white oak flooring

WHITE OAK // It seems to be a big buzz word in the interior design world these days, and there’s a reason for it. It checks the boxes on what we love most about incorporating wood in our homes - organic texture and warmth, but it does so in a way that feels much more subtle, clean and contemporary than its darker and heavier wood counterparts. Specifically when it comes to wood floors, choosing a light wood can have such a big impact. Don’t these spaces feel like a breath of fresh air?

 Thin wood planks add texture and interest.  Photo Source

Thin wood planks add texture and interest. Photo Source

 A clean and contemporary look with wide plank flooring.  Photo Source

A clean and contemporary look with wide plank flooring. Photo Source

 Herringbone floors add timeless elegance.  Photo Source

Herringbone floors add timeless elegance. Photo Source

 Light wood floors paired with light wood ceilings. Notice how this doesn’t feel heavy despite all of the wood in the room.  Photo Source

Light wood floors paired with light wood ceilings. Notice how this doesn’t feel heavy despite all of the wood in the room. Photo Source

I had the opportunity to test out a few different floor stains for our Cambridge project. As it turns out, achieving that soft and muted look vs. that dark orangey-brown wood tone we’re all so familiar with is actually quite simple.

Here’s the scoop, it’s all about water-based floor stain vs. oil-based floor stain. Using a water-based stain will result in minimal color change from the tone of the natural wood while still protecting the floors and preventing wear and tear. An oil-based stain is what brings out those rich warm tones in wood. While this can certainly be beautiful, you’ll want to stay clear of floor stain with oil if the natural and muted look is what you’re going for.

After testing several floor stains (all oil-based except for the water-based poly) on unfinished white oak samples, we knew that using a water-based product was the direction we wanted to go.

Floor Stain Testing

As a final step, we had a large section of the wood floors in the home sanded down so we could give the actual floors an official test. Although the water-based stain we tested beforehand was Varathane brand, we ended up using a highly recommended product - Bona Waterborne NaturalSeal. The Bona natural finish shown in the sample above is actually oil-based, so don’t let that confuse you! And lastly, we added a couple coats of Bona Traffic Naturale, a very matte top coat to help with protection. The results are quite beautiful and such a difference from the current floors. Now we patiently wait for the rest of the construction to finish up so the floors can be refinished throughout the home. We’ll also be putting in new white oak kitchen cabinets, hence the samples I have on top of the refinished floors. More updates to come, so stay tuned!

White Oak Flooring