Hardwood floors are sturdy, durable, and easy to clean. However, the first question most homeowners ask when their floors need to be restored is “What stain is best for my hardwood floors?” With many stain options to choose from, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and confused by which type of stain you should pick. Not to mention the cost of doing so. Ultimately, staining your hardwood floors makes a bold statement in your home, but is a permanent choice that must be made wisely and with the most expertise available.Here are a few tips to help you decide on what stain, if any, to choose for your hardwood floors.

Can/Should I Stain My Floors?

There are many kinds of hardwood floors, so it is important to first determine what type of wood your floors contain. There are some woods that are too good to stain, meaning their quality is often imitated. Those woods would include cherry, walnut, maple, and other higher quality woods. Secondly, these more quality woods will often have too high of an oil content and/or too tight of a grain in the wood to be stained. If you have these types of floors, you would do more honor to the natural beauty of the wood in leaving them unstained. However, if you have wood floors made of oak, this wood is the perfect candidate for a beautiful staining process.

If your floors have an oil-based finish, age may inadvertently discolor the wood. Similarly, water-based finishes may wash out the color of the hardwood floor in your home. Lastly, if you have a wood floor that was exposed to small amounts of water damage, the damaged areas will seem darker than the other areas. In all of these occasions, to even out the color of the wood floors or change their color/tint completely, staining them can be a great option for you.

What Type of Stain?

Choosing a color and type of stain can be as difficult of a decision as deciding on the paint color of your home. Considering your current home’s style, its need for contrast or brightness, and any other specific factors will help you narrow down your choices.

When considering the color of your stain, consider the current style of your home’s decor. Are you wanting to keep with that decor style, or do you want to change it? If you are redecorating or remodeling, you will have more options at your disposal. If you are set on your home’s style, make sure you choose a stain that will compliment that style. For example, if you have a farmhouse style in your home, a dark stain would not be the best fit. Instead, consider a medium brown. If you are going for a bold style in your home, try a stain that will lighten the space, such as white and gray shades.

One last thing to consider is the chemical makeup of the stain you choose. Oil-based stains are best used on furniture and larger areas of the house because of its slower drying time. This also allows for the stain to more deeply penetrate the wood for a deeper color. A water-based stain is best used on woods that are bare and without finish. This stain dries faster and with a lighter color than oil-based stains. Gel-based stains are an even mix of paint and stain, sitting on top of the wood to allow the natural features to shine through.

Whether you are wanting a stain to darker and mature the look of your hardwood floors or a stain that brings out the wood’s natural beauty, there are many choices available for you. If you still have questions regarding wood stains, ask the specialists at JMA Painters for the most up-to-date information on style and look for your home.