Getting oak and birch to stain the same color

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  #1  
Old 09-08-14, 04:04 PM
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Getting oak and birch to stain the same color

I have an old 1940s kitchen with red oak floors. Sometime in the past couple years a previous owner built a study nook which flows into the kitchen. The wood flooring is the same size wood planks, but the study area has birch floors. We just sanded everything and are now trying to decide on a stain that will allow both of the woods to look the same.

Should I go with a darker stain or a lighter stain?
 
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  #2  
Old 09-08-14, 04:42 PM
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The problem is different hardness woods take stain differently. You may have to use two different colors of stain, one for oak and one for birch, to arrive at a match between the woods.

I'm not a floor expert so we'll need to see how the pros recommend the staining process.
 
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Old 09-08-14, 04:56 PM
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I personally would not stain an old oak floor at all. The finish, especially oil, will provide the color tone. If the oak floors are the majority of floor space, and birch is minor, I would consider replacing the birch with oak.
You may need a pro to do this, or you could DIY and sand.
The red oak floor you have is like a museum piece, I wouldn't change it too much.
 
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Old 09-08-14, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for the advice. The old read oak floor is a messy, scratchy mess. I think over the years with all the foot traffic and renovation projects, it has really taken some abuse. We actually already had the floors sanded smooth and ready for stain. I would replace the study area birch flooring, but it's too late now. I just spent a lot of money sanding everything and I don't want to look back now.

I actually asked for 2 opinions, and one guy said that he would have ripped it all up and get it consistent, but oh well. I just don't know which one to go for. A dark stain or light stain. I am really, really hoping that nobody is going to be able to tell that the two flooring areas are different types of wood when it is all stained. Any ideas on stain?
 
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Old 09-08-14, 09:50 PM
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Anyone who is observant will notice the 2 are different species of wood, as birch and oak look nothing alike, even without pigments. IMO a clear natural finish is just as good a solution as any. If you stain, you will likely need 2 different colors to achieve a similar result, and no matter whst you can't mask the grain with anything but paint.
 
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Old 09-09-14, 05:15 AM
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As mentioned above it will take 2 different stains to make the colors match [and it may not be perfect] but the grain of the wood will always be different. IMO the best approach is to embrace the difference.

Sanding should have removed all the scratches in the flooring, if it didn't, a stain will accentuate the scratches
 
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Old 09-09-14, 05:34 AM
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I would look at putting a defined transition between the woods and making the difference obvious, like just applying polyurethane to both.

Any attempt to make these look the same will, IMO, fail and often that looks worse than letting them be different.
 
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Old 09-09-14, 06:06 PM
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the suggestion by marker is gold. And I am actually regretting now having the hardwood guy stich the two rooms together so that there isn't a defined transition. Crap! I talked to a hardwood professional today and he also had the suggestion of trying to custom lighten or darken a 2nd stain and testing on two pieces of wood to try to get a close match, but even then he couldn't guarantee a perfect match. Ugh! He said I should have just done it right to begin with! The other suggestion was to paint the floors or stain it with such a dark color that the grains in both woods are not as noticeable.
 
  #9  
Old 09-09-14, 06:43 PM
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Most any supplier of stains will have examples of different stains on different types of wood. But that is just a start. You will then need to test on your actual wood (as suggested) as age does make a difference.

"I am actually regretting now having the hardwood guy stich the two rooms together"
How much of an overlap did you end up with? Perhaps they could add an inlay to act as a transition.

Bud
 
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Old 09-09-14, 06:51 PM
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Ebonized/espresso finishes are pretty popular right now. But man, they show the dust. You could look into dye stains, which give a more even color to the wood, which might be helpful with the 2 species that would take an oil stain differently. Dyes tend to color evenly, (not like oil stains that don't penetrate well on hard to stain woods) so that might be one way to mask the 2 kinds of wood.

Here's one site that give a little info. Wood Dye Stains - Give your hardwood floors a modern look But you would probably want to find a wood floor finisher who is familiar with it... unless you intend to DIY.
 
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