UncategorizedA Review of Dark Floors: Dark Walnut Stain and Water-based Finish January 9, 2014In our last house, we had honey-colored floors and could not wait until we refinished floors in the new house and finally got to try out some dark stain. I had seen so many gorgeous pictures of dark wood floors and was in love. Plus, our sweet Gracie is black, so her fine black hair wouldn’t show up as much on dark floors. You know, like if I forget or run out of time to vacuum every day then it won’t show. And when I say every day, I mean once every two weeks…if I’m lucky. I love Minwax products and we chose Minwax Dark Walnut. Y’all know I love colorful rugs and I love how the dark wood pops against them. Before I launch into my experience with these, please know that I still love dark wood floors and am really sad they didn’t work out well for us. Each situation is different and if you don’t have a heavy dog running around who likes to scratch for lost toys under the couch, you may not have issues with these like we did. Okay, now for our experience… Usually, when refinishing floors, you choose oil-based polyurethane to finish it out. That was the plan all along. Well, when our floor guy came to do them, he happened to see our large dog. He very quickly tried to persuade us to use a lighter stain. He said that any dog, much less a heavy one, will scratch wood floors just by living in the house. I knew this and I’m okay with a little imperfection. It looks lived in after all. But, you see the problem with scratches and dark floors? When you scratch the wood, the original color shows through. So, now you have dark wood floors with very obvious lighter wood scratches. I wasn’t budging, though, on the dark wood. I was sold. So, he suggested a water-based finish (instead of oil-based) called Traffic. He said it is basically the epoxy that gym floors use and is much stronger, so that it would hopefully prevent as many scratches from happening. It was $400 extra dollars. Our contractor said don’t go with it. He had used it before and didn’t like the finish. What do you think we did? We went with it. Naturally. I was in love with dark floors and with our dog, I really thought the more durability, the better. Well, within a few months, we realized both of them were right. Our floor guy was right about the dark floors showing scratches more…way more. It’s not something glaring that you would notice in these pictures far away, but up close and in person, you can definitely see lighter, tiny scratches. And imagine this, the scratches are the exact color of the wood in our last house! So, if we had went with that color, they never would’ve been seen. Beyond the scratches, I thought our dark floor would hide dust and dirt. They show EVERYTHING. If we mop them in the morning, Gracie runs outside in the afternoon and comes in not filthy, but even the slightest bit dusty and there are dusty paw prints everywhere. Our contractor said that darker floors would show more dirt and dust and in my head, I’m thinking, “No, a dark couch covers up stains, so it should be the same logic.” I was wrong, my friends. And our contractor was right about Traffic, water-based finish. I’m sure there is a time and a place where it is the perfect choice. But, it just has a strange finish to it. It isn’t glossy and it’s almost a bit sticky (not still wet, just tacky) and is very hard to clean. And another HUGE GLARING RED FLAG that we didn’t find out about until after we did it? You cannot have the floor guy come back and sand down and touch up random areas that got more wear. With traffic, it has to all be redone. Not so great. So, while I love the gorgeous dark wood, we quickly decided that whenever we renovate again, we will make a very different choice. I’m loving the floors in Madelynn Furlong’s Apartment from The Everygirl. And guess what? Those floors are the exact color as my scratches.