Without a doubt, my favorite part of building our home was the installation of our white oak hardwood flooring. When the first raw board of white oak was put down, I saw the vision in my head come to life.
If you are refinishing or installing hardwoods, your options of types of wood are overwhelming. From engineered to custom site finish, and all kinds of varieties of wood and then of course, stains and finishes- it’s a lot! I hope sharing my experience of choosing our white oak hardwoods helps you narrow it down!
Our Reasons For Choosing White Oak Hardwood Flooring
I knew from the beginning we would be using white oak. Our builder recommended it, but I also had done my own research. White oak is one of the more durable hardwoods; it’s harder than other kinds of hardwood (harder meaning more resilient to dents).
Sometimes in photos I will edit the saturation and to make objects pop, and deepen colors. I did not do any of that editing in these photos, so I could give you a more real life look.
White oak is similar in some ways to red oak floors. Both are similarly priced, and durable. But white oak flooring takes certain stain colors better than red oak.
Red oak has pinkish undertones that will come out if you try to whitewash them, or give them a very light stain. It simply doesn’t take as well to white, gray and darker stain colors. So if you love the trendy colors I just mentioned, listen up!
I told the crew who was helping me pick out our stain that I loved the way white oak looks naturally. The perfect color to me is how they look before any stain or finish.
Budget, Widths & Other Considerations for White Oak Flooring
Most of the photos of modern farmhouses that I had pinned had these amazing whitewashed white oak hardwood flooring with wider planks. I decided we wanted a slightly white washed look, which is hard (if not impossible) to pull off with red oak floors!
We would be putting hardwood floors in the entire home, except for the kids’ bedrooms, upstairs bathrooms and playroom. Originally we were envisioning 6″ planks.
I thought the price of white oak to be somewhat reasonable at first, even with all that square footage. But once I factored in the price of the wider widths I wanted I changed my tune. In order to make the floors fit within our budget we ended up going with a more affordable 4″ width.
I want to take a moment to discuss engineered hardwoods for a moment. Quite a few people told us if we were to put engineered hardwoods inside a custom built home, the floors would “cheapen” the home and its’ value.
Now, we didn’t end up using engineered hardwoods, but I’m not sure I agree with them on that. Perhaps a few years ago, but engineered flooring options right now are pretty amazing.
Benefits of Engineered Hardwoods vs Solid Hardwoods:
- Although both engineered hardwoods and solid hardwoods are durable, engineered hardwoods are extremely tough.
- They are sometimes more resistance to wear and tear (i.e.- big dogs with nails and lots of kids!).
- They are more resistant to moisture.
- They cost far less per square footage.
- They are greener from an environmental perspective.
- And it is easier to put down wider planks of engineered hardwoods successfully because they are stronger and more resistant to buckling.
My husband is a Realtor and he thought engineered hardwoods could be equally as beautiful as solid hardwoods in our home Also, he does not believe they take away from the value of a home. (This is because while one family may not prefer them, another family – say with big dogs and kids – might prefer the engineered over the solid hardwoods.)
That being said, he was never in favor of using engineered hardwoods in our “forever home”. His reason wasn’t about whether engineered hardwoods would cheapen our home. It was simply because you can’t sand down and re-stain engineered hardwoods the same way you can with solid hardwoods.
Hardwood Floor Stain Colors For Oak
These are our hardwoods. White Oak flooring, #1 with 4″ width.
(Read about our kitchen paint colors here!)
Our builder recommended using a Duraseal brand stain. Duraseal is owned by the same company as Minwax. Duraseal offers quite a few more stain colors and takes less time to cure.
When it came time for us to pick out a hardwood floor stain color, I was told the stain color “Neutral” might be something I liked.
Shouldn’t that look like the natural color of raw white oak? No! It doesn’t. Not on its’ own, that is. Although not a bad color, it is significantly darker than the color of white oak without a stain.
The colors we tried with patches on our floors were Duraseal Weathered Oak (way too gray), Classic Gray (no), Neutral (too dark), and Country White (too washed out).
None of these were right on their own for what we wanted. Most were too dark, but Country White was far too washed out. We ended up mixing various combinations until we found a winning combo: a stain made up of half Country White and half Neutral.
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This easy combination of using half and half of two different stains ends up being VERY close to the look of the white oak already on its own.
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I hope this post was helpful! If you are considering white oak hardwood flooring or considering stain colors for oak, your best bet is to use a highly recommended installer who understands your vision!