Hardwood floor refinish issue

I have an older home, built in the 30's, that has hardwood flooring in the living room. The floor was previously stained quite dark, and had big scratches. Additionally, I removed a floor furnace and it left a large hole in the floor along the wall by the entrance to the kitchen.
I hired a refinisher to come in and do the following: repair/fill the hole then sand and coat the entire living room floor with polyeurethane to natural color (that was his suggestion).
He did a great job except for one thing. The wood he used to repair the hole where the furnace used to be is quite a bit lighter than the existing wood. As in, the original wood is almost an orangish-red and the new wood is nearly white.
He indicates that the new wood will yellow with age (or darken), but I have my doubts. It seems to me that the new wood should more closely match the existing wood RIGHT FROM DAY ONE. Am I off base here? Should I pay him the balance for his work, or should I demand that he replace the new lighter wood with something closer in color? Thanks!
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there are a lot of woods that age due to sunlight. if he made it match with stain, then it would eventually look out of place when the rest of the floor changed, and that area didn't. it would be hard, but not impossible, to find wood to match the current color unless he can find some he could take out of a closet, for example.
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snipped-for-privacy@pine-cone.net wrote:

You've run into one of the compromises that frequently are encountered in remodeling and refinishing work. If you have him stain the wood to match the existing, and it does in fact darken with age, it will look worse as time goes by instead of better. Many woods do darken with exposure to sunlight, but you didn't mention what hardwood it is so it's tough to tell.
It's also possible that the guy used a different species of the hardwood - red vs. white oak is an example. They will never look the same unless stained.
R
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snipped-for-privacy@pine-cone.net wrote:

It is true that most woods darken after a few months exposure to light. However, the old wood was stained and the stain was sanded off. That means any darkening due to sunlight was also sanded off and both it and the new wood are raw. They should be similar in color.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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wrote: : > I have an older home, built in the 30's, that has hardwood flooring in : > the living room. The floor was previously stained quite dark, and had : > big scratches. Additionally, I removed a floor furnace and it left a : > large hole in the floor along the wall by the entrance to the kitchen. : > : > : > I hired a refinisher to come in and do the following: repair/fill the : > hole then sand and coat the entire living room floor with : > polyeurethane to natural color (that was his suggestion). : > : > He did a great job except for one thing. The wood he used to repair : > the hole where the furnace used to be is quite a bit lighter than the : > existing wood. As in, the original wood is almost an orangish-red : > and the new wood is nearly white. : > : > He indicates that the new wood will yellow with age (or darken), but I : > have my doubts. It seems to me that the new wood should more closely : > match the existing wood RIGHT FROM DAY ONE. Am I off base here? : > Should I pay him the balance for his work, or should I demand that he : > replace the new lighter wood with something closer in color? Thanks! : : It is true that most woods darken after a few months exposure to light. : However, the old wood was stained and the stain was sanded off. That : means any darkening due to sunlight was also sanded off and both it and : the new wood are raw. They should be similar in color. : : : -- : dadiOH : ____________________________ : : dadiOH's dandies v3.06... : ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from : LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. : Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico : : Uhh, no! It doesn't work that way. Sound logical, but it's not the way it works.
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And in a few months you'll bitch that it is too dark. Wood darkens with exposure to UV. Some will change in days, others take longer. Cherry is one of the fastest to react. While the surface changes first you do get some penetration, especially over the number of years the house has been there.
If you don't believe me, go to any woodworking shop and ask to see a board planed. You'll be amazed at the color difference when you take off the top 1/16th or so. Beside, the floor guy did not make the wood, it comes from trees. The most common way he can change the color is to stain it. When he does that, the color will never be the same years from now if the rest of the floor is unstained. .
You can also darken oak with ammonia fumes to achieve the mission oak or Stickly style. Other woods react greatly to sodium hydroxide (lye) and can be ages in minutes.
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It might be the floor is red oak the patch is white Oak. Sanding removed the old sun oxidized layer of wood, but it is still aged darker. He should have stained the repair to match. I bet it never will blend in by itself, a hacks excuse.
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Pop wrote:

