Color Matching New Hardwood To Old Hardwood – Lacing & Blending – Kansas City, MO

Sampling Colors

You can see in these photos the issue we were facing.  If you notice, you can clearly tell the difference between the new and old hardwood flooring.  Nobody wants to see where replaced boards are throughout their home.  Color after color and we couldn’t get any to blend the two floors together.  Even the dark stain colors you could tell the difference between the two floors.  As you can see in the photos:

Solution For Blending OLD Wood To NEW Wood

The secret, water popping. Water popping is when you wet down your wood floors. By doing this you open the grains which then allows the stain to really absorb. The challenge was that we had to water pop the NEW wood only and not the old wood. The old wood was much darker from all the years of wear and tear, so when we applied the stain you could see a significant difference between the two woods. Once we water popped the new wood only and applied stain, viola! Perfect match! 

Image: Left sample (water popped old floor only)

Image: Right sample (water popped new floor only) – Solution!!


Color matching new wood flooring to old wood flooring is difficult.  New hardwood floors and Old hardwood floors will soak in stain colors differently.  Try water popping only the new floor and sample stain colors over new/old section.  The solution – Water Pop NEW Wood Flooring & Do Not Water Pop OLD Wood Flooring.  

Project Overview

  • Sampling Colors
  • Colors NOT Matching/Blending
  • Takeaways

Staining Red Oak Floors White – Kansas City

So, you trying to stain your red oak floors white?  There’s much more to it so peep this!

Toning out the pinkish tint in the red oak

This project was existing red oak flooring.  The customer wanted to stain the floor with country white.  Red oak has a pinkish tint to it, which makes for complications when a client wants a lighter color.  Now, staining red oak white is on another level of difficulty.  First, we replaced over 100 boards.  It’s important to replace any discolored boards from pet stains or water damage.  Otherwise those boards will most definitely appear in the final product.

Double Staining White

Most flooring companies will only stain a floor once.  However, this may be the case for white oak floors.  But, red oak is more porous and will soak in twice as much stain than white oak.  We recommend using a 120 grit for the final buff before staining.  Then apply the first layer of stain.  We let this stain sit over night on the floor.  That allows the stain to fully dry.  The next day we applied the second layer of stain.

Sealer & Finish for White Wood Floors

Staining this floor twice actually helps cancel out the pinkish tones.  But, not completely!  There’s more to it.  And the next steps are the most important!  Do not use oil-based sealers and finishes!  They have ambering agent in them all!  It will ruin your whitewashed effect.  Bona makes a sealer and finish that have white dye in them and don’t have ambering agent in the ingredients.  It’s magic!  Trust us, these products are perfect for cancelling out the red/pink tones that are naturally in the red oak.

We sealed this floor with Bona NordicSeal.  This sealer has white dye in it and provides a whitewashed look to any floor.  We used a t-bar to apply the sealer.  It’s important to let that seal coat dry for 24 hours.  Next is to apply the first coat of finish.  We used Bona Mega Clear HD.  This has no amber tint and the finish will not yellow over time.  Same deal, let that dry for 24 hours and apply the final coat with the exact same product.

There’s much more that goes into a project like this.  Much more that would have to be explained in person.  It’s best to hire an expert and ask them if they work with the products mentioned above.  The old-school way to whitewash wood was to use bleach.  You don’t have to use bleach nowadays.  Try using the double stained technique and these special sealers and finishes.  It works!


Always replace damaged boards before staining a floor white.  See the stain samples on the floor before selecting a color.  Go see an actual floor that you want to have.  Fill all the gaps in the floor before staining.  To get the pinkish tint out of red oak – use double staining techniques and special sealers and finishes.  You don’t have to use bleaching techniques to achieve a whitewashed look.

Here are links to the stain, sealer, and finish used on this project

Project Overview

  • Replacing 112 boards
  • Stain consultation
  • The recommendation
  • Filling gaps
  • Double stained
  • Sealer and finish

Spot Treating Pet Stains on Hardwood Floors

We have a solution for those pet stains in hardwood floors.  Yes, that’s correct!  Now, we can provide a cheaper solution for our clients.  Replacing those damaged boards has been the only solution for over 100 years.  That can get pretty pricey, especially if you have a hundred damaged boards.

