Dark Walnut with a Cherry on Top

So a few weeks ago, I came up to Jay with a crazy (slightly creepy) glint in my eye, and said I had a plan. Jay has learned that is code for, grab your seat and fasten your belt, we’re going for a ride, son!! I saw the trepidation in his eyes as I announced that our wood floors needed the good old heave ho. He took it better than expected, and then he asked me when I planned to throw this task down into the home renovation gauntlet. Why, next weekend, dear!

And here is my reasoning. At first, we were thinking, lets just patch up the floor, grab a hand sander and try to match the color as best we can, it’ll be fine. But then, I got to thinking (danger zone), and I thought to myself, heck, lets just start from the ground up (har, har) and dust these little beauties off. Truth be told, our wood floors actually have quite a bit of damage. Jay and I typically walk around in our little socks or bare feet, or sneakers and it looks like there was some major high heal wearing going down in this joint before we arrived. We just are not that classy, we rarely pull out the heals round here. And I guess by we, I mean I. We are more of a sneaker family. Here is some of the evidence of the heal damage to the floor.

Red Oak Floors

The other wee problem (in my little head), was that the floors were starting to look really off to me. Like spray on tan foam from the beauty care aisle. Like that girl you knew in high school that was going for the summer glow, but went just a little to far, and turned out orange. (Did anyone ever let her know, I still wonder). I like oak floors, and in our last house, we got the perfect combination where it was the most lovely amber tone, much more yellow than orange. It was great. By here we are, onto new frontiers and I’m ready to try something new and get all ballsy and go dark. Not super duper dark, but warm and inviting dark.

Minwax Dark Walnut

So after lots of google searching, I decided the color I wanted to give a try was Minwax Dark Walnut. MMM. Even the name sounds yummy. Like a ferrero rocher chocolate. After more subsequent google searching, I also decided that I wanted to water pop the floor. Saaayy what??? Is that like an 80’s dance move or something. No, actually it’s a pretty simple little maneuver where you put some water on a rag and wipe in on the floor. Literally. It helps to essentially open the wood back up a bit, which gives you a more consistent coat with the stain. Here is Jay, finishing up our water popping process. We did this the evening before, and let it sit for a full 24-hours until we came back with the stain the next evening. The most important thing when popping the floor, was to make sure an even amount of water was placed on the wood, and that you didn’t miss a spot. Since it opened up the wood quite a bit, missing spots of leaving puddles would leave to an inconsistent final coat. Das es bad.

How to Water Pop Floors

Then, after all that water had ample time to soak into the wood, we decided to put on our big kid pants and stain this wood already. This, my friends, turned out to be a fairly traumatic experience. Turns out, all that sanding we did into the wee hours of the night. We missed a few spots … To get the first coat down on the ground, we grabbed a lambswool applicator and put a decently thick coat down to get this show on the road.

How to Stain Floors

Here is the first coat going down. Wooo nillies. That is dark. Mocha liscous? Maybe. Put my heart was doing some serious palpitations when I saw this stuff getting smeared on the floor. No turning back now! In all honesty – I absolutely loved the look of the wood super light. I knew once we put poly down on this though, that it would turn orangy over time, so I opted to go dark. One, I wanted to try something completely new and two, to get the super light look, we’ed actually have to bleach it, which also seems kinda scary.

How to Stain Wood Floor

One the stain coat was down, we let it sit for 10-minutes. The can suggested anywhere from 5-15 depending on how dark you wanted it. Right in the middle seemed like a good place to start. To keep things moving, we did one row in each room at a time, and progressively moved closer in toward our escape hatch (the door).

How to Stain Floor

After starting to do the math, and seeing how far away we were from the door, this was my general sentiment. If that isn’t a stink eye, I don’t know what is.

Staining Wood Floors

The general strategy as we started to inch out the door, was to put down the stain in 2-foot (or so) wide sections, and then progressively wipe it down (while trying the blend everything) and sneak out the back door that way. But, ya had to let the stain sit for 10-mins, and then come back through to wipe it down. We wrapped up around 2am. It was a school night (yes, weeknights are still school nights in my book). I was tired. I’m still recovering.

How to Stain Floors

After lots of slaving, our floor was looking like this. Some inconsistencies – we’re just going to go ahead and call that character. Plus, once we get some poly on this baby, all those shiney spots will even out leaving us with (hopefully) a dark and lovely floor.

Dark Walnut Stain on Red Oak



6 thoughts on “Dark Walnut with a Cherry on Top

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