So how *does* it work?
I have a piece of cherry on a jig in my shop. It was oiled and is at least 15 years old. Cherry is very photo sensitive and it is a deep, dark red now. A light sanding (with 150 grit yet!) gets it back to the original brown heart wood color pre-oil. If the OP's floor was sanded sufficiently to remove the dark stain, color changes due to light are gone too.
I repeat: if the wood color in the patched area doesn't match the rest of the floor now it never will. My best guess is that the two are different oak species; likely, original red oak, new white oak.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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I'm with dadiOH and Ransley on this one. Doing a thorough sanding job on the existing flooring should have brought it back to it's underlying color. At that point, the old and new wood should match pretty close, or they never will. The old "It will match after it ages" is almost always the sign of a hack.
To do this right requires years of experience and skill, which is why you want a specialist. He either has to get wood that is very close, or if that's not possible, know how to stain something with a grain that is close so that it will match.
If I were faced with this problem, I would insist that the contractor take a piece of the old wood and come back and show me that piece together with a new piece, both of which have been refinished. You will of course have to pay extra for this, but at least you won't wind up with a mess.
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The only real solution is to strip the patch by using a scraper and stain to match . You can go to the expense to replace it with red oak if that is what you have but staining will still be likely necessary making replacement unnecessary. I have matched stain many times, new oak to old oak, pine to oaks to walnut etc etc. It will take someone with multiple stain colors, experience and patience. Once the stain has cured a final color check can be done by wetting the wood with say thinner, standing back and compare results. Finish the patch by brushing in an equal amount of coats you have now on the floor then recoat the entire floor.
It is time consuming to match stain, inbetween dry times and color changes it would take me maybe 3-5 trips to stain it, and 3-5 to finish it. or 1-2 weeks of an hour a day, then final coating, not cheap or easy, but it is your house and should be done right.
A pro would have known this before hand, and more then I have mentioned.
You contracted for a match, that is what I would pay for. You should call out a real experienced pro to see it, as we can`t, someone who knows how to do a close color match.
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"It is time consuming to match stain, inbetween dry times and color changes it would take me maybe 3-5 trips to stain it, and 3-5 to finish
it. or 1-2 weeks of an hour a day, then final coating, not cheap or easy, but it is your house and should be done right."
And a good reason to use my suggestion of having the contractor take a piece of old wood as a sample and come back when he has a piece of new and the old finished so you can see how they will look. Now that I think about this more, it would seem that this is also easier for the contractor. Instead of fooling around trying to match it on site, it would seem a lot easier for him to take a sample and experiment at shop until he has it right. Plus, if I were doing this for a customer, that's how I would do it so there is agreement upfront as to how it will look. You can never make this perfect and what' satisfactory to one person will not be to someone else. I'd rather avoid surprises and unhappy customers after the work is done.
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snipped-for-privacy@pine-cone.net wrote:

Well, I'll chime in with my personal experience. Our house was built in the 1920's, and has the original oak floor. Before refinishing, a few spots had to be repaired with new wood. Rather than put the new wood in in highly noticeable spots, old wood flooring was taken from the back of a closet to do the repairs in a hallway, and new wood was put in to replace the "stolen" wood from the back of the closet. Even after sanding (rather deeply I might add to take out deep scratches), the old wood was still darker than the new wood. I assume this is because the sunlight darkening the wood goes rather deep.
We had a similar situation in our old house too. A couple strips of oak flooring needed to be replaced, and the floor guy brought a few strips of old wood that he had taken out of another house on another job, because he said that new wood would never match the existing old wood floor.
So In your case, I would say do one of two things: 1.) Just wait (perhaps years) until the lighter wood darkens. 2.) See if you have a place where you can take up enough of the old floor somewhere, and put that in place of the existing patch, and then of course refinsh that section of floor again.
Ken
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