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