When selecting a stain color, print or digital stain charts are a good place to start; however, these charts do not accurately represent stain colors. Differences in lighting, computer screens, wood types, and application methods, among other factors, can cause big differences in how a stain will look from one floor to another.
Water-popping is a common technique used when staining wood floors. Water-popping is the process of adding a small amount of water to the wood in order to open the grain. Once the grain is open, the wood will accept more stain causing a darker stain color. Water-popped floors also mask some imperfections created in the sanding process.
We recommend always sanding a patch and testing stain colors on your floor to ensure the right color is chosen. Stain samples should use a similar sanding sequence as will be used when the entire floor is stained as this can greatly affect how a stain looks. Differing amounts of stain will soak into the floor if the final cut is done with 80 grit as opposed to 120 grit sandpaper.
The below color charts are provided as a starting point for selecting a stain color. Our showroom has a samples rack with every stain color that we sell on white oak and red oak, water-popped and not water-popped. Showroom appointments can be scheduled here.