Stains are one of the most popular ways to impart colour to hardwood floors. Depending on your choice of wood stain, the same wood can look light, dark or take on different shades from amber to coffee, among the popular hardwood floor colours.
However, hardwood stains can create a tricky problem if you ever need to extend your floor. Even if you use exactly the same species and match wood, you also need to match the stain almost exactly to avoid creating a discordant clash between the old and new wood. Most homeowners will not want to mix hardwood floor colours on the same floor.
In this post, we’ll give you some helpful tips to match hardwood floor stains. Using our tricks, you should be able to come as close to an exact match as possible and avoid any harsh clashes.
Methods To Match Hardwood Floor Stain Colour
First, we’ll discuss some popular methods to match stains, starting from the easiest to the more complicated. You can use one or multiple of these methods to match your own hardwood stains:
- Ask A Professional
Just what it sounds like! If you have a piece of your old stained hardwood that you can take with you, simply take it to a hardwood store, paintshop, or other places where stains and finishes are sold. Chances are, one of the staff there can identify the stain or recommend one of several close matches.
- Use A Stain Swatch
Can’t find a piece of wood to bring with you and don’t want to remove one from your floor? If so, stain swatches are your next best bet. These pieces of plastic are dyed to resemble their corresponding stains. At your local paint shop or hardware store, they’ll be able to provide you with several swatches for free. You can take them home and compare them with your floorboards to determine the right choice of stain.
- Use Test Pieces
Once you’ve made your best guess of which stain to use, it’s a great idea to use a test piece to double-check. Simply take a new piece of wood and apply your stain. This will let you make sure you’ve really chosen the right stain colour.
- Use Multiple Coats
When testing your stain or making your actual application onto your hardwood, carefully using multiple coats is a great way to get a close match. To do this, compare a test piece with your target hardwood after allowing each coat of stain to dry. This will let you know the right number of coats to apply on the other boards.
Matching Hardwood Floor Stain by Sanding Wood
When it’s time to match stains, start with the various techniques above. If one of them works, great! You’re off to the races. If you’re still struggling to match, however, here are some other tricks you can use:
- Sand Your New Wood
How you sand your wood will affect how your stain appears. Typically, using a final grain between 120-150 will give you the best result. This is another place where it’s a great idea to use a test piece – see what effect different grits of sandpaper have and which allows you to match the best.
- Check Your Finish
If you think you have the right choice of stain picked out but it doesn’t seem to match, make sure you’re using the same finish on the old and new wood! Different finishes can give the same wood and stain a very different appearance. For example, oil-based finishes tend to make the stain appear warmer, whereas water-based finishes are more neutral or even colder.
Using floor patterns is another way to have your new wood blend in well with your existing hardwood floor. The key is to break up the flooring transition area and avoid a clean line between your old and new wood. Removing some old boards if necessary, adopt an irregular pattern and you’ll hide the seams.
While matching your old and new hardwood can be tricky, it isn’t too difficult and is within the reach of most DIYers. By putting a little effort into this task, you’ll improve the appearance of your newly expanded floor and make the most of your old and new wood.