best stain color for red oak

Best Red Oak Floor Stain Colors

Oak is a beautiful wood and has many different hues of red and brown that can be stained to create a unique and personal look. The best stain for these floors is usually a dark red, but other colors can be used!

Oak hardwood floors are among the most popular types of hardwood flooring on the market today because they’re durable, aesthetically pleasing, and versatile. There are so many oak floor stains on the market it’s challenging to decide which shade will match your home’s other colors.

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What color stain to use on oak hardwood floors.

Oak is a beautiful wood and has many different hues of red and brown that can be stained to create a unique and personal look. The best stain for these floors is usually a dark red, but other colors can be used!

The best stain for oak hardwood floors depends on their color when you choose your floor. If you’re planning on getting a hardwood floor that’s already been stained, the best stain color for red oak depends on the variation of brown your floors are.
For instance, dark walnut can create a stunning contrast with a deep richness if they’re more reddish-brown. However, if they’re more golden in color, then a lighter stain works best, like a cherry.

Pergo flooring that’s been stained dark brown or black needs to be redone with the same color, or it will create an odd contrast between old and new hardwood floors.

Tips for Deciding on Color

best stain for red oak floors

A good tip you can use when deciding what stain color to choose for your hardwood floors is by selecting a stop in-between the color your hardwood floors are now and the color you want them to be. For instance, if your hardwood flooring is slightly darker than what you want it to be, use a stain that’s just a bit lighter than what you’re going for because it will get darker as time passes.

If your oak floors have been stained a medium brown or even chestnut color, the best stain color for red oak is one shade lighter.

As they age, standard cleaning and polishing of your hardwood floors will cause them to get darker over time; therefore, using a lighter stain creates a contrast that brings out their beauty.

Visit a Store for Guidance

If you’re worried about choosing the best stain color for red oak, the best thing you can do is visit a hardwood flooring store and ask them what color stain they recommend. They’re experienced at matching stains to specific wood floors and know which colors blend well together.


Dura Seal Quick Coat Penetrating Finish - Antique Brown

This is the stain that most bloggers are telling their readers to use.
DuraSeal Quick Coat Penetrating Finish provides rich color and exceptional durability in a coatable and sealable formulation. It can maintain antique floors or on bare wood surfaces, with an optional topcoat after two hours. DuraSeal is available in a rainbow of colors that will match any decor style and many colors certified by Minwax for easy color matching.

This product is ideal for use, whether it’s new construction or upkeep; DuraSeal has got you covered!

ZAR 12812 Wood Stain, Early American

This is a superior quality wood stain that goes on evenly. ZAR 12812 Early American Wood Stain can be used to cover furniture and panels in rich, even color to create the look of an old-world finish. Producing smooth, uniform color with an antique patina for cabinets, paneling, unfinished furniture, or previously varnished surfaces. Manufacturers recommend it for fiberglass or steel doors. Quickly dries within 3 hours and then washes off hands easily without streaks or oily residue- you can use your fingers to wipe off any excess product from your surface after it has dried!

Minwax 71040000 Finish Penetrating Interior Wood Stain, Gallon, Red Oak

Minwax Wood Finish provides the beautiful color of Minwax Oil Finish in a single coat that dries faster than ever before. This penetrating oil-based stain enhances the natural wood grain with a deep natural look and feel. In just two hours, you can reform your project from an enigma into something truly spectacular.

ZAR Oil-Based Wood Stain, 170 Silk Gray, Half-Pint

For a timeless, sleek grey that reflects the quirks of nature. The Silk Gray stain from ZAR Wood Stains is excellent for wrought iron fences and wood sheds alike. Our low VOC formula can be applied over bare or previously finished wood surfaces without concern about splotches or run-offs, and you’ll get 3200 square feet coverage per gallon! Whether you need to give your furniture some color or accent your fence with our luxurious gray finish, the ZAR Oil-Based Stain will provide you with impeccable results every time.

Should I Stain my Floors?

Two types of stains can be applied to wood floors. The sealant will only protect the floor and prevent moisture from entering, and there is a color stain that will add color to the floor.
The beauty of stained hardwood floors is in their variety of colors, patterns, and textures. The best color for oak hardwood floors is usually dark red, but you can also choose darker browns or mahogany.

Most people find that staining their hardwood floors will make them more unique and stand out from the other houses in the neighborhood.

It is vital to decide whether or not you want a colored stain before purchasing your stain and wood flooring because it is challenging to match colors after they have been applied.

So the first decision to make is whether you should even consider adding color to your floor or if it should be kept in its natural state once it has been sanded back.

