Do Oak Hardwood Floors Lighten with Age?

If you are considering laying oak hardwood flooring, you may have heard it lightens over time. The fact is that yes, it does. But, that might not be such a bad thing. Read on to find out more…

Why Hardwood Lightens

All hardwood floors slightly change color as the years roll on. It’s only natural though. Direct sunlight, heavy foot traffic, and general wear and tear tend to pull out some of the color of flooring.

Oak flooring lightens but perhaps not in the way you’d expect it to. It is one of the most desirable light processes of all the wood floor options. Many oak wood floors turn richer and take on a more golden appearance.

Depending on the type of oak your flooring is, the lightening of the wood is apt to take place so that the undertone is even more noticeable, such as a white oak becoming whiter or red oak appearing redder.

Living with Lightened Hardwood Flooring

As long as you realize your hardwood flooring is going to lighten, you can make it work for you. An oak floor is one that is easy to arrange for. The color will be subtle but still noticeable so be sure your appliances, furniture, and paint will go with the flow.

If you are skeptical of going with an oak wood that has a slight amber or gold cast, you might not want to lay it because that hue will come out more over time although the floor lightens. But, on the other hand, if you wish to have the hue come out more, you’re in luck.

Stained hardwood flooring retains its color longer than wood that is natural. Darker tones hold especially true to this rule. The darker the tone your wood is, the quicker it will lighten and the more obvious it will be.

If your hardwood floor is in the line of heavy traffic or is in a room that catches a lot of sunlight, you’ll notice it will lighten sooner than wood that is virtually untouched or is in a darker room. Another factor that make wood lighten faster is exposure to UV rays or lightbulb light. But don’t worry, the lightening is often very desirable, especially if you plan for the changes.

There are some hardwood floors that darken with age. Some is attributed to the oils within the woods that come to the surface with foot traffic or exposure to the elements. Oak is not one that darkens though.

Northernest Flooring: Click - Engineered Red Oak Collection

Know Before You Go

As long as you are aware that lightening of your wood flooring will take place, you can plan accordingly. If possible, lighten a sample of oak flooring when you put it up against your furniture, paint, or whatever will be in the room with it. In order to do that, you can use some lemon juice and rub on so that it visibly lightens. This sample will give you a good idea of what the lighter shade will look like.

You’ll have your oak hardwood flooring for years to come so do be sure you know before you go and choose a shade of wood that’s a little darker than you want it to end up as.

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