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Natural, Painted or Stained Hardwood Floors – Which is Better?

Which One Is Better Natural, Painted, Or Stained Hardwood Floors?

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You’ve fallen head over heals for the natural, rustic, and timeless look of authentic hardwood flooring. As you transform your home or place of business, you will encounter a number of choices to make regarding the specific nature of those beautiful hardwoods you plan to install.

There are many factors to take into account when choosing wood flooring. Such as the style of wood you desire, the budget you have devoted to the project, and the maintenance routine you are willing to dedicate to their upkeep. 

Wood flooring is offered in a variety of species, colors, and profiles, but the most essential choice to make is between natural, stained or painted wood. This will determine the lifespan of your floors in relation to the environment of your home, and the impact your floors will make on the interior design of your space. In this article, we will look at each option in depth to help you decide what kind of hardwood floor is best for you.

Natural Hardwood Floor

Luxurious species of hardwood such as maple, cherry, walnut, and mahogany offer an inspiring look in their natural state. 

In fact, staining wood is often done to imitate such luxurious species, as many take to staining white oak or beech wood to make it appear ebony. Instead of covering such magnificent specimens with a paint or stain, you can simply apply a clear varnish, sealant and finish. If your floor is damaged or scuffed, in a darker paint or stain can be used to cover this up and give the wood a fresh look.

Overall, natural hardwood floors are ideal for those creating a traditional style. They may save you money over time as they are easier to maintain and don’t require the additional costs of staining.

Painting vs. Staining Hardwood Flooring

Some hardwood floors are considered less attractive in their natural state or require a subtle change in hue or shade to meet your design requirements. In this case, the appearance of a hardwood flooring can be improved with either stain or paint. Choosing to either stain or paint your floor requires consideration of the challenges of application and your color and style preferences.

Floor Painting

Although painting may appear to be an intuitive task, the job must be done carefully and thoroughly. An appropriate painting procedure should resemble this:

  • Sanding: Begin by buffing the wood using fine, high-grit sandpaper to ensure you have a nice smooth surface.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning is essential as even the smallest particles of dust can be abrasive. Vacuum and wipe the wood using a small quantity of water and wood floor cleaner. Try to limit the amount of moisture and allow the floor a minimum of two days to completely dry. If you don’t allow enough drying time, the moisture could damage the painting.
  • Priming: If you are unsure which product to use, consider an oil-based, penetrating primer.
  • Re-sanding: Applying a primer can cause wood fibers to swell. If you paint onto this kind of surface, you may end up with imperfect results. So, we recommend giving your wood another sand down.  And of course, after sanding, make sure to clean off the remaining dust and chips. 
  • Paint application: Apply a thin layer of paint evenly across the wood using a bristle brush or a microfiber roller. The brush will be slower and more work intensive but it will ensure there are no bubbles left after completing the process.
  • Drying: The most essential part here is to ensure there are no bubbles. This can be determined when you have a clean and smooth surface. You must wait at least 24 hours before applying the second coat of paint.  
  • Final paint coats: Finally, you should have around three paint coatings with a 24-hours drying time between applications. Each coating must be very thin to ensure a better cure.

Finishing: The last step is to apply a finish and allow enough time to dry. Water-based polyurethane lacquer is often the preferred finish due to the maximum protection it offers. Remember, it requires some drying time too.

Floor Staining

It is recommended to engage professional assistance if you wish to stain hardwood properly, as it can be difficult to achieve the intended color. Designers are not simply envisioning a specific color; they often design something unique or trendy that will complement the interior in a particular way. 

Many factors can affect how the floor will turn out after staining including the species of wood. Species such as maple and birch that are close-pored don’t absorb the stain properly, and can result in a mess if not handled by a professional. Another factor is the finish. Oils and oil-based finishes revert to a yellow hue over time. Professionals are careful to use only water-based lacquers which will not affect the stain. 

The quality of sanding and buffing is also important. Stained floors will display any flaws in the grain, especially when directly exposed to sunlight, so if sanding is poorly done, it will reflect in the final look. 

Popular stains include ebony, white, brown, or grey-washed floors. It is not that difficult to stain a floor dark. However, white and grey-washed floors are different cases. The lighter they are the more influenced they will be by the wood’s original color.

FAQ about Hardwood Floors

Which last longer, painted or stained hardwood floors?

Stained wood floors can maintain their finished look for ten years or longer with little color change. This is because the stain is soaked into and under the surface of the wood. Painted floors, however, wear more easily as the paint only covers the wood’s surface.

What is the most popular finish for hardwood floors?

The most popular hardwood floor finish is satin sheen. This hardwood floor sheen has around forty percent luster and is easy to maintain. This sheen reflects light well and doesn’t easily reveal any imperfections or dirt.

What is the best hardwood floor color for resale value?

Dark stained hardwood flooring is the most popular hardwood floor finish and is best for resale value. Dark walnut, espresso, and antique brown are some of the best darks hardwood stains. These darker colors usually allow more color combinations since they don’t rely on a yellow or orange tint.

Treating Your Hardwoods in Dallas

The correct choice between keeping your hardwood floor’s natural appeal or painting or staining depends on both the condition of the floor, the overall design of the space, and your personal taste. 

Our representatives at Dallas Floors are eager to help. We can help you arrive at the decision that is best for you, your budget, and desired style. We offer a broad selection of hardwood species, paints, and stains coupled with a professional staff and a satisfaction guarantee at installation.

For more information about your hardwood floor options and to choose the one that best fits your needs, make an appointment with Dallas Floors today!


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