April 6, 2012

New Kitchen Floor: A Scary Decision

In my last kitchen remodel post I showed you the newly installed floor. Dan had to go out over the road right after we got it down, so the next steps had to wait, the next steps being staining and then applying a polyurethane finish.

Color of course, is a subjective preference. In my mind's eye, my new kitchen had dark floors. The original ceramic tile (besides missing grout and being badly cracked, photo click here) was light in color and showed every spill and speck of dirt. The hardwood underneath was dark, but in very bad shape (photos & problems here.) The new pine plank floor, in it's natural state was light, and looked clean and bright on the floor. Problem was, neither Dan nor I liked it that way. To stain it darker though, is one of those decisions we were hesitant about. Paint is one thing, it's color can be changed if it doesn't work out. Stain cannot.

Still, my kitchen wanted those darker floors. This is odd for me because I'm all about light, though I admit the solid white kitchen we started with (photos here) annoyed me, because I'm all about color too. The problem is that a dark surface absorbs light, especially a dark non-reflective surface. Dark is also said to give the illusion of smaller, while white expands, but good grief my kitchen is really small no matter what. No sense trying to pretend it's not. What I noticed in the hundreds of model kitchen photos I looked at, was that the "success" of dark cabinets and floors, was based on their finish. Those with a flat finish appeared dark and close and I didn't like them. Those with a glossier finish worked for me, because they reflected light, brightening up the kitchen tremendously, while still giving the "look" I was going for.

So here's the stain job, a view from the back door ....

We were really happy with it when we were done. I love how it "aged" the floor, giving it the rustic old farmhouse look we were going for.

I did not get any photos of the process, because it took the two of us working in a coordinated and timely manner. Dan applied the stain and I wiped up the excess. Since we managed this floor is warm weather, it didn't take all that long to dry, unlike the dining/living room floors, which took forever to dry in December!

Next step, applying the polyurethane (click here to go to that post). Doing the floor seems like a turning point. The last of the old will be gone, and the rest of the new can now commence.


  1. Leigh, it is just gorgeous! I am taking notes because my new kitchen needs a new floor, too. Love the stain.

  2. Leigh,
    You and Dan did a great job! What's to worry, I knew that you would get it right and the new floor is just what it should be! Great color and when you take the cover off the cook stove it will look like it has been there for years!
    When you have the "Grand Opening, I want to be there to see you cut the ribbon!!

  3. Nice, I like it...well done.

  4. simply beautiful! Great stain choice, I love dark wood too.

  5. Two thumbs up. I like the farmhouse look.

  6. Y'all are just moving right along! I can't wait to see the finished room!

  7. Lovely Leigh, and quite in keeping with the rest of the kitchen. Happy polyurethaning! ;)

  8. Hard work paying off big time.

  9. Risa, thanks! I'm relieved it turned out so well.

    Grace, oh you're in for an experience! Lots of choices though.

    Rosalyn, thank you!

    Tom, I'm thinking the same thing about the cookstove. I have to confess that our "grand opening" still seems light years away!

    Stephen, thank you!

    Christina, it was a relief that it turned out so well. I always worry that reality won't match the image in my head!

    Doug, thanks! I'm thankful we're achieving what we're going for!

    Michelle, me too. :)

    Theresa, we got the first coat of poly down today. We had hoped to get more than one coat done, but it's taking forever to dry. Oh well. :)

    Rob, it always does. :)

  10. So very attractive! Good choice of the color of stain. Ventilate well and wear a good respirator mask when you're doing the polying. That stuff is not good for lungs!

  11. I like that floor. Very farmhouse.

  12. Gorgeous! Now when do you start on mine??? :)

  13. I like lighter timber floors, but you're right - dirt and stains are much more visible on them! and esp. the kitchen has to be not only pretty, but also practical... though I had to laugh, when I read that you have a small kitchen! it's huge compared to mine:)) but anyway, we make do with what we have - enjoy yours, once you're done - and happy easter to the both of you!

  14. Mama Pea, yes, we're discovering that the poly stinks. Only one coat so far and it's taking forever to dry.

    Serenity, thanks!

    FFG, LOL. Dan has sworn off floors. :)

    Bettina, yes, it's all relative! It is a bigger kitchen than the one I had in the apartment. The challenge is the placement of the 3 doors and 2 windows. Not many choices about where things can go, but I'm happy with it. :)

    Nancy, thanks!

  15. Dark looks better than light from here! I think you'll love it!

  16. So pretty Leigh! Well done to both of you :)

  17. So very pretty! I just love it. Our's is much lighter and I like your's a lot better but sure can't afford to change it now.

  18. Gorgeous! It does have that old farmhouse look and feel to it, absolutely perfect!

  19. Jody, I think so too and confess I'm relieved!

    Stephanie, thanks!

    MTS&M, I only hope the finish turns out so well.

    Barb, thanks, and I wouldn't want to have to change it either. Of course, it's about as dark as I'd want to get. :)

    Renee, thanks!

    Janice, thank you. I'm happy it's turning out so well. Can't wait to get the whole project done once and for all.

  20. Absolutely lovely! All this hard work is definitely paying off.

  21. love... the new floor is gorgeous..

  22. Well done, you! Great job!
    I moved from Ill. to New Hampshire alone and rehabbed an 18thc. cape for years by myself.
    You may like to visit me as well~



  23. It feels good to see the reflection of the sun shining bright on the floor after cleaning it. It washes away one's exhaustion after a long day at work. Good job, Leigh! What version of polyurethane did you use? My advice for you is to use water-based polyurethane versions because they dry quicker than oil-based versions.


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