Trust us, it works!

Dog urine contains many contents such as uric acid, sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium and ammonia.  This treatment will extract all of those chemicals out of the hardwood flooring.  It can prolong your project by a few days, but totally worth it in the long run.  Also, keep in mind – this treatment will reek the house of ammonia.  That is because those chemicals are being pulled out of the hardwoods.


Each spot will need to be treated at least 3 times.  And, between each treatment – the entire floor will be sanded.  This allows the treatment to penetrate deeper and deeper into the hardwoods, between every round of sanding.  In some cases, if the stains are bad enough, we may even let the treatment sit overnight.  It’s best to do this during the summer because the home will need proper ventilation.

Typically, by the third pass of sanding you will start to see the pet spots turn white.  And the pet spots will be much smaller in size.  It’s important to test the pet spots with stain samples and the poly, before doing the entire floor.  In some cases, these pet spots may retract a water based poly.  We alway recommend an oil based sealer and oil based poly for this type of project.  If there is any ammonia left over from the treatment, then the oil based products will seal that in much better than water based products.


Before spot treatment was discovered, we had a project in the past that had a few pet stains.  The customer did not want to replace the boards but just stain the floor dark to help camouflage the pet damages.  Sure, no big deal – right?  Wrong!  We stained the floor espresso, applied water based sealer, and top coated with water based poly.  The floor looked absolutely beautiful, other than the pet damaged areas.

The ammonia was eating through the stain color, sealer, and two coats of finish.  Crazy!  So, we sanding those urine spots, put an oil based sealer over it, then brushed water based finish over that to blend with the rest of the flooring.  It was only a quick fix.  Those spots ended up eating away the protective coating again.  The solution here – replace those boards or spot treat.  We’ve learned from trial and error with these pet stains and they do not go without notice.  Take them serious and get them out of your way before apply varnishes.

Stain and Finish

It’s important to sample the stain colors over these treating areas.  For the simple fact of seeing what color will blend best over the urine spots.  Now, in many cases those pet spots will come completely out.  Therefore, you can choose a range of colors, including light colors.  In other cases, the pet spots may have just got smaller or faded but still show their presence.  If that’s the case, going with a light color is completely out of the question.  Sampling dark browns will be the best outcome.


With pet damages – replace the boards or try spot treating.  Do not use water based products for projects that involve pet damages.  You’re asking for trouble!  Go with oil based or formaldehyde based products.  Expect to have a few extra days for treatment.  Properly ventilate the house during treatment and coating.  Here are a few brands that we recommend using for projects with pet damages.

Project Overview

  • Treatment vs replacement
  • Sanding
  • Spot treatment
  • Reactions
  • Stain and finish

Need Spot Treatment Services?

Let us come take a look at your project!

Staining Maple Hardwood Floors – Oil vs Water-Based Polyurethane

Believe it or not – Leavenworth KS was established 11 years before Kansas City.  Which, makes Leavenworth a very old town – sitting on the west bank of the Missouri River.  Fort Leavenworth was built in 1827, the city became known for its role as a major supply base in the settlement of the American West.  How cool is that!  So, the original buildings and homes of Kansas City were constructed with materials from Leavenworth KS.  

Our team has worked in Leavenworth KS on a few projects, and let me tell you – that town is so cool!  Just the drive itself, from KC, is absolutely stunning!  From our office in Briarcliff, you will cross over two major rivers on the way there, the Plattte River and the Missouri River.  It’s pure country – rolling hills and beautiful valleys with trains passing through it all.  It’s one of the only areas in the Kansas City that hasn’t been developed.  Reminds you of old western movie!

