Cherry Flooring Color Change Questions


Hi folks:
I'm having problems figuring out what to do regarding finishing a cherry floor I had installed in a house I'm having built. The issue of course concerns how dark the floor will end up. I've also ordered cherry doors and casings. The builder is encouraging me to stain the floor casings and doors, and I'm leaning toward just applying a clear coat finish of some kind, which is what I envisioned in the first place.
One reason the builder is encouraging me to stain some of the cherry is the Anderson 400 series windows. They have a pine wood on the inside of the windows and the builder wants to try to stain the pine to match the cherry casings, which makes sense. His point on that is that if I just clear coat the casings they are going to change color in a way that he can't predict, and therefore he doesn't know how to stain the pine on the windows.
What I'm thinking right now is to just clear coat the floor and doors (any suggestions on whether polyurethane or something like Minwax is better for this purpose would be appreciated), and allow the casings to be stained so that the pine in the window frames can be stained to match. I'm assuming that if the wood is stained it will darken even more over time and would always be darker than the floor will ever get.
Lastly, I've heard various things about how natural cherry darkens. Is it the UV that causes the darkening, or just light in general? If it's just light in general I was wondering if I should leave the lights on for a few weeks (24 hours a day) after the floor is finished, before I move in and put rugs and furniture over the floor, or if that would make no appreciable difference. I've heard various things about how quickly this color change occurs, which range from being noticeable in just a few days (e.g. if you put something on a freshly finished floor like a business card you can see the outline of the card on the floor after it's removed in just a few days time) to months to be noticeable.
Unfortunately there are all kinds of comments and advice out there about this issue and much of it is conflicting.
Comments and suggestions welcome. Also any suggestions on the best finishing products to protect the relatively soft floor from damage (e.g. multiple coats, etc.) would be appreciated.
MT
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won't match; not much chance you will ever match pine and cherry. Try not to worry about it. Either stain the windows to the approximate color of dark cherry, or wait three years and stain the windows then.
I suppose you could combine the two strategies and stain the window lightly now, and a bit darker in three years. I wouldn't consider staining the cherry now; if you wanted to do that you should have used stained maple.
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You may get it to the same color, but pine not cherry and it will only look similar, not the same.

Can you wait six months to finish the window casings? Or estimate my matching to a clear-coated mature (aged) cherry sample rather than your virgin cherry.

Minwax is a brand name, They make all kinds finishing materials including stains and both oil and water-based polys.

Which wood?

UV IIRC oxygen plays a role too.

I don't think that it is practical, you owill still end up with shadow lines because the color change will continue for a long time. If you move the rug later, you will just have to wait a couple months for things to even out.

Both are probably true. The business card trick might be detectable in direct sun. It could also take months to tell the difference if before and after are not right next to one another.
I have some cherry furniture in my livingroom that I made about a year ago and six months later made a TV pedistal to match. When I brought The TV pedistal in, It looked really blond by comparison. It's been about six months and don't notice much of a difference anymore. There are natural variations between individual trees. It's normal to see some variation anyway.

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You can take a freshly milled, unfinished piece of cherry, put it outside on a summer day with a business card on it, and see some sunburn in an hour or so. If the piece has finish on it, it takes longer. Exposure to light, both direct and reflected will cause the color to darken. Exposure to oxygen will cause it to darken. I have pieces in my shop that are several years old, and have been burried down on a stack, but show a lot of darkening. If you don't want a lot of dark and light shadow marks on your floor, move things around every month or so. The lighter marks will even out eventually. If you leave a rug down for a couple of years, it will leave a noticable mark that will be hard to blend in. Most of the darkening happens over the first year or three, then it slows down a lot. robo hippy
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On Fri, 24 Feb 2006 14:40:54 -0500, "Stephen M"

attention six months down the road to do the job. I suspect he won't wait that long for his final payment, and after he has been fully paid I suspect it will be hard to get him to send someone back. I suppose I could have a 3rd party come in and do the staining if necessary.

I was referring to the stained cherry casings.

would seem that my best bet is to not stain any of the cherry, but just clear coat it; and try to stain the pine around the windows some color of cherry, even if it doesn't match exactly, so that they don't just turn more and more yellow over time. Do you have any thoughts on what I should use to clear coat the cherry? From reading some of the old posts in this newsgroup I gather that there are three issues. First, some of the clearcoat finishes can yellow over time more than others. Second, a satin finish will show marks on the floor less than gloss or semi-gloss. Lastly, someone posted that the high gloss finish makes the floor harder than the others and he suggested that a coat of high gloss be put down first, and then followed by a coat of whatever kind of final finish you want on the floor.
Thanks,
MT
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Bottom line, it's a moving target. I'd stain (the pine) to match today, cheating towards darker.... if it really bugs you 2 years down the road, it's possible to add more finish with color mixed into the clearcoat. This is called toning. It's best done with spray equipment because even application is critical.
> >and allow the casings

OK , now I'm with you. That's a really bad option. If you take stain X and apply it to two different types of wood (cherry and pine) the results will look different. Probably a little less differnt than naked, but not much. It ain't paint.
'round here *nobody* is going to say stain cherry. It's understood to be heresy.
> Thanks for the response. From what you and the others have said it

Don't sweat the ambering too much. Cherry is basically Orange-brown. Yellow is already present there and it will just alter the tone a little bit in a compatible sort of way.
Ambering is a much bigger deal if you have otherwise nake maple which is basically white. White+yellow = yellow. Yuck.

IMNSHO, Gloss looks nice on a gymnasium... not much else.
Lastly, someone posted that the high gloss

Absolutely correct. Satin is just gloss with "stuff" added to scatter the light. Only the last coat needs a flattening agent to affect sheen.
Cheers,
Steve
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MT wrote:
When I installed my cherry HW floor, I was specifically told NOT to stain it. I wiped on a product called 'Duraseal' then 3 coats of 'Varathane'. After 10 years, the floor has darkened to a beautiful reddish brown. You can try to match the frames, but if they match now, they won't later.
Rob

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