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What is a reactive? No, we aren’t talking about how I reacted to Aaron Rodgers going out in the first game of the 2018 season. I definitely reacted to that! I was like NOOOO!!! Here we go again, another year of the backup QB play. But low and behold here comes Aaron back in the second half and leads the packers to a great come from behind victory! Sorry I got a little side tracked here. Reactives, what are they and how do they affect wood flooring? Lets dive in and talk a little more about this topic.
What is a reactive, and how does it work?
Like its name suggests, reactives need something contained in the wood to react with. These naturally occurring substances in hardwood are called tannins. An interesting fact is that tannins have been used in many different industries. Originally, tannins were extracted from hardwoods and used in the tanning process of animal hides. It is also what can give wine a bitter taste as they use oak barrels to store the wine in during the fermentation process. In the hardwood industry, a reactive is a component, that when applied to a hardwood floors, reacts with the naturally occurring tannins that are present in the wood to acheive various effects.
Do they work on all wood species?
Because tannin levels in the wood determine the change in appearance when using a reactive, not all hardwoods will respond the same way. Reactives have a profound affect on hardwoods like white oak, but have very little to no affect on woods like pine or maple. However, hardwoods that have low levels of tannins can be pretreated with tannic acid, or something as simple as earl grey tea, which have high levels of tannins, so that reactives will have a greater affect on the wood.
What are the effects of reactives on hardwood?
The effects of reactives can be quite profound, especially when applying to hardwood like white oak. Tannin levels can vary board by board so there is a large range of variability even within the same species of wood. This variability will cause some pieces of wood to change to a really dark grey and yet others won’t change much at all. Other external factors that contribute to the effects of a reactive can be the soil quality in which a particular tree was grown, and also the reactive product itself. Some manufactures have their own reactive products like Rubio Monocoat’s Smoke and Fume, which each have very distinct effects. Or, using a little chemistry, we are capable of making our own reactive, namely iron acetate, using steel wool and vinegar.
Will it work on my existing floor?
Reactives can work on your existing floors, but can be greatly affected by the type of finish and cleaners that were previously used on the floor. Some finishes can neutralize the tannins in the wood, which can cause certain areas of a floor to appear splotchy. These areas will need to be touched up with some color to make them blend in. So, the overall answer is yes it will work but there are things to consider when thinking about having it done.
As you can see having us use reactives on your floor opens up many colors possibilities and layers of colors. To learn more about color possibilities you will want to go read a blog post we did on that! Read more
Have you ever noticed how changing the color of a room can drastically change the feel and appearance of that room. As a kid I remember when my mom told me that I could paint the color the wall in my room any color I wanted. I remember how exciting that was! It’s like that when you get to change the color of hardwood floor. That is one of the beauties of hardwood flooring is that no matter how old it is you can have it refinished and change the color of it. There’s many different ways and techniques that you can do to change the color of you your hardwood floors. Unlike tile, Carpet, laminate, luxury vinyl, and other hard surfaces. Hardwood is also a renewable source and we like to utilize a lot of eco-friendly green certified products to ensure that the environment and us are safe as possible. So let’s dive into a few different color topics.
How to choose the right stain colors?
So we’re gonna go over this real briefly but one of the questions is how do you choose the right stain color for the room that you want to have refinished. So a lot of it goes into a little bit deeper than just trim paint color you have to look at the choice of the stain color or the flooring color as just a small part of the over all interior feel that you want. So when we look at helping customers choose a color for their hardwood floors. we try to get a feel for what the space is going to be once it’s fully furnished. So overall you want to take the whole space Decour paint color trim crêpe Paris accent pillows all of these different things into consideration when you’re choosing the right color for your hardwood floors.
Stain samples. There’s many different ways of choosing a stain sample and here are a few of them. Having just a sample board of hardwood with the stain color on it is one option. Looking at pictures of furnished rooms with the same species of wood is another option. Stain fans which are generally a small Venere peace with the stain color on it another option is to visit house HO stain samples. There’s many different ways of choosing stain sample and here are a few of them. Having just a sample board of hardwood with the stain color on it is one option. Looking at pictures of furnished rooms with the same species of wood is another option. Stain fans which are generally a small veneer piece with the stain color on it another option is to visit house Houzz or Pinterest for stain or color ideas. We prefer to do the stain samples directly on the species of wood in your home. We found that wow the sample boards are a good idea they’re not necessarily accurate. One depending upon the species of wood you can drastically change if the floor is aged. Let’s take for example maple flooring. Depending upon the age of the maple how much sun exposure can change what the flooring looks like overtime so this can drastically change the color of the stain that is applied.
Light floors to dark?
