Stain question on Oak

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  #1  
Old 10-19-17, 09:30 PM
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Stain question on Oak

I have 50 year old Red Oak that I am refinishing myself. In one of the rooms, due to a previous remodel, only half the room has the original red oak (they ended up putting carpet down). After tearing up the carpet, I want to install new unfinished red oak to finish the room. I've already taken a lot of pieces from the closets to add throughout the new red oak to help blend it a little.

Because I'm refinishing and sanding down, I'm hoping that the difference between the new and old won't too bad. I've heard that old wood and new wood absorbs the stain differently so one might need less/more to come out as looking similar.

Any advice, warnings, experience out there? Even after sanding down the old wood, will there still be a significant difference between the new and old hardwood after staining, poly, etc?

Much appreciated!
 
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Old 10-19-17, 09:44 PM
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I'm not the pro here just wanted to tell you what happened to me. My house was built in 1959. It had a wall between the kitchen and dining room which I took out. The flooring was red oak in the dining room and some kind of linoleum in the kitchen. I needed the dining room to match the kitchen. The flooring guy came in, looked at the floor and picked up the closest match he could find.

When it came to do the floor... he picked up a few pieces of the floor in the dining room and on the back it was printed red oak with the same exact code number on it as the new wood. Both floors were sanded, stained and sealed. The match is perfect.

That was 15 years ago. I've had the floor redone and a water based poly was used. It definitely didn't hold up as well as the oil poly.
 
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Old 10-19-17, 10:18 PM
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I have original white oak floors from 1956.
The quarter sawn wood has so much variation in color that newer boards had little or no effect on the look.

As far as absorption, do a search for trowelable wood filler and oil based poly. I do not finish floors but the filler is mandatory IMO, oak is open pored and needs sealed before finishing.

Here's just an example of filler: DuraSeal | Trowelable Wood Filler
 
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Old 10-20-17, 02:34 AM
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I don't recall ever having stained new oak along side of old sanded oak. I have had to stain new oak to match old existing oak and it can be a challenge to get the color/look right. I normally experiment with scrap oak until I'm satisfied with the color. If you wind up with any boards that look out of place you can generally alter them enough with either a different stain or tinted poly to make it all blend.
 
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Old 10-20-17, 10:19 AM
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To clarify my post above, I was referring to oil poly only, no stain. I missed that part. I don't see too many stained oak floors, the oil alone brings out the natural color variation and beauty of the wood.

Just my preference but I wouldn't even consider staining my floors. If I do need to match a color, such as cabinets, I go straight to Sherwin Williams.
They are the best at matching in my area, which is very large.
 
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Old 10-20-17, 11:21 AM
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Wow, thanks for all of the feedback everyone. I never once thought that it might not need to be stained at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure the original finish only had an oil based poly anyway - natural finish.

Also, thanks Handyone for the wood filler tip, Good to know, I'll definitely be doing this as well.

Since I'll be attempting to match 50 year old oak with new oak (after sanding of course), any recommendations out there on specific oil-poly that might be a better fit? Any thoughts on how many coats?

If it helps, I included a pic of the old (not sanded yet) wood that I'll be matching/finishing. The picture isn't as yellow as it is in reality. And I believe that oil poly ages yellow right? Thanks again all.
 
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Old 10-20-17, 01:51 PM
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That doesn't appear to have a stain on it. I prefer both the look and durability of oil base poly. It deepens the colors that are naturally in the wood and will amber as it ages. Normally 3 coats of poly is best, sanding lightly and removing the dust between coats.
 
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Old 10-20-17, 07:08 PM
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You are in business. That's a typical hardwood floor, no stain or anything but the oil poly (with sealing beforehand). The colors you see are natural variation.
I don't think this will be hard to match because even new wood will have great variation in grain and color. The floor is quarter sawn oak.

Not to complicate the matter but I think your floor is white oak, you can't tell it's red oak just by color and white oak has pretty much always been the standard.
 
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Old 10-21-17, 03:23 AM
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white oak has pretty much always been the standard.
Is that a west coast thing? Here in the southeast we occasionally see white oak floors but the majority are red oak.
 
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Old 10-21-17, 04:36 AM
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Good question, Red just might be used back east. My floors are white oak, as most are around here. I didn't realize how hard it is to distinguish between Red and White.
The top picture is White, the bottom Red.
 
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Old 10-21-17, 05:00 AM
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Some of the coloring in oak comes from the environment the tree grew in. I have on occasion seen white oak that was redder than red oak.
 
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Old 10-21-17, 11:26 AM
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Agreed the wood can vary and white can appear red. I should note that I posted the sample pictures for the grain pattern, not the color. The difference in the grain pattern is what's hard to distinguish.
One way to tell is to look at the end grain and compare it to actual samples.
 
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Old 10-22-17, 11:01 AM
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Boy this is a tough one. I read that in my area (northwest) white oak was generally used in homes up until around the mid 1930's and then it was more common to use red. My house was built in 1954. But of course, that wouldn't guarantee it being red. Has anyone ever done a sodium nitrate test, where the color darkens if it's white oak? I do have pieces that I've already taken up from the closets, but I'm a little unclear on what I'm looking for with the tyloses.

I guess as a last resort is to take in to a flooring place and have them look at it

Thanks for the feedback guys, you're already saving me from a headache or two.
 
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Old 10-22-17, 01:21 PM
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It's obvious you did your research. A sodium nitrate test isn't practical IMO.
I would call and ask for a quote on refinishing, a pro can probably look at it and tell you right off the bat what it is.

Here's a view of the magnified end grain, I suspect you have already seen a similar picture:
 
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Old 10-23-17, 12:29 PM
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This has been quite the educational experience.

I think I figured it out - Red Oak it is. I cut one of the pieces in order to see a fresh end piece and I attached the picture (not the greatest picture). You can kinda see how there are "pinholes" in the grain as opposed to it being smooth and filled. (The dark pores in the picture dig into the wood a little, creating a pinhole looking crater.

White Oak apparently has smooth, filled in pores on the grain as opposed to Red. Hence, why White is more resistant to rot and decay. I'll still take in a piece when I go and purchase the Red Oak (just to be sure), but I'm now pretty confident it's Red.

Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate the help. Now, the real work begins.
 
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