and will be amplified when staining your hardwood floors. This is why we always demo the color of choice prior to staining the entire floor.  This way you can make a color selection with confidence.

3 phases to Refinishing | Staining hardwood floors

a. The correct sanding sequence, usage of proper grits when creating a new surface

b. The correct application of stain.  The process can vary depending on the color of stain and wood species.  Other steps and preparations may be required.

c. The correct final coating of polyurethane applied to hardwood floors.

How hardwood floors accept StainStaining peaks valleys

The "Appearance" and final outcome of staining a hardwood floor is purely determined by the sanding sequence performed by the contractor and the choice of stain color.  The sanding sequence determines the depth of the peaks and valleys.  Under a microscope, you would be able to see the jagged edge of the wood grain.  The rougher the feel, the deeper the valleys are in the wood grain.  The finer the feel of hardwood, the shallower the valleys are in the hardwood floor.  The deeper the valley, the more the wood will accept the stain.  You see, when staining a wood floor or project, the stain will "Fill" the valleys, not the peaks.  So if you purchased a dark color stain and it appears lighter than the example the manufacturer shows, it is probably due to incorrect understanding of how to stain hardwood floors.  In our industry, the sanding sequence must be correct so we only have to apply one coat of stain to get the desired look. 

We have seen and heard many sellers of wood stains and DIY contractors say it's okay to add a second coat of stain.  That is not true if you want an even application of stain for professional results.  If you apply more than one coat of stain, it's usually because you are not satisfied with the initial outcome and want a darker stained appearance.  The misconception is, the stain purchased is too light, but it's not the stains fault, it's usually due to improper sanding sequence.  What professional wood workers find is that there is a high probability of a blotchy appearance once the second coat of stain is applied and wiped.  Some people have low expectations or lack the eye to catch the blotchy issue in the floor.  The only way to fix this blotchy mistake is to start over by sanding the floor.              

Hardwood floor species that can be stained

  • Red Oak Hardwood Floors - accept stain 
  • White Oak Hardwood Floors- accept stain
  • Maple Hardwood Floors- accept stain
  • Walnut Hardwood Floors- accept stain
  • Brazilian Hardwood Floors- accept stain 

Hardwood "Custom Stain" Color Choices

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