Last week we had to choose the floor stain which was REALLY HARD.  The wood floors will be throughout the entire first and second floor and are not easy to refinish – so we have to like it.  Plus, they set the tone for the whole house.  After seeing the the unfinished wood installed in the house, we loved how the light bounced off the light floors and kept the space nice and bright.  We also knew we wanted light floors to keep the dog scratches down to a minimum (my friends with really dark floors love the look, but hate what their dogs and kids can to do them!).

So I scrolled through dozens and dozens of photos on Houzz finding finishes I liked, like so (right?!):

Only to realize that the base wood product was different than the red oak which was installed in our house, so it is going to absorb the stain differently and have a different overall appearance – which makes a whole lotta sense.  So then I dove deeper into Houzz and researched red oak and some specific Minwax Stains I had in mind, which is when I found this baby, light and clean without looking unfinished:

So I relayed this to our contractor and he put some samples down of the Classic Gray Minwax and the Pickled Oak Minwax:

Minwax Floor Stains | www.TheArtesianProject.wordpress.comThe Pickled Oak was pretty, but I was afraid the floors would look unfinished in that stain – the pink of the red oak was still very prevalent.  The Classic Gray looked great, but it was much darker than what we were looking for.  So next on the sample board was a 50/50 mix of the Pickled Oak and Classic Gray, as well as some Provincial Stains as I wasn’t sure I wanted to totally rule a brown tone out just yet:

Minwax Floor Stains | www.TheArtesianProject.wordpress.comThe 50/50 Classic Gray and Pickled Oak mixture was exactly right; it kept the floor light enough that the space wouldn’t feel too heavy without being so light that it looked unfinished – and it is interesting.  Now if only I could have realized that before I picked the Classic Gray, had a major freak out moment, and then went back and changed it to the mixture – whoopsies, luckily they had not started yet…

We wanted more of a matte finish to show some texture and keep the floors from ambering later on, so the floor installer used a water-based satin sealant as opposed to an oil-based high gloss.  Here is what the final product looks like:

Minwax Floor Stains | Finish3 Finish2 Finish1The cabinetry is being installed today and I can’t wait to see how they all look together.  Heeeere’s hoping!  I hope this post saves anyone else an ulcer that is trying to pick their stain.

Update: see the finished floors in the following room tour posts:
>> (Living Room)
>> (Kitchen Tour)
>> (Gender Neutral Nursery)
>> (Boys Baseball Bedroom)

And with that, I leave you with a terrible song that I could not get out of my head while writing this post, from a terrible band, STAIND.  Enjoy!


18 thoughts on “(staind)

  1. Thank you for the photo. You kitchen looks beautiful. I am struggling to persuade our flooring company to use the stain mix you did. They are resistant as we, too, have red oak.


  2. You may have just saved me and my floors! I love this. This finish is exactly what I was looking for. Can you tell me how many coats you applied with the 50/50 stain?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stephanie, We had this professionally done, but I believe they did two coats of stain and then two coats of poly – with plenty of time to dry in between coats. Please be sure you use a water-based sealant vs an oil-based to keep the stain from turning gold. This is also what gives the nice matte effect – which is great for camouflaging scratches 🙂 Please let me know if you have any other questions! K

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been struggling with my flooring pro for a week to get the right grey mix for our red oak. FINALLY, this helps! Thanks!


  4. This may be a dumb question, but did they put the stain on and leave it on, or did they wipe it off so the color wasn’t so dark?


    1. Hi Kristin, No dumb questions! I was not present when they actually applied the stain, but I believe when staining floors it is just applied and left on – no wiping. Once the stain fully dries, the sealants are applied. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks!


  5. Hi. Looking at this post and your pictures I’m pretty sure we want this color combination on our floors. However, I’m not sure what my type my base wood is. All I know that it is engineered wood and I’m posting a picture of how it looks right after being sanded.

    Do you think a mix of Pickled Oak and Classic Gray would give the same effect on this wood as well?


  6. Amazing!!! Loved your floor stain. I am planning to get similar stain for my red oak floor, but having a tough time convincing my seller to do the stain/finish I want. Unfortunately I am only able to talk to the seller’s realtor and not the seller/contractor who is doing it.
    I know you have mentioned in your replies, but just wanted to make sure I got it right, so I can convince my contractor/seller and not change it once they agree.

    Stain: 50/50 Classic Gray and Pickled Oak mixture.
    Coats: two coats of stain, two coats of water-based Satin poly.
    Could you also confirm if you did put the stain on and leave it on, or did they wipe it off? Just curious because I still see some wood grain and brown (which I love) but are sure it was not wiped off after applying?


  7. Wow. This is beautiful. I have oak floors that were installed 50 years ago by my dad…never finished. (I inherited the house.) I love them and never considered staining them…until I saw this! Actually I was looking for stain for kitchen cabinets. This is perfect. Thank you for sharing your research.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for this tip! We’re going for it. Did you actually mix the colors 50/50 in the can, then apply? Or did you apply one color, then the other?


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