What wood do you have?

If you have exotic, unusual, or unique wood floors, such as mahogany, cherry, rosewood, walnut, ancient pine, or even maple, we strongly advise against staining it.

They already look great in their natural state!

Most people stain their floors to make them look like the fantastic flooring you see on Pinterest. But you’re already ahead of the game if you have this type of naturally attractive hardwood floor in your home.

Oak Floors

However, you may have a more common type of wood, such as red or white oak.
Oak floors can look great left their natural color.

Red Oak Flooring

You might think that all oak looks the same when it comes to coloring, but each oak species has different characteristics. Red oak is known for being richly textured with deep reddish tones throughout the grain. It’s often used for furniture making and cabinetry due to its durability and strength. They look fabulously stained in darker colors.

Red Oak White Oak Flooring

White oak is another popular choice among homeowners who prefer traditional styles. Its light-colored appearance gives off a warm feeling while still maintaining a classic appeal. This type of oak is commonly found in homes where families spend most of their time indoors.

Golden Oak

Another option is golden oak. Golden oak is similar to white oak, except it tends to appear lighter than white oak. It’s typically less expensive than white oak, so it’s perfect for those looking for something affordable yet beautiful.

What Wood floor stain color should I go with?

When it comes to refinishing your hardwood floors, this can be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll have to make. But there are some beautiful color choices out now for all types of wood surfaces.

Walnut and Chestnut, for example, give a delightful, cozy impact in a home and are a very safe pick.

Lighter shades like Cherry and Golden Oak will accent the natural grains and beauty while still giving it some depth and color.

You’re well on your way to finding the appropriate stain for your hardwood floors if you’ve reduced your options down to two or three colors.

Should I Go For a Light or Dark Stain or Something In Between?

This will be determined by the style you desire in your home.

You must choose something you like, and that will complement your decor in the long run.

Whether you prefer dark or light floors, red hues, grey or brown, or any shade in between, you will have no trouble selecting a color that complements your home well. If you can’t locate the right hue in a tin, see if your local store will custom mix it for you.

Grey Hardwood Floor Color

If you want a lighter-colored hardwood floor but still want some depth, then try a classic Grey option. This is a great choice when trying to match a darker room with a lighter-colored hardwood floor.

The difference here is that if you used a very pale yellowish-grey stain, it would give off a nice warm glow. Add a small amount of black dye to the mixture to give it a bit more contrast.

General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain in Graphite

General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Pint, graphite. Conversion to water base means no more worrying about hard-to-reach nooks and crannies that may be covered in alcohol or linseed oil – you can spread the product without issue.

Staining Oak Floors

When deciding how much stain to use, remember that too little stain could result in a dull finish. Too much stain can cause the wood to become splotchy looking. You’ll need to experiment until you get the right amount of stain required to achieve the desired effect.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect amount of stain, apply it using a clean rag or sponge mop. Always apply by following the wood grain.

Be sure to work slowly, so you don’t miss any spots. Let dry completely before moving furniture over the top. If possible, wait at least 24 hours between applying multiple coats of stain.

Once the final coat of stain dries, buff away excess dust by wiping down the surface with a soft cloth. Use a tack cloth to remove dirt and debris trapped under the finish.

To protect your new beautiful oak floors, a sealant is recommended every few years. Sealants are available in both oil-based and water-based formulas. Oil-based products will provide better protection than water-based products. Once again, test out several samples of the product to find one that works best for you.

To keep your newly stained floors protected from moisture, placemats underneath heavy objects. Also, avoid walking barefoot across freshly painted surfaces.

How To Stain Red Oak To Look like White Oak

It is achievable to have a White Oak look from Red Oak flooring. It will take a bit more elbow grease to get this effect. But I’d tell you to be kind to yourself and choose a rich color, such as dark colors so that you can get a rich brown tone.


  1. Remove old wax/oil finishes
  2. Clean the area thoroughly
  3. Apply an appropriate primer
  4. Apply two thin layers of paint stripper
  5. Wait 10 minutes after application of the second layer
  6. Apply three thin layers of your perfect color of stain
  7. Allow cure overnight
  8. Sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper
  9. Buff with 100% cotton wool pad
  10. Repeat steps 4 through 8 as necessary


How do you make red oak floors look modern?

The red tones of Red Oak hardwood can be balanced with white or grey painted walls, or if in a kitchen, use those colors on the cabinetry.

Is red oak flooring out of style?

Red oak is quickly returning because of new products to elevate the beautiful grain and due to people wanting a darker flooring to add depth to their homes.