Hardwood floors are one of the best long-term investments for homeowners and commercial owners. They are extremely durable, easy to clean and maintain, and can elevate the look of any space. But every now and then, hardwood floors need a refresh.
In order to extend the lifespan of hardwood flooring and keep it in top shape, special attention needs to be placed on cleaning and maintenance. Using the right products, sweeping and vacuuming regularly, cleaning any stains or cracks as soon as they appear, avoiding water damage – these are all part of the process when it comes to hardwood floor maintenance.
Additionally, hardwood floors require refinishing and recoating once in a while – that could be every five years, or more often, depending on the level of traffic and damage. When that moment comes, clients find it a good time to change things up and change the color and look of their hardwood floors.
Whether they’re bored with the color and want to switch it up, or they’ve redesigned the space in a different color palette, or the color of the wood has faded – no matter the reason, they might be looking to change the color of their hardwood floors. So, is that doable, and how can you help them achieve the result they want without damaging the floors?
The first step: sanding the hardwood floors
When refinishing hardwood floors, it’s a good time to switch up the color or hue of the floor according to the client’s wishes. Solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished to achieve a lighter, or darker appearance, while engineered hardwood can also be refinished, although the process is a bit more complex. Laminate flooring cannot be refinished or sanded, so it needs to be replaced entirely with laminate in a different color.
Refinishing hardwood begins by sanding the floors, usually three times, to achieve a smooth surface and make sure that the wood will absorb the top coat properly. Once the floor has been properly sanded, it’s time to apply a stain. However, some clients prefer the ‘natural’ look of the wood, in which case, staining can be skipped.
Applying stain to hardwood floors
Stains come in a wide variety of shades, from light to red to dark tones. It’s important to keep in mind that the stain will look different on each different floor, so test out the color on a small piece of wood to ensure that the client is pleased with the result. The final result also depends on the current color of the wood; you won’t be able to make dark-colored hardwood look bright and nordic, no matter how many coats of stain you apply. One option to make darker floors appear brighter is whitewashing, or bleaching the hardwood floors to give it a lighter, softer look. However, this is a process that should always be left to a professional, to avoid permanent damage to the hardwood.
Using a tinted water-based sealer
To achieve a darker look for a client’s hardwood flooring, you can opt for a finish or a top coat in a darker tint. Or, you can use a tinted water-based sealer like the Bona Water-Based Sealer, which comes in five options: Nordic Seal (the lightest color), Natural Seal, Classic Seal, Intense Seal, or Amber Seal, which is the darkest option. This is a non-yellowing, poly-tone waterborne sanding sealer that offers an oil-based look to hardwood floors. It can be used with any Bona water-based finishes and can be applied over both stained and unstained floors, giving them a shiny, fresh look. Unlike a glaze or a normal top coat, the Bona water-based sealer is highly durable, so it won’t fade anytime soon. It’s also non-flammable and virtually odorless, making it an environmentally-friendly option.
The final result, like we’ve already mentioned, will depend on the type and color of the hardwood. Some species respond well to different colors or pigments, while others won’t show much of a difference. The Nordic look, which is quite popular nowadays and a favorite in minimalist design, can be hard to achieve since it’s such a light color. You might be able to achieve it if the floors are white oak or pine, but if the hardwood flooring is red oak, it will be challenging to bring it to a light, softer look. It’s also crucial that clients do not attempt to do this on their own, as they run the risk of the red oak hardwood turning pink in color.