Maple Hardwood Floors

This house is located in the heart of down town Leavenworth KS.  Not sure the age of the home, but typically, homes located more central to town-down are the originals.  These floors had black paint layered on top.  When we began sanding these floors, we noticed that they were not oak.  98% of hardwood floors throughout the Midwest are Red Oak or White Oak.  So, when we revealed these beautiful maple hardwoods, we were so thrilled!

Staining Maple Hardwood Floors

Maple is a domestic hardwood.  It’s more expensive than oak – for one reason.  Maple is a slightly tougher material.  This is why gym floors are strictly constructed with maple flooring.  Maple flooring is literally the only hardwood that is allowed to be used for gym floors.

Don’t even think about changing the color of a maple floor!  It’s near impossible to stain a maple floor.  Flooring professionals will always recommend refinishing natural without applying stain colors.   Maple just will not absorb stain colors like oak.  Trust us, we’ve tried it – the entire floor looks splotchy and inconsistent.  Seriously, painting the entire floor would’ve looked better!

Maple Floors – Oil vs Water-Based Polyurethane’s

Water-based poly’s have 3 hour dry times.  This allows you to move back into your home quickly after the final coat has been applied.  It’s recommended that you still wait 48 hours before putting back furniture and 7 days before rugs go down.  Rugs will restrict airflow and prevent the poly from curing completely.  Water-based poly may need to be recoated every 3 years.  Water-based has a thinner build layer than oil-based poly and will not hold up to foot traffic as well.  However, water-based finishes are safer to be around.  There’s hardly a smell and require minimal ventilation.

Oil-based poly’s have a 13 hour dry time.  This will prolong your move-in date.  Oil will amber over time and water will hold true to the natural look.  Oil is a much more durable finish than water-based.  With proper maintenance, you can go 20 years without ever re-coating the floors.  Oil has a very potent smell and can be harmful to your health.  Even with maximum ventilation, your home could take up to a week for the odor to clear out.  Foot traffic is recommended after 24 hours, furniture back after 48 hours, and rugs back down 2 weeks after final coat.


Our opinion – we always recommend oil-based poly for protecting all species of hardwood floors.  We strongly believe that oil-based finishes are the best bang for your buck.  It’s cheaper than water-based products and will last 10 times longer.  Remember, that hardwood floors take a beating over the years in your home.  Infinite human and pet traffic, robot vacuums cruising around, spills, dropping items, contractors working on other projects, sliding furniture, potted plants leaking, and numerous other things will test the durability of your hardwood floors.  Consider oil-based – you will thank us in the long run.

Project Overview

  • History
  • Refinishing Maple Hardwoods
  • Staining Maple Hardwoods
  • Oil vs Water-Based Maple Hardwoods
  • Our Recommendation

Pre-Finished Hardwood Cost vs Site-Finished Hardwood Cost

Are you trying to decide whether to have pre-finished hardwoods installed or site-finished hardwoods installed?  This information could help you with that decision!  We recently bid a customer’s project for these two service options.  They wanted to see the price difference between both, pre-finished installation and/or site-finished installation.  The total square footage of their space was 800.  (The following bids are based on 800 square feet.)  In this study, we found that on average, site-finished hardwood flooring services are cheaper than pre-finished hardwood flooring services.  Choosing to have site-finished flooring will save you up to $2,000!

For those DIY folks out there, here is just the cost for the hardwood itself:  $6409 for pre-finished and $2400 for raw (site-finished).

For those who will be hiring a professional for this service, here’s the price to expect:


Pre Finished hardwood

Installation Labor = $2900

Hardwood = $6409 for 800 sqft

Total:  $9309


Site Finished hardwood 

Installation & Refinish = $3700

Materials & Finish =  $300

Hardwood = $2400 for 800 sft

Total:  $6400

Hardwood Floor Refinishing – DIY

Think that you have what it takes to refinish your hardwood floors?

Yes!  Ok, here’s a detailed list of supplies that you’ll need – including the prices and rental fees.   The material prices are based on the maximum square footage of 500.  If you have more than 500 square feet then the rental fees and materials will increase.  The rental fees listed below are estimated at a maximum of 4 days.  If you have around 1,000 square feet then the total materials and rental fees will double.

