Questions to Ask Before Staining Your Hardwood Flooring Dark

Dark stained hardwood flooring has a unique charm. But should you stain your floor dark? More importantly, can you? These questions (and many others) may cross your mind when you think about this type of staining.

Here we answer some of those questions.


1. Does the Type of Wood Make a Difference When It Comes to Staining?

Yes, absolutely. Not all hardwoods stain well. And each variant of hardwood takes a different level of staining. There are many light-colored types of hardwood flooring that you can stain dark for deeper colours, including ash, hickory, and maple.

You can stain red and white oaks easily from light to dark. But you wouldn’t want to stain naturally exotic dark floors like Brazilian cherry or walnut, mahogany, or even darker Jatoba. Also, these species have natural oils that make it hard to get a consistent stained look.


2. How Dark Can You Go?

As dark as you want! As a company that provides hardwood flooring in Toronto, we have stained hardwood floors as dark as black. But people mostly prefer something along the lines of coffee brown, mocha, or a Jacobean/Ebony mix. You can check our sample boards to see how dark you want your hardwood flooring to be.

With different finishes, you can go with different layers of colour. Some colours can be fumed, with dark oil applied on top to deliver a very dark colour to the floor. A process called water popping is often used to get even colour and depth for very dark stained hardwood floors.


3. What Colours Are Popular for Dark Stained Hardwood Flooring?

It is always best to pick stains that are in demand. Go for colours like espresso, dark walnut, Jacobean, Ebony, and mocha. You can also go with a mix of colours like Jacobean and Ebony, or Ebony and Sedona Red. Picking 50% natural colour with 50% dark stains is also a good choice.

If you don’t want your hardwood flooring too dark, go with a mixture of light and dark until you get the intensity you like.


4. Are Dark Stained Hardwood Floors Hard to Maintain?

Dark stained floors easily show scratches, smudges, dirt, and dust, and they are notoriously hard to clean and maintain. Scratches are more visible against a dark background as compared to light floors. You can see every speck of dirt and every minute scratch. It takes a lot to keep a dark-stained hardwood floor looking the way it does when freshly stained.

To avoid footprints, avoid wearing shoes or socks. Use a good quality vacuum cleaner and a soft dust-dry mop every other day to keep them looking clean. Go for a floor cleaner that not only cleans but protects.


5. Will It Make the Room Look Dark and Small?

Not especially. Although dark floors absorb light and make a small room appear smaller, they can make a big room look cozy, unless you have dark walls as well.

If you are going for dark stained hardwood flooring, paint your walls in a lighter colour. In fact, with dark floors anchoring the room, even white walls add brightness to the room. It is a classic look that goes well with any decor.


6. Is Glossy Good?

When it comes to dark-stained hardwood flooring, glossy is never good. Dark floors show scratches and dirt easily, and a glossy finish will only aggravate that problem. Any light that hits the glossy surface of your dark floor will be reflected back, highlighting every dust particle. You can go for a satin finish, but a matte finish will reflect less light. Add a hand-scraped and distressed look for a more forgiving option.

You can even try cutting down the depth of the hue a little. Instead of black, go for chestnut or coffee brown. You can also consider a variation of tone and pattern throughout the floor instead of a uniform colour. Patterns will make scratches a little less visible.

Dark stained hardwood flooring can be extremely beautiful if you maintain your cleaning regimen. Don’t choose dark flooring in high traffic areas that see a lot of spills and mess, but it will be good in bedrooms or areas where there is low traffic and no shoes. Before you choose dark flooring, talk to a flooring professional and then decide what colour you want your floor to be.

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