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Can You Change Hardwood Floor Color?

If like most people, you want to know if you can change the hardwood floor color in your home, this post is for you.  The answer is yes. You can change the color of your hardwood floor. You can change the color to a darker or lighter color tone or any other color tone.  There are different options available for you to go about this. The most popular option when it comes to changing hardwood floor color is the sanding and refinishing option.

This post will outline all options available to you when it comes to changing the  hardwood floor color and how to go about them. Also, details on the cost of each will be outlined within the post.

Options for Changing Color of Hardwood Floor

There are three main options available when it comes to change of hardwood floor colors

  • Sanding and Refinishing
  • Whitewashing
  • Glazing or Coating

i. Sanding and Refinishing

This is one of the popular methods available to change the color of your hardwood floor. You can sand your hardwood floor as many times as you want as long as the flooring is made from solid hardwood. Note that the sanding method is not advisable if your hardwood floor is very old. The best option for an old hardwood floor is a replacement. Anyway, it takes a long time for a solid hardwood floor to get very old and worn out. Also, you can refinish a solid hardwood.

The exception is if the hardwood is engineered hardwood. In such a case, it may not be advisable to refinish an engineered hardwood flooring. The sanding and refinishing process in a nutshell involve sanding the floor first. You follow it up by staining with a different color. If you like the natural color of the hardwood, you can skip the staining process to retain the color.

How To Sand and Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself.

Step 1. Sanding

The first step is to sand the hardwood. You do this using a sanding machine (Amazon Link). It is recommended you do the sanding process multiple times. For each time, you try with finer grits. The grits will depend on the type of hardwood you are working on. After the sanding process, your hardwood will look like a new hardwood. Also, the sanding process helps to smooth out the wood and help it absolve stains properly.

Step 2. Stain the Hardwood

As mentioned earlier, if you prefer the original color of your hardwood, you can skip this step. You only do this when you want to change the color of your hardwood. The stain tone depends totally on your choice. But there are dark stains, light stains, and red stain tones. When choosing a stain, you have to consider factors like the age and grade of your hardwood. These are the following Stain options available to pick from

  • Red Stain Tone: Sedona red, Red Mahogany, or Mesquite Red.
  • Dark Stain Tone: Royal Mahogany, Jacobean, or Ebony.
  • Light Stain Tone: Golden Pecan, or Golden Oak.

Before you start the process, it is best to test the stain on a small corner of the floor. This is to ensure that your hardwood accepts the stain in question. After you confirm this, you can proceed to stain the remaining areas.

Step 3. Add Polyurethane

The final step in the process is to add polyurethane. You may have to add two to three coats to get the desired effect.  If you are using oil-based polyurethane, it is recommended you allow 24 hours between each coat to dry. This helps the hardwood absorb the polyurethane better. When it comes to finish, you have the option to choose between glossy, matte, satin, and semi-gloss. Most experts recommend using Satin finish because it helps to cover up scratches.

ii. Whitewashing

Whitewashing is another option you have when it comes to changing the color of your hardwood floor. Whitewashing is also known as bleaching. It is best if you want to achieve a lighter color tone on your hardwood. Whitewashing a dark hardwood floor may give it a muddy, brownish or grey color which you may end up hating.

It is best to point out that you don’t use paint to whitewash a hardwood floor. This is one major mistake most people make, even some professionals. You may end up damaging your hardwood permanently when you do this. Most people prefer the matte finish because it is easy to maintain and leaves a contemporary look.

iii. Add Coat or Glaze

The Glazing and coating method works best if you want to achieve a darker color tone on your hardwood. The con of using the coating method is that the coat can wear off quickly. This brings out the original hardwood color with time. So this method is considered a temporary solution. Also, it may leave an uneven color patch on your hardwood. So, if you must use this method, consider it a temporary method before going for a permanent option like Sanding and refinishing.

Cost of Changing Hardwood Floor Color

This amount you spend depends on factors like the area you wish to cover and the method you opt for. For instance, if you opt to refinish a 300 square feet yourself, it may cost from $500 to $700.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to refinish or replace hardwood floors?

It is cheaper to refinish a hardwood floor than to change the floor. First, you can do the refinishing process yourself and save money. Also, for replacement, you will have to purchase additional solid hardwoods which can be expensive.

Can I refinish my own hardwood floors?

Yes. You can refinish your hardwood floor. It is cheaper to handle the process yourself. Unlike what most people think, the process is easy, even for a newbie.

How much does it cost to refinish $1000 square feet of hardwood floors?

It will cost you from $2000 to $2700 to refinish 1000 square feet of hardwood space. It may cost more or less depending on the product you opt for and who handles the job. Below is a breakdown of the cost for refinishing

  • 100 – 250 sq. ft          $500
  • 251 – 500 sq. ft          $800
  • 501 – 750 sq. ft          $1,650
  • 751 – 1000 sq. ft         $2000 and above.

Can you restain hardwood floors without sanding?

Yes. You can restain or refinish a hardwood floor without sanding. The process is called a screen and recoat.

How Do You Make Old Hardwood Floors Look New?

There are different options when it comes to making old hardwood floors look new. You can use the Sanding and Refinishing, Whitewashing, or Glazing or Coating methods to achieve this.


So far, this article has covered the different options available when it comes to changing the color of a hardwood floor. As mentioned earlier, the coating and glazing method should be considered a temporary method. Meanwhile, the Sanding and Refinishing methods are trusted to give a more lasting effect.

Also, the cost of refinishing hardwood floor has been outlined in detail. Remember that there are factors that affect this cost.

If you have tried any other method that works for you, please include in the comment section to help other readers.