We would suggest YouTubing how-to’s for hardwood floor refinishing.  This will teach you the basics before you rent the equipment.  If you are trying to watch videos while you have the equipment, then it will take longer.  You want to try to minimize the amount of days that you have the equipment.  We’ll put out another article that demonstrates how to use the equipment.  For now, I think it’s important to see what the materials and equipment rental looks like.  This alone, could change your mind.

Each item has a link for purchase.  Prices do not include tax.  

Equipment rental for Kansas City area residence:

(Call Select Flooring @ 913-859-0909)

List of supplies:

  • Toe-Kick and Edger Sander (Call Select Flooring @ 913-859-0909)
    • $40/day Toe Kick (used for sanding underneath cabinet overhang)
    • $40/day edger

  • Hummel (Call Select Flooring @ 913-859-0909)
    • $150/day – make sure to include the extended cord and 220 adaptor


  • Norton – 4-1/2 Inch Diameter x 7/8 Hole, 36 Grit Fiber Disc
    • $35.40 (box of 20)
  • Norton – 4-1/2 Inch Diameter x 7/8 Hole, 60 Grit Fiber Disc
    • $33 (box or 20)
  • Norton – 4-1/2 Inch Diameter x 7/8 Hole, 80 Grit Fiber Disc
    • $30.60 (box of 20)
  • Dremel – Rotary Tool Triangle Sandpaper
    • $177.20 (box of 20)
  • Hummel Sandpaper
    • 36 grit – $63.20 (10 pack)
    • 50 grit – $58.40 (10 pack)
    • 80 grit – $54.40 (10 pack)
  • 3M – 4-1/2″ Diam, Aluminum Oxide Hook and Loop Disc (used for tow kick sander)
    • $43.20

  • Industrial Vacuum (Call Select Flooring @ 913-859-0909)
    • $35/day – make sure to include the hoses and wand

  • Buffer (Call Select Flooring @ 913-859-0909)
    • $40/day




Total Materials – 500 square feet:  $1,268.59 Materials

Total Rental Fees – 4 Days:  $1220 Rental 

Total:  $2488.59 (does not include tax)

Hiring A Professional

Total:  $3,000


Takeaway:  If you want to do-it-yourself, a 500 square foot area will cost you $2,488.59.  Here at RippnFinish, for that same 500 square feet, we would charge $3,000.  So, you potentially would pay an extra $511.41 to have a professional take the reins for you.  90% of homeowners who try refinishing their hardwoods still end up paying a professional to come fix their disasters.  If that happens to you, then you are looking at a new total of $5,488.59.  This is the price of renting the equipment, paying for all the materials, and having a professional fix everything.  If you have a friend in the industry, have that person help you.  Otherwise, pay for a professional service.







Black Hardwood Flooring

Over the last 10 years, dark hardwood flooring has risen to the peaks of high demand.  Dark hardwoods keep getting more and more popular.  Most residential home owners are looking to go darker than what they currently have.  There are only a handful of stain colors on the market that you can purchase to get a darker hardwood floor.  It seems that the most popular is a blend of ebony and dark walnut, a blend of jacobean and ebony, or the newest – espresso.  Each of these blends and colors will give your floors a dark brown tone with the grains being jet black.  Espresso is a very rich color and looks extremely fancy, our most popular color of choice.

White Oak vs Red Oak – Staining Dark 

White oak:

Now, when it comes to staining hardwood floors – keep in mind, that the species of hardwood will absolutely change the overall outcome of the color.  White oak is the best for getting the truest color.  White oak has no pigment!  White oak also has more character in the grains.  With white oak, the 50/50 blend of each color will soak in great.  Now, lets say that you’re the customer, and you want ebony stain color.  With no extra work, that color will stain and blend great with white oak floors.

