What It Takes To Modernize Your Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring

Posted by Aaron Schaalma

Mahogany modern color after stain

Looking back at the early 2000's, people absolutely loved the Brazilian Red Cherry color options along with similar red toned hardwood floors.

In this brief guide we’ll look at some of the more modern stain options and tips for Brazilian Red Cherry hardwood floors, Red Oak floor stain options and for refinishing American Cherry floors.


  1. Are Red Floors Out of Style?
  2. Modern Brazilian Cherry Floor Stain Options
  3. Modern American Cherry Floor Stain Options
  4. Conclusion

Are Red Floors Out of Style?

red toned wood floor before

So like I said, back a decade or so ago tons of people wanted and did end up with either Brazilian Cherry, American Cherry or perhaps Red Oak hardwood floors.

It could be that your kitchen has changed, and your furniture or cabinetry simply doesn’t jive with the red tone floor you used to love. Maybe you decided that your solid hardwood flooring now needs to complement all the furniture etc. in your home.

Whatever the reason now, these types of floors used to be popular because of the rich red tones and the traditional, high-end aesthetic.


Lighter Gray Tones Are In Vogue

Well now folks here in Wisconsin (and beyond Wisconsin it seems) want to change the intense red tones that inevitably come out over time. The trend now is going toward neutrals or lighter greys.

It makes me think that this shift could be in part due to luxury vinyls and lighter gray walls in homes that have now become in vogue. So this means styles and tastes for hardwood floors are following suit. Looking for some peace of mind?

New Styles Means Modernized Floors

red toned wood floor after

The problem now is that people have these expensive hardwood floors. People are thinking, gosh, they’re just a bit too (or way too!) red now.

Brazilian and American Cherry are higher end products, so naturally we don’t want to rip them out and replace them with completely new wood floors. We probably like the look and feel of this hardwood, but the color needs to be refreshed and modernized, or just match the new furniture or walls of your house.

Instead of replacing the floors, we can change the color to lighter tones. Customizable options are available for different types of solid hardwood and textured floors.

The reality is however, that most contractors don’t want to go through the arduous process of changing the colors of floors.

Brazilian Cherry Red Stain Options

Many of us might be wondering how to remove the intense red in Brazilian cherry hardwood.

Maybe you want a one-of-a-kind custom color such as a grey? Or in this case you can go lighter with the stain or refinish. The lighter stain options largely depend on how much of the red tone we want to eliminate.

Below are three methods.

1. How To Tone Down Red Tones In Brazilian Cherry Using Traditional Film Finish

This is a one step process if you’re not interested in cooling done to a white color.

If you want to only slightly tone down the red tone and go the traditional route of using a film finish, consider this option.

First, it’s always important to know which products to use.

I’ve used a water-based stain which includes a pigment in the top coat. It has a stain and dye agent all in one which will lessen the red tones.

Note: Something important to consider is using water based stains that have dyes mixed in - Although the red tones will be cooled down, don’t be surprised if some degree of red hue reappears. This is because if the wood is natural, well - it naturally changes over time.

2. Use Special Bleach On Your Brazilian Red Cherry

This method of bleaching removes pigment from the surface. Now of course this depends on the strength of the bleaching.

1 to 2 bleaches generally takes care of the job to remove the color, but don’t forget that we also need to add the pigment back in to tone down the color. Otherwise you will still bring back the natural red tones.

Bleaching is an intense process so be careful. What I do is take off the entire base so we don’t get any bleach on there.

The bleach I use isn’t normal bleach - it’s called A-B bleach. It’s not cheap because of all the hazardous chemicals and special shipping it requires.

Allow for 20 minutes in between bleaches. The second bleaching needs to be stronger on top of the first. Make sure there isn’t too much pooling since bleach breaks down the cells of the wood. After the second bleaching it needs another 24 hours to sit. Then the whole floor needs to be washed which neutralizes the wood. This pulls up any of the bleach.

Finally you can add hardwax oil like Rubio, impact oil or even vesting LED oils. These are all products that I use and recommend.

3. Dye Or PreTone for White or Light Gray Option

We can use dye or PreTone (made by Loba). It’s not water soluble so if water spills the wood won’t reactivate the red color.

Then apply the PreTone on top and allow it to sit overnight. Come back in the next day and buff the floor along with adding any oil or stain.

If you add a film finish on top then that involves more steps like sealer that blocks any tannins or that’s going to pull any color from underneath.

Brazilian Cherry Before

(before staining Brazilian Red Cherry)

Brazilian red cherry after stain

(after staining Brazilian Red Cherry)

Modern American Cherry Floor Examples

Are you ready to create a lighter finish for American Cherry hardwood floors? Maybe you're looking for an exotic hardwood flooring option with beautiful color variations.

For this project I decided to do a double bleach with a PreColor over top and finally a white oil to achieve a lighter American Cherry.

American cherry before

American cherry during

American cherry after


Many contractors won’t deal with more costly and challenging projects like this, but then there are floor artisans who gladly embrace this type of work. Looking for a time sensitive solution at a competitive price?

We’ve also done red mahogany to a cooler brown color, but transforming any red toned floor takes a lot of skill and techniques which were laid out in this article in general terms.

Contact us by filling out a form or call us to discuss what can be done with your red floors - (920) 279-7871.