Stained Timber Flooring vs Natural Timber Flooring

Natural hardwood floors

There are many different kinds of timber flooring and each looks different. Some timbers have a natural dark appearance and some, like pine, are light. When choosing a timber flooring it may not always be possible to select a natural wood colour to match your design – cost and availability amongst different timbers vary significantly.

Staining can solve this problem. By applying a stain, it is easy to turn a light timber darker to suit your design. A popular look is to have light-coloured walls with a dark brown floor as shown in the photo below.

Light room, dark floors

If you haven’t seen stained floors before, it’s possible you just haven’t realised the floors have been stained. Staining is not the same as painting: paint typically forms an opaque film on a surface with a consistent colour. Staining, on the other hand, just darkens the existing colour, so you still see the natural wood grains, knots, and features – just darker, or a different hue, than what they would otherwise be.

The purpose of staining is to simply change the wood’s natural colour, not necessarily to protect the wood (other products do that, like a sealant). The process we follow is to first apply the stain to the raw timber. Once the desired hue is achieved, we then apply the sealant, floor polish, and any other products just as if no stain was applied at all. The end result is a beautiful floor with precisely the colour you want to suit your design.

Of course, unstained timber also gives are beautiful finished look. The end result is a lighter hue that can brighten up a room. This happens to be particularly popular in Sweden where not only are light timbers desired for flooring, but often the floors are painted white (or very light) as opposed to staining. It comes down to the design. In Melbourne (as in most other places) either natural or stained timber floors are the norm. The decision will be based primarily on the matching the wall colours, how much natural light is in the room, and the effect you want.

Natural hardwood floors

Here are some general tips:

Consider staining your floor if:

  • The room is bright – either lots of natural sunlight or strong lighting exists
  • You want a more dramatic effect. The high contracts of light walls with dark floors make for striking visuals in a room.
  • One room uses different timber from the other rooms and you watch to match the colour. Staining allows you to change the colour or the floor to match something else.

Consider natural timber flooring if:

  • The room is painted in a darker colour
  • Other parts of the house have natural colour flooring and you want to keep the aesthetics similar throughout the house
  • You’re looking for a more low-key, warm, natural feeling for the room. The opposite of “dramatic”.

Both options can work well. Call Hartnett Flooring for advice and a free quote.