Red oak:

Staining red oak hardwood flooring is a bit more challenging than white oak.  Naturally, red oak hardwood has a pinkish/red tint throughout.  And, believe it or not, something like 90% of residential hardwoods are red oak here in Kansas City.   Therefore, our team has mastered staining red oak hardwood flooring.  The first step is sampling the different blends.  We always recommend water-popping the entire floor.  Water-popping is a technique used in the hardwood refinishing industry to get a deeper and darker stain color.  Basically, spraying the floor with water and that allows the grains to open up right before you stain the floor.  Its a good technique for red oak flooring!

As mentioned above, when selecting the ebony stain color.  With red oak hardwoods, you would have to use a color called true black made by Duraseal.  This stain color is much darker than ebony.  However, when compared to staining white oak and red oak, side-by-side, its the exact same color.  The only difference is simply the species and the stain color, but they look identical.  This color completely knocks out the pinkish/red tint that is naturally in red oak flooring.  If you use this color on white oak floors, it would almost cover up the grains.  It’s that black!


Takeaway:  Use ebony stain color on white oak hardwood flooring.  Use true black stain color on red oak hardwood flooring.  Water pop the red oak hardwood flooring to get a deeper penetration of stain, this helps gets rid of the pinkish/red tint that is naturally in red oak floors.

Health Benefits of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are hypoallergenic, which is a huge advantage for allergy sufferers.

A family’s health is directly related to the cleanliness of their floors.  There are 60 million people in the US who suffer from asthma and/or allergies.  Mold, dust, and pet dander is reduced with hardwood flooring.  In return, this improves overall indoor air quality.  Hardwood floors do not retain allergens, microorganisms or other harmful materials tracked in from the great outdoors.   

Allergens can exist everywhere.  Mostly outdoors!  However, they can be present indoors as well.  Dust mites and pet dander can accumulate throughout your home.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to minimize allergy triggers inside of their own home.  The solution, it’s simple – get rid of your carpet!  All of the triggers for most air-borne allergens accumulate in carpet flooring.  And vacuuming, that just stirs everything around more!  It’s time to take out that old carpet flooring!

Here’s another unique reason to have hardwoods in your home – hardwood flooring stores carbon during it’s entire life.  According to the NWFA, during their growth life, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen.  This process makes hardwood, carbon neutral.  In other words, even after the tree is cut down and manufactured into flooring, it continues to store carbon.  This is yet another reason why hardwood flooring improves indoor air quality.

Takeaway:  Get rid of the carpet in your home!  Carpet is the number one reason for allergy triggers.  Install hardwoods throughout your home.  This will improve the overall air quality.  Hardwoods contain carbon for life!

How to clean your hardwood floors?

Watch how to use the Bona cleaning kit.  This kit is complimentary with our services.


Dusting your hardwoods should be conducted most often.  Depending on the amount of foot traffic, this can be a daily task.  The dust and small rock particles get trapped in the felt pads that are underneath the tables and chairs.  When chairs are slid back and forth with dust particles on them, this causes wear and tear on your hardwoods.  Now, if you live in an industry space then you probably prefer the worn down look.  For those who just had their floors refinished, then this is good information for you!

Each of our clients are provided with a cleaning kit, created by the best company in the industry, Bona.  The reason why we recommend this product is because of the ease of product accessibility.  You literally can find this brand at any major box store!  On top of that, Bona is an industry leader.  They produce some of the best finishes on the market.  When we apply water based finish on our customer’s floors, we use Bona!  So why not use the same brand of cleaning products!


Do not use WET mops  – Using soaking wet mops will actually damage the hardwood.  The water will seep down in the cracks, get under the hardwoods, and buckle hardwood.  It’s simple to understand – when wood receives too much water then it grows!  The hardwoods will expand and cause the boards to buckle up.

The old “vinegar & water” technique – This method of cleaning is one of the oldest ways.  It’s still controversial to-date.  Many online sources will tell you that its still ok to use.  However, on wood floors it’s not recommended anymore.  The National Wood Flooring Association even says DON’T DO IT!  Now, on the flip side, I’ve seen some our client’s floors during repeat consultations.  They mentioned that they have been using this method.  And, the floors looked amazing still.  The industry says that the acidity in the vinegar can damage the finish coat on top of your hardwoods.