Yes light floors can be changed to dark this generally requires a floor to be refinished but it is not something that cannot be done.
Dark floors to light?
This is a little bit more difficult depending upon the species of all the wood and how it sanded. If the floor is water popped and let’s see it’s maple sometimes the dark can penetrate very far down into the wood floor and this can require additional sanding to remove the color especially when going light.
Stain vs Natural?
There are benefits to stand or colored hardwood compared to natural. Now if you have a rustic home like a log cabin or cabin in general a natural rustic floor can look very elegant in that space. But if you have more of a colonial or a traditional type house you probably don’t want to do something rustic because that style isn’t going to fit so you could go with a little bit less lower grade of flooring and have it stained and get a really rich lock to the floor. So to stay in or keep it natural depends upon what the space looks like and the feel.
Dying a Floor
Dying a wood floor is a process of introducing a pigment that can changes the base color of the wood. It allow us to then do stain over top. This adds another depth of color and can also make certain woods be more consistent in color. Floors that don’t accept stain very well like maple and birch. Dying the floor can get it to be much more consistent in color.
Reactives are different chemicals that get applied to the floor and react in different ways with the natural tendencies of the wood. They can cause some pretty cool and dramatic effects in wood.
Changing the original color of wood can be challenging. Even if you try dye and or stain the color, if prominent can still show through strong. Like brazilian cherry, mahogany have a very strong red tone. What the bleach does is remove the color from the wood by chemical reaction. The downside to bleaching is that it does break down the wood fibers and makes the wood not as hard.
These are just a few things to consider when adding color to your wood floors. It can change a space and make it feel more inviting modern classic contemporary all of these can be achieved just by changing the color of your flooring and this is one thing that I just absolutely love about hardwood flooring and just how even after floor that’s 100 years old it can be transformed into this beautiful floor that that just sets off an old house. Or even if it’s a 10-year-old house and the floor is a little dated or you wanna update it just changing having the floor refinishing changing the color of it whether it’s a stain dies all of these different things can just drastically make the room feel so many different ways. The sky is the limit when it comes to color with your hardwood floors!
I can only imagine that everyone at some point in their life has heard the phrase “the sky is the limit.” We often use this phrase to describe endless possibilities, whether in our career field, education, technology, or our own personal development. It is a means of motivation pushing us to dream and not be satisfied with the status quo. Just as “the sky is the limit” in our personal lives, we believe that the color palette is the limit for your hardwood floors as you design the dream space you have always wanted.
There are many different ways to achieve the color or style you are looking for in your hardwood floors. If you are having a new floor installed, the type or species of wood will affect the color of the floor and will also change the way that different stain colors appear. If you are wanting to spruce up an already existing floor, our knowledgeable craftsmen can create for you a stain sample board using the same species of wood that your current floor is made of so that you know exactly what the stain will look like on your floor. And did I mention that our craftsmen also do custom mixes of stains increasing your stain and color options exponentially, helping to create that space you have always dreamed of.
If you are ready to explore all of the different options that we offer, we would be thrilled to join you in making your floor as unique as your signature. And remember, always keep dreaming, after all, the color palette might not be the limit, but rather the beginning of something extraordinary.
“Aaron from Signature Custom Flooring did a breath taking job on putting Ash hardwood floors in our kitchen and dining room and 2 hallways. We would highly recommend Aaron for any project one would have concerning hardwood flooring. He is truly Professional! What an amazing man to work with. We are overwhelmingly pleased! Thanks Signature Custom Flooring for a job well done!”
– Anna Stratton, Hartford
“After seeing the bad shape my floors were in I was doubtful they would ever look “amazing”, but Signature Custom Flooring did a fantastic job!!! I would absolutely recommend hiring Aaron. I’ll for sure recommend him to anyone that needs their floors done.”
– Robert Orde, Green Bay
“Aaron did a beautiful job on our floors. After 15 years, they were in need of refinishing. Aaron restored the original beauty of the maple floors and suggested a water-based finish instead of the oil-based. No more gold floors!!! We also appreciate that there was virtually no dust to clean up. Great job Aaron. Thank you for making our floors beautiful again.”
– Lisa Paul, Oshkosh
“Aaron is an incredibly hard worker with incredible expertise on hardwood flooring. I had NO idea the amount of information out there on species of wood, finishes, etc. and Aaron was so helpful in explaining it all and making sure we got the floor we really had cooked up in our imagination. We could not be happier! The price was great, the service was fantastic and we got exactly what we wanted. I would recommend Aaron to anyone!”
– Nicole Waltemath, Oshkosh
Learn how to maintain and protect your hardwood floor, as well as how often it should be refinished.