The floor has been laid, the walls painted, the furniture picked out, and now you are stumped. Choosing the right stain and finish for your new wood flooring is much harder than it looks. With so many factors to consider, it’s hard to keep track of them (who knew that wood could be so high-maintenance?) Fear not, brave homeowner, for we’re here to unravel the enigma and help you decide on the whole staining and finishing ordeal.

  1. Consider Your Style 

Alright, let’s talk about style. Are you aiming for “My Grandma’s Attic Chic,” “Swanky Manhattan Loft,” or “Slightly Classier than IKEA”? The color of your stain will basically determine whether your floors scream “I’m a minimalist” or “I’m a slightly complicated minimalist.” You want the floors to complement your home – not clash, so imagine the stains of your choice with the furniture and style you are going for.

  1. Test, Test, and Then Test Some More 

Before you or your flooring installer go all Picasso on your precious floors, let’s test those stains. Apparently, wood has commitment issues and can react differently to each stain. It’s better to find out now than when your living room floor is coated and the furniture is back in place.  Make sure to prep the floor as you would if you were going to stain the whole area.  Prep makes a big difference.  Also try with water popping and without, this can drastically change how the final color will look.

  1. Understanding Finishes (It’s Like Choosing an Ice Cream Topping, But for Wood)

You’ve got options! Polyurethane, oil-based, water-based—sounds like a chemistry lesson, right? Just remember, polyurethane is like a superhero cape for your wood (It wants to protect your floors), an oil-based finish brings out that “organic glow,” and water-based is, well, water-based. Most waterborne finishes are ‘clear over glass’, or basically have no amber tint to them so they don’t affect the final color. They also have less of that chemical smell while applying, and it dries super quickly. Take your pick, because your floors deserve the red carpet treatment—without the carpet, of course.

  1. Assess Foot Traffic

Consider the level of foot traffic in the area where you plan to install wood floors. Dogs, Kids, or just your favorite place to pace back and forth—if your hallway moonlights as a racetrack, you might want to go for a durable and scratch-resistant finish.  Think of a catalyzed water base finish like Loba 2k for a more durable finish.

  1. Maintenance and Refinishing (Because Who Doesn’t Love Regular Chores?):

Some finishes need more attention, while others are more chill and low-maintenance. You decide how often you want to buff, polish, and coax your floors into looking fabulous. Oh, and if you’re into DIY projects that rival home renovation shows, pick a finish that’s easy to patch up. Instant gratification!

  1. Balance with Natural Light 

Take into account the amount of natural light that enters the room. Dark stains will soak up the light and make a room appear smaller, while lighter stains can reflect light and create an airy ambiance. It’s like having a wood floor that’s also an interior decorator. 

  1. Seek Professional Advice 

Can’t decide between “Natural Oak” and “Antique Cherry”? If you’re unsure about the best stain and finish combination for your wood floors, don’t hesitate to consult some flooring professionals (Like us!). We are happy to explain the different options you have for your floors, and help you make the ideal choice for your home!