Ammonia products – Using ammonia based products is terrible for the longevity of your hardwoods.  The ammonia will deteriorate the finish layer completely.  Make sure that ammonia is never in your cleaning products.

Steam cleaning – Steam cleaners are designed for carpet.  Hot steam on hardwoods are not good.  The steam will break up the finish and cause it to cloud up or even peel off.  There’s just too much bad combination going on here.  The hot part changes the temperature of the hardwoods too quickly causing the wood itself to move.  Then you are adding moisture as well, not good.  The combination of quick temperature changes and moisture just screams bad news for hardwoods.

Box store products – Many of the products sold at major box stores are not hardwood floor friendly.  Make sure to read the ingredients on the label.  Or save yourself some time and just stick with Bona.  Its on the same shelf as the others.


Takeaway:  Stick with industry leading products that are specifically designed for cleaning hardwood floors only.  Bona is that product.  Dust regularly!  Don’t use ammonia!

Can you refurbish pre-finished hardwood flooring?

Pre-finished hardwoods are not meant to last forever!  In-fact, they don’t stand up to heavy traffic like you were told in the big box store.  Pre-finished hardwoods have an aluminum oxide finish coat that’s baked on at a manufacture.  Pre-finished hardwoods are durable for some time.  Our team, has noticed over the years that pre-finished hardwoods show scratches boldly.  There’s something about pre-finished hardwoods that when they get scratched, it’s just so noticeable.  However, pre-finished hardwoods are a real solid hardwood.  Therefore, they can be sanded!  This is good news because most of the industry is installing pre-finished hardwoods nowadays.

If you are a consumer looking to purchase hard surface flooring, please consider putting down raw site-finished hardwoods.  It’s cheaper and you can have it refinished up to 5 times throughout the lifetime of the flooring.  Pre-finished hardwoods can be sanded and refinished.  We do it all the time!  Most of the pre-finished flooring has a bevel in between each board.  That bevel can be sanded flat, if you choose.  However, it requires additional sanding.  Thus, reduces the number of times that your floor can be refinished throughout the lifetime of your pre-finished hardwoods.  If you choose to leave the bevel in the floor then you will still have the opportunity to refinish your floors many more times afterwards.


That bevel we were just talking about above….ya, make sure that it never gets filled with wood putty (wood filler).  Why?  Because in a matter of 6 months, the filler will be cracking and peeling right out of it.  Then, you will have to have your floors refinished again.  Not a lot of people are aware of this trade secret.  The rule of thumb, do not fill any gap or crack in the floor that is larger than a quarter (coin).  If you can fit a quarter (coin) in the gap then it should not be filled.  This is an industry standard set by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA).  Be worried, if a contractor says that they can fill those big gaps and consider just doing board repairs or replacements.

Sanding Pre-Finished Hardwood Flooring

The sanding process is very similar to site-finished flooring.  There’s just a few extra things that must be done.  Generally, we like to cross cut on the first few rips.  This helps get the floor flatter and gets all of the oxide finish off.  Using HEPA filters on vacuums is recommended so that you don’t inhale aluminum airborne particles.  Usually after 4 passes the hardwood is ready for buffing.  We spray the entire floor with water to check for missed spots that are not detected otherwise.  This process is called water-popping and it also allows the stain to penetrate deeper into the grains of the wood flooring.

Seal and Finish

Once the floor is has been stained then its ready for sealer and finish coats.  Pre-finished hardwoods are identical to site-finished hardwoods once it’s sanded down to raw wood.  The same process from here forward as site-finished flooring.  One coat of sealer is applied.  This protects your color layer and gives the color it’s ultimate shine.  When the sealer is dry, then two coats of finish is applied.


Takeaway:  Your worn down pre-finished hardwood flooring can be refinished up to 5 times.  You can change the color of the entire floor each time that it’s completely refinished.  Leave the bevel in the floor and DO NOT have the bevel filled.  Pre-finished hardwoods show scratches more than site-finished hardwoods.