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

You can stain or paint hardwood floors or leave them in their natural state. The magnificent looks that paints and stains can create on wood floors are dumbfounding. While stains can mimic exotic woods, professional wood artists can use paints to turn wood into an extraordinary art piece.

Natural Hardwood Floor

The essence of wood floor staining is actually to mimic unique and exotic hardwood species. For example, you can stain a white oak or beech with black wood stains, which will make it look like an ebony floor. As such, exotic species like walnut, maple, mahogany, and cherry hardwood floors look beautiful in their natural state and may not require staining. Why buy an expensive, beautiful and cherished look, only to use paint and stains to hide it?

In this regard, many people with exotic or unique hardwood flooring will tend to leave it in its natural state. On such floors, you only need to apply a clear finish, varnish, and sealant. However, if the floor gets damaged, a darker paint or stain can cover up the damages. That said, you can paint or stain your hardwood floor if you want a fresh look in your home or to enhance the grain of your wooden floor.

Natural hardwood floors are ideal for homeowners who prefer the timeless traditional design. They are also a cost-effective and easy way to manage your flooring without having to incur extra costs.

The main disadvantage of a natural hardwood floor finish is that it is very common.

Painted Hardwood Floors

Painting hardwood floors is an inexpensive way to turn your floor into unique artwork. You can paint your wooden floors as a home improvement strategy. Painting can change the looks of your home or revamp an old hardwood floor. You can use color and complex patterns when painting.

Can You Paint Any Wooden Floor?

Basically, you can paint any wooden floor. You can paint engineered or solid, and any wood species. However, avoid painting a glossy wooden floor because it loses its elegance.

When painting floors, it is important to get it right the first time. Therefore, before painting, plan to test paint a small hidden part of the room like under the couch area. To test paint, prepare the floor as you would when painting the entire floor, then paint it. After 24 hours, check if the paint has any streaks or has peeled off. If the floor has issues, then you should get a professional to do it.

Buying Hardwood Flooring Paint

Initially, only buy a small quantity of paint to test the floor to see how well it blends with the paint. Use paint manufactured for wooden floors.  You can buy paint with polyurethane. In case it is not available, then you should apply polyurethane coats. Also, when buying paint, consider whether you want to paint with a glossy or dull sheen, or you can consider a paint between the two. More so, look for quality paint that will last long and don’t compromise on the quality. Noteworthy, with good quality paint, you may need to apply only one coat of paint.

In addition to that, there are a variety of hardwood floor paint colors. Therefore, choose a paint color that matches other elements of your interior decor like your furniture, curtains, and walls.

The amount of paint you buy depends on the thickness level of the paint, the size of the area you are painting, and the number of coats you will apply. For a figure to work with to estimate your cost, you can estimate using a gallon for every 350 square feet.

How to Paint Hardwood Floors

paint hardwood

  1. Before applying the paint, you should prepare the surface of the wood by washing, scraping, and priming it. You may need to sand it too. To do the job fast and easily, you can rent a floor buffer and choose between 120 or 150 grit sandpaper to use on the buffer’s sanding screen.  A floor buffer is the best way to prepare a floor before painting because it “deglosses” the surface. The process will give you a new surface that is ready to paint.
  2. Ensure that the floor is thoroughly vacuumed to remove any dust and then wipe the floor with a damp mop.
  3. You should also do surface repairs and fill cracks and depressions on the floor.
  4. Hardwood floors require tough paints and not standard paints. As such, you should use a water-based porch or oil-based porch with floor enamels. However, these have limited color options, and you may have to use trim enamels which you can find at a local paint store for different color options.
  5. If you are satisfied with the test results, now you can apply the paint to the whole floor. Your floor will require a primer if it is bare before painting the floor. To avoid many paint coats, be sure to match the primer color with the paint you intend to use. For best results, the paint should be applied along and not across the grain.
  6. You should apply 2-3 coats of paints. You should also put at least two layers of protective finish like clear polyurethane, which will help with high foot traffic on your floor. This is if the paint has no polyurethane. Moreover, you can apply a third coat of polyurethane after six months.
  7. If you use a water-based protective coat, it will dry in about 2 hours, and you can apply a second coat immediately. However, oil-based coats require about 24 hours to dry. As such, you should apply the second coat the next day. The floor will require 3-4 days to dry completely. After which you can use the room.

