Wood Floors Are Lightening Up
Dark wood floors are out. Pale hues are in
When it comes to updating the look of wood floors, homeowners are embracing ash blondes, driftwood grays, and transparent, whitewashed tones. These popular pale hues have a practical side, too: They’re better than dark wood finishes at hiding dirt and crumbs. If you aren’t in the market for new flooring, you can get the look by refinishing—and any species of solid-wood flooring is a candidate. Sanding off the old finish is the starting point; then you’ve got two choices. The easy route—and one you could do yourself—is to apply a pigmented penetrating oil like Rubio Monocoat. This kind of oil needs only one coat, is walk-on dry in 24 to 36 hours, and dries to a matte finish. Durability depends on usage, but expect to go a year or more before adding a new coat to maintain the finish. The more involved option—generally best done by a pro—is a multicoat system with water-based pigmented stain or sealer, followed by two or three coats of water-based finish. It’s more labor-intensive, and, while the coats are fast-drying, it’ll be a few days before you can walk on your floors. The upside? Longer-lasting protection. To ensure finish compatibility, just be sure your floor refinisher sticks with a single manufacturer. Bona and DuraSeal are two that offer myriad options.
Shown: Starting from scratch? Engineered wood flooring with a driftwood finish is a popular choice.
Thanks to: Brent Miller, vice president for education and certification, National Wood Flooring Association. Katie Allen, director of marketing, Lumber Liquidators. Zack Clavin, strategic product manager, Bona.