I just got a new hardwood floor put down and it will be sanded next week. I
chose a provincial stain to be applied to the quartersawn white oak but I'm
now rethinking my decision. I'd like the floor to be darker but love the
rays and flecks of the unfinished wood as is. Is it blasphemy to stain
quartersawn white oak? -Jessica
The rays are harder than the surrounding wood. Try staining it and then
giving it a light sanding to lighten up the flecks. As Paulie would
say - try it on a sample - don't experiment on your floor.
p.s. provincial is a bit dark - try golden oak instead.
No. I like it better when stained lightly. Stain make rays stand out.
Be careful of gettiong it too dark. Darkness creeps up on you slowly
and is there before you know it. (This could be taken several ways).
Look at Early American or something on the lighter end. There are some
folks here who know a heck of a lot more about it than I do so I'll
defer to them.
If you do it right, you will get the rays and fleck to really pop - it will
be very nice. Unfinished QS white oak is very subtle to me, it really wants
stain or dye to get it to come to life. Now, I have no idea of exactly what
recipe to use, sorry...
Go back to your supplier and scrounge some offcuts. Then finish them
however you like, at least 18" squares of each finish, put them down
in the room and see how they look. Make sure you do it in both
daylight and artificial light.
There are any number of oak-finishing resources around. Stains are one
method, wiped ammonia is another (easier to do on the raw stock, but
you can do it in situ). You can also fool around with pigments as a
Make sure your chosen colourant is compatible with the finish you're
putting over the top. Also see what the colour is like with the finish
over it. Personally I always use acid-cure formaldehydes on a floor
(Rustins Floorcoat), but the clear water-based varnishes work too,
although less hard-wearing. Non water-based varnishes are distinctly
We did our oak floors (2800sf) with Golden Oak, and I would prefer it to be
just a shade darker.
I use a good bit of QSWO for furniture and I stain as a matter of course
with ZAR's Provincial 114 ... it is NOT a dark stain, just a wee bit darker
than Golden Oak.
If you want to see the difference, take a look at my website. The kitchen
cabinets and floors are "Golden Oak", and there are some furniture
projects(traditional end table, A&C coffee table, lamp) that are Provincial
Do try it on scrap first, otherwise you will be experimenting on your new
I am a natural kind of guy but a light brown stain really makes the flakes
stand out. Beautiful. It would be a mistake to go too dark. Don't know who
makes Provincial, you are using a stain meant to be used under floor finish,
right? The type of stain is somewhat dependant on the type of finish used.
Bona Kemi is now making a line of fast-drying stains that are easy to work
with. They have also abandoned the standard names and I am not yet familiar
with the colors.
All the DuraSeal stains(Minwax floor stain line and most commonly used) seem
to boil down to Golden Brown which I feel is too orange. Cut the darker
colors such as Antique Brown with neutral and you end up with Golden Brown.
Some folks like it though. Glitsa makes(or made) a beautiful true light
brown named Lt. Oak. Very nice rich stain with plenty of depth. All floor
stains can be mixed within their own line.
There is no reason not to apply some samples directly to the floor, in fact
it is the best way to show samples, on the wood in the room with your decor.
I don't do it any other way. Areas must be sanded to spec first for true
color. It will sand out later. As the stain is applied wet is how it will
look when finished. Once dry, you need to cover with finish to see the true
look. Your floor guy should know all this. Work with him.
Mark S. Hamlin
The Oak Floors of Marco
Los Gatos, CA
To stain or not to stain. Pretty much an individual call. Staining is
neither blasphemy nor blessing. You do what you have to do to get the
appearance you want.
The finish itself will darken the wood. Best bet is to take a piece of scrap
and test it with the finish that is to be applied. You may find that that
darkens the wood enough for what you want.
You could also try out a coat of natural Danish oil on the wood. It will
darken the wood and still bring out the rays. If you are not going to have
the wood finished till next week it should give you time to apply the oil
and have it cured by then. Once cured there won't be any compatibility
Of course if you are having the job done by someone else it would be best to
see what they are comfortable with and won't void any agreement you have
with them as to the longevity of the finish.
