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  1. I love these suggestions! I just sanded my very dark stained red oak floors that I’ve had for 20 years, Time for a change, I’d like a modern farmhouse look of light brown with some gray undertones. ( no orange or pink tones for sure) The problem is that 1/3 of my planks look really pink!! I looked at the sample of just a topcoat with no stain, but it looked like I had a strawberry dessert. HELP! Is it worth it to bleach the wood? My contractor said my look just isn’t possible without white oak. I need to prove him wrong! This is too expensive of a job without the right look. I want to stay fairly light but would like some depth in that weathered look.

  2. Hi, thanks for the great information! I have a lot of old barn wood throughout the house and am trying to figure out a floor stain. I’ve tried a bunch, but don’t love any of them. Is there a good ‘lighter’ brown. I tried 75% special walnut and 25% Jacobean, but it seemed dark. Any suggestions? Looking for a color that isn’t as dark, but not orange/gold/red.
    Thanks!

    1. Dark walnut is lighter than jacobean but a little warmer toned. Espresso is a good option that is a little lighter than jacobean without being red. Someone recently sent me a great pic of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 special walnut, and 1/3 classic gray! You could try that!

  3. Thank you for this post. We’re also, like others in the process of pulling up carpet and putting down wood flooring. We have wood floors in the kitchen and I love them. They were installed when the house was built in 2005 so the finish has yellowed and they are that “orangey” oak color. I’m trying to move away from that and go with a little darker color but also want to avoid the red colors. The Jacobean & Weathered oak looked beautiful, that’s exactly the finish I’m looking for, but my question is does the water-based and the oil-base stains look the same? My contractor gave me a color list of oil-based Minwax stain colors and I think you’re using water-based.

    1. Cindy that is a great question. Yes, these are water-based. I would ask your flooring contractor if there is a significant difference in final appearance. I have only ever worked with water-based stains as they are easier to handle, but there are advantages to oil as well.

    1. My pleasure! I am so glad you find it helpful. Would love to hear what you end up choosing!

  4. Thank you – this article has been so helpful! I originally selected dark walnut – but have since switched to classic gray and I am very pleased so far! Thank you for the pictures and information.

  5. This is so helpful! I definitely want light and cool I am living weathered oak and maybe mixed with some classic gray. Will play with the percentages. Thank you!! Refining all of my downstairs the orange red oak floors don’t work with anything I have or like.

    1. Yay! I love hearing that! I would love to see what you come up with and how it turns out if you’re willing to share!

  6. This post is amazing!!! Thank you for this! We are refinishing our floors this weekend and have been struggling on what stain to pick! I’m actually excited now to have a few great options after reading this!

  7. Thank you for this very helpful post. We have red oak floors and I’m trying to figure out the right stain and it is hard!!

    1. It can be really stressful! I’m so glad the post helped. Don’t hesitate to ask questions! Good luck

      1. hello, I have just been reading over your page to try and narrow down some colors. unfortunately I just had my floors stained and I have to have them resanded because they look too orangey. I have red oak. I mixed 1/3 weathered oak 1/3 classic gray and 1/3 provincial. I was surprised how warm it looked considering that color combo. any suggestions you may have for me to achieve a non red brown with a mixture of gray on the red oak? thank you for your feedback.

      2. Hi Lisa! Yeah unfortunately the provincial and weathered oak pull orange. To keep it brown without pulling orange you could add something like espresso to the mix. 1/3 espresso, 1/3 weathered oak, 1/3 classic gray. Or if you want it darker try 1/2 espresso. If you want it lighter you could try a section of floor using 50% classic gray and 50% weathered oak or 50% gray 50% provincial. I would love to hear what you find and feel free to shoot me an email with pics! ahna@hammersnhugs.com

    1. I was curious if water or oil based polyurethane was used for the 75% Classic grey 25% jacobean stain? The floors look beautiful.

  8. I have red oak floors and was considering special or dark walnut but both pulled too many red and honey tones. I absolutely love your floors, but I’m a bit intimidated by espresso. Would you consider this floor very dark even though it’s cut with gray and weathered oak? Is it darker than say Jacobean or Dark walnut? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Erin! I think the key to the darkness or opacity of the floor depends on whether or not it’s being brushed on or rubbed in. Our floors are quite dark, and my regret was that I didn’t think to tell our floor guy to actually rub in the stain not just brush it on. Rubbing it in helps the wood grain to come through and did not appear nearly as dark as I did in my sample area. Jacobean is also quite dark, but I think the biggest difference is that Jacobean pulls more brown and espresso probably pulls more gray.

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  11. How many coats on the 75%/25% classic gray/Jacobean? Love it. I’m staining a table. Do you wipe off or “soak” the wood? Thanks!

    1. Typically just one coat of the stain. The key is practicing on an area first to see how much you need to wipe off to get your look. Some of it also depends on the type of wood. I always think rubbing stain in and then wiping off with a clean rag gives you more control over the finished look. Good luck! Would love to see a pic when you’re done!

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  15. Used the Duraseal version of your final choice on red oak #1. The decorator, floor sales person and stain expert were all amazed at the depth and beauty. The final product with a matte Bona oil finish is a glory to behold. Thank you so much. Big fan!

    1. David that’s amazing! Thanks so much for sharing! If you ever think of it I would love to see a picture and may even add it to the post for others to see with your permission . If you are up for it u can email a pic to ahna@hammersnhugs.com but if not no worries at all. Just so glad you shared! ?

  16. Thanks for sharing these tips! I’m having Fabulous Floors Charleston out this week to refinish some of my hardwood floors in my kitchen, and I’m kind of struggling to settle on the stain I want. This has been really helpful. Still not totally sure what I want but I’m felling like I have some more direction now.

  17. Hi! When you say mix do they mix the stains together or do they do part of the floor in one color and the other part in another?

  18. Do you have pics of stains on white oak? Looking for a medium/light brown with gray highlights for a beach house

    1. Hi Laura! Actually most of these pics are red oak! Our floor at the end of the post is also red oak. Good luck! Would love to see what you choose!

      1. I noticed at the top of the post you mention the floors in he pictures are red oak. Just want to confirm that they are, and not on white oak! Thanks!

      2. Yes! Now I was obviously dependent on what the bloggers said themselves! My floors from our house at the end of the post are definitely red oak.

      3. Ok now I’m totally confused… are you working with white oak or red oak? They stain completely different so hoping to use your post as reference but the wood type really matters!

      4. Steph, I just read through the comments, and I can see why you’re confused. The final answer is red oak. These floors are red oak!

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