chrisusher

Old Pine Cabin Floors

Chris Usher
December 1, 2019

We ha


ve stripped our 1947 cabins pine floors to the bone. we now need to stain them to match the existing old beams and window trim and are having a hard time. Any ideas??? Minwax does not seem to have a stain to match the old stain...


Comments (21)

  • PRO
    myricarchitect

    Cute cabin, are these the original floors? I wouldn’t put stain on old growth heart pine IMHO.

    Chris Usher thanked myricarchitect
  • Chris Usher

    these are the original floors which were covered up by carpet, but were in horrible shape. That is why we took the years of polyurethaning stain off (3 50 gallon trashcans full) and want to retain them to match the existing old growth beams, trim and doors. We did not realize it would be so difficult to match original stain....help!

  • suezbell

    Beautiful wood.

    The color they now are is likely not the original stain color. Wood changes to a darker color over time.

    Consider just sealing them instead -- perhaps with clear poly. As long as all the flooring is the same, it need not match the wall paneling and ceiling boards.

    Chris Usher thanked suezbell
  • ci_lantro

    The floors don't need to match the beams. If fact, I would not want them to match because it would be monotonous. Also agree that old pine doesn't need to be stained; it should have mellowed to a nice rich color over the years.

    Then there is the problem of trying to get an even, unblotchy stain on pine.

    I would save the money & the step of staining & clear finish them.

  • Chris Usher

    they are very blond looking right now w clear finish...

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    They will change color over time and IMO too much all the same is a bit overwhelming so leave them natural they will look awesome

    Chris Usher thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.

    No one stain will be a perfect match, often you have to blend two stains together- for instance a 50/50 mix of golden oak and cherry (an example only, you will need to test on your floors)


    Not matching can also work, especially if you go just a clear finish as then it looks intentionally different.

    Chris Usher thanked HALLETT & Co.
  • SJ McCarthy

    I'm going to guess the ceiling wood is NOT stained. That is the colour and old, old, old shellac finish takes on. Not only does it turn orange all by itself, the WOOD deepens in colour (tannin pull moves colour from inside the board to the surface...sitting underneath the finish = STRONG orange colour).


    If you have a clear coat of finish over top right now, you might as well leave it. Of course if you want MORE orange, you can strip/sand down the floors (remove the clear coat you have on there now) and apply 3 coats of the oldest format, nastiest VOC content OIL BASED urethane on the market (Minwax comes to mind...the stuff is illegal in California and 11 other states).


    With three coats of the OIL BASED polyurethane (and 30+ days of stink) you will achieve a yellow floor. After 5 years or so it will have darkened to an orange colour. After a few more years it should be very, very, very close to the original ceiling wood colour.


    At that point you will be wrapped in orange.

    Chris Usher thanked SJ McCarthy
  • Chris Usher

    It is not that I like orange but we are not going to strip the whole cabin. What would you do. Right now the floors have been sanded and clear coated and they look blond... I appreciate your feedback so much!

  • flopsycat1

    Can you post a pic of the blond floors?

  • SJ McCarthy

    I would leave them be. Water based polyurethane (aka 'clear coat) can bring about tannin pull all by itself. That is to say, the tannins in the wood can become emulsified by the water/liquid product and then as the product dries out it pulls the tannins (aka the colour) to the surface. This is what happens with White Oak and with other woods (pine/fir) that have high tannin content.


    Worse case scenario you don't like it in 5 years and it becomes a redo. For me (as lazy as I am) I would leave it alone, furnish the rooms and try to love the blonde for what it is: a MUCH LIGHTER product than orange. Again, if you don't like it in 5 years, you can always redo it.

    Chris Usher thanked SJ McCarthy
  • ci_lantro

    Live with what you have.

    Stain usually goes on before clear coating so it's too late to stain w/o sanding off the clear coat and some more of the life of your floors. After that sanding that removed 150 gallons worth of finish & sanding dust, there probably isn't a whole lot of sandable depth left in the wood before you start sanding thru to the tongues & grooves.


    What did you use to clear coat the floors?


  • PRO
    G & S Floor Service

    Too late to give you a finishing trick. Flooring is already coated.

  • Chris Usher

    no please give it to us. We are sanding it down again...

  • PRO
    G & S Floor Service

    Store the oil base poly in a clear or glass container and leave it out in the sun for a bout a week. The poly will turn orange. That will give you an easy match.

  • Chris Usher



    Here is a photo of the floors refinished everyone. Shall we just leave them as is? we do have two rugs that will be put down under the sofas and dining table. we have new furniture that is mid century modern that is adorable with the design. Some day we will level this cabin to do a new build as the lot alone is worth $650,000. It is on an acre with 100 foot of shoreline on Lake Pend'Oreille in Sandpoint Idaho. Photos of lake and our dock below...






  • flopsycat1

    Looks beautiful! I’d leave the floors alone and enjoy the view.

  • Fori

    The floors are perfect with the old orange woodwork. They are lighter but coordinating. It's really nice.


    And it looks intentional. :)

  • Olychick

    The floors are so gorgeous (along with your view) - I would leave them and love them as they are. You don't want to sand them again for no reason and remove another layer of wood. The lighter color will brighten everything.

  • PRO
    G & S Floor Service

    I agree, leave it. It looks great!

  • SJ McCarthy

    Wow! They are STUNNING! Whomsoever did the work has done a beautiful job. The wood will turn a snick more golden over time. The tannins in the wood will surface. Just give it time!


    The MCM look goes MUCH better with blonde wood rather than an orange wood.

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