Jessica has left us with many unanswered questions, but one thing is for
sure. If she wants to maintain the finish manufacturers warranty(a
contractor relys on the manufacturer), she needs to use their system. I
don't know of any floor finish manufacturer that considers Danish oil an
acceptable floor stain/sealer(call them first). I'm sure it works on
furniture, but many things can and do go wrong on hundreds of sq ft.
Bleeding, lapping, dry time, etc..Best to follow the directions on the
big-ticket items, in my experience *nobody* knows their product better than
the manufacturer. Failure is very expensive.
That said, any neutral stain/sealer would accent the flakes just like you
say. She could also cut the Provincial with any amount of neutral if its too
dark. Best to do a sample area across several boards on the floor with her
light, wall colors, and decor. Usually done during the sanding process when
the contractor has the equipment in the house.
I checked my price list and Glitsa no longer sells the Lt Oak...I see that
Bonas Provincial is one of their lighter colors
http://www.bonakemi.com/drifast/index.html Disclaimer-I don't work for
Bona, I don't even use their finish-this looks like an outstanding
MSH is the pro here. Pay attention to whatever he says. As far as
Provincial, I just finished an oak floor in my home with Bonakemi's
Provincial, and it turned out the PERFECT color for my purpose. I had a
definite color in mind (the floor used to be WAY to yellow) and had
purchase (like an idiot) Minwax. I got straightened out on that score,
returned it for a full refund, and picked up a couple of cans of
Bonakemi. The color difference is slight, but something about the
Bonakemi makes it just PERFECT. it dries fast, doesn't show overlap
marks (unless you have zero staining technique) and is compatible with
the water based Bonakemi I used. It works under other finishes too, of
course. it's an oil modified product.
Blasphemy depends on the observer
If you are applying a waterborne poly, The Oak won't darken very
If you are using an oil based poly or lacquer, the oak - especially
red oak will darken considerably. Ask your contractor to provide
stain and finish samples on wood from cutoffs from your flooring. If
you are finishing yourself, get some of the cutoffs & stain one piece.
Finish the piece as you would your floor. Finish another unstained
piece. Let dry & compare. You do have some pieces of the floor left
How many square feet are we talking about?
Is this new construction?
Is the house occupied?
Are there carpet down and drapes up?
Wouldn't it be nice if you could fume it. Know anybody with SCUBA gear? Tape
up all the windows and doors, leave trays of ammonia around for a few days.
Open and air out the house. Have a colour and ray fleck beyond comparison
anything a stain can provide.
Ahhh, one can only dream...
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Thanks everyone for your replies on my flooring question about applying a
provincial stain (I'd quote my own posting but I can no longer retrieve it),
you've all been so helpful!
My new white oak floor will be sanded on Monday. I love the suggestion to
test the stain out on some scraps (yes I saved them) or a sample area to see
whether the flecks and rays will still be visible. My floor guy told me
there will be 1 coat of stain and 3 coats of "poly". I don't know who makes
the stain but it's not Minwax, I'll ask on Monday. As suggested I will find
out if the poly is waterborne or oil. If I have a choice should I choose one
poly over the other? Also, my builder already installed the baseboard trim,
will that affect the sanding? -Jessica
Finish choices depend on brands and the lines within the brands. The best
water is better than the best oil. The best water right now are Bonakemi
Traffic and Basic Coatings Street Shoe. I used the Street Shoe Super Matte
last week and it is outstanding, a nice warm sheen and the finish is flowing
and curing like nothing else. Probably a step above Traffic now. In oil,
Fabulon Pro is the better product.
IMO there is no excuse for putting up baseboards before the floor is sanded.
You get a much cleaner sand job with the base off. Harder to stain too.
Floors are often sanded with existing baseboards in place, but not new ones.
More wood is removed on the first sand. Overwood. Make them do it right.
I confess to getting in late on this thread. Has anyone talked about dye rather
than stain? I have used dye on QS white oak (thought not on a floor) with
dramatic results! Would this work on a floor?
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