Advantages of Painting a Wooden Floor
1. Unique Designs and Colors

Painting floors is a modern trend that brings color and design to a space. Paints have a way of adding personality to a floor and giving a room a new character. Worth noting, you can paint your floor to get a unique color and texture that staining may not offer. 

You can freely express your creativity with a painted floor rather than stained or natural hardwood floors with pre-determined traditional looks. You can add interesting patterns and designs to the floor.

2. Painted Hardwood Floors are Easier to Maintain

Painted floors are easier to maintain than stained and natural floors. In fact, you can keep reapplying a new coat of paint when the old paint becomes thin. Painting a hardwood floor is also less demanding, although you should do it professionally for the best results. Usually, the old finish doesn’t necessarily have to be sanded, but the floor has to be prepared and repaired.

3. Covering Cheap Hardwoods with Paint

Paint can cover up cheap hardwood floor types that don’t look good, in your opinion.

4. Painting to Reclaim an Old Hardwood Floor

You can use paints to reclaim an old floor that has lived beyond its lifespan. This is especially for hardwood floors which may have been over-sanded or old. Because sanding will only destroy your floor, you can opt to paint the hardwood floor other than doing a floor replacement. Painting your floor will extend its life for a few more years. By revamping an old floor, you save money that you would have used to replace the entire floor.

Cons of Painting a Hardwood Floor

Wood is an expensive and classic flooring option. However, paint hides your hardwood floor, especially an antique floor, leaving you with a painted version of it. So, if you have a beautiful hardwood floor, why not maintain its natural color? That said, it is entirely up to you and your personal tastes and preferences.

Staining Hardwood Floors

Staining your hardwood floor is a major decision because you will live with the floor for a long time. The exercise is not only expensive but also requires vacating the room for some time. The task is daunting because there are various shades and various hardwood floor stain colors to select from. Whatever colors and shades you choose will impact the overall style of your home because a floor is a focal point in a room.

When is it Right to Stain a Hardwood Floor?

Unlike painting that suits all hardwood floors, some floors take stains well while others don’t. In fact, most exotic woods have tight grains and oil, which prevents them from taking stains well. However, if you have a common type of hardwood floor like red oak or white oak, then staining may give it an exotic look. Oak floors are stain-friendly, and using the proper techniques; the wooden floor will turn out well.

Also, some floor finishes usually turn floors to a yellowish, orange, or washed-out look that may not be aesthetically appealing. In such cases, staining will transform your wooden floor.

Staining is also recommended if the wood is damaged by pets, pot plants, or water. Instead of replacing the entire floor, staining can refresh the wood’s looks. Water damages should only be stained if the damages are on the surface and not deep into the wood.

Average Cost to Stain Hardwood Floors

The cost of stains varies from brand to brand and the quality of the stain—the market prices for a gallon range between $30 and $100. One gallon can stain an area of about 300 square feet of floor.

Pros of Staining a Floor

1. There Are Multiple Stain Colors and Designs

You have a choice from multiple stain colors. The color you settle for should sync with other design elements in the room. There are dark, red and honey, coffee, mid-brown, dark brown, and gray stains. You can also make decorative patterns on the floor by using two staining designs to create, for example, a checkerboard design.

2. You Can Transform a Cheap Floor into an Exotic Look

You can transform the looks of a cheap hardwood floor and make it look like an exotic species by applying stains. Additionally, you can use staining to hide dents and damages on a floor if you choose dark stains. What’s more, rather than replacing a damaged hardwood floor, staining is a cheaper way to revamp the look of the floor.

Cons of Staining Hardwood Floor

You cannot achieve some color effects like green or blue with staining because it still displays some wood grain. The most extreme colors are black and grey.

Wrapping Up

Whether you leave your hardwood floor to retain its natural look, paint, or stain, it all depends on the condition of the floor and your personal style. While painted hardwood floors hide the wood with stains, you will still see your wood grains, which is advantageous if your wood is still in fairly good condition.