Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Maple Flooring...what do you think?





I love maple flooring. It is a very hard species (see basketball courts and bowling alleys) and I think it also a very beautiful species. In my years in the flooring business, I have seen, worked on, and installed many maple floors. The critics of maple flooring typically say that it is too light in color, or that the floor shows too many gaps. I'll speak to both of those points specifically...and then let you decide if maple is good fit for your home or business.
The natural color of maple flooring is something you are either going to like or dislike; so this is a matter of preference. I do meet people that think they are stuck with whatever color it is, and don't like it; in which case I advise them that there are options. First, a natural maple floor finished with water-based finish is going to look a lot different than a maple floor that is finished with an oil-based finish (see pics below). Secondly, a maple floor, if properly sanded and conditioned, can take a stain and look absolutley stunning (picture top left and another stained maple floor below). That said, many flooring contractors will say they can stain maple and then proceed to do a horrible job. There are also contractors that will say that you just simply can't stain maple floors.
Choosing a compitent flooring contractor is a whole different topic, but trust me, there are floor sanders in every market that can and do stain maple correctly. If you are outside of the Denver Metro area and ProWorks Flooring is not an option, I would definately have any contractor who says he/she can stain maple, provide references and pictures.
The reason why staining maple is so hard is because the wood is very dense, thus making it difficult for the wood to absorb stain. We use special techniques to sand and then condition a maple floor that is different than when we stain oak.
With regard to gaps in the floor, this is typical of any hardwood, but often more noticeable with maple. Maple, being a very hard wood, is less stable than oak; meaning that it will expand and contract more than oak with changes in relative humidity...not much, but enough to notice. Also, especially when it is finished naturally with water-based finish, maple is very light in color; almost white. Thus the gaps, which appear black, will contrast more than they would on a darker floor and appear more obvious.
If the thought of gaps is bothersome, I would recommend staining the floor a darker color. Or, you may try installing and running a humidifier (and or de-humidifier depending on where you live) to keep humidity levels in the home as close to 40% as possible. If you can maintain close to 40% humidity year round, the wood will be remain stable, greatly reducing its tendency to expand and contract.
The basketball court shows maple with oil-based finish. The kitchen shows maple with a water-based finish. The last picture (and the one up top) show maple with different stains.

31 comments:

  1. stain looks nice on that maple floor,i was hoping you tell as the secret...

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  2. Perfect combination. Good looking floor.

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  3. It look great for your Hardwood flooring and special nuance in that room

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  4. So glad I found your blog. I'm getting ready to do some hardwood flooring in Calgary this winter and I'll be looking to your blog for tips and whatnot.

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  5. I would love to have some flooring like this in my home. I don't think that I have seen a maple floor in person before. If I ever get new flooring, then I think that I will go for something like this.

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  6. I found awesome idea in this blog,please visit vastern.co.uk for more information.

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  7. Good combination and choice, maple is know for its sturdiness as a hardwood. Floor repair uses that in their repairing.

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  9. Before reaching here I had never heard about Maple flooring, I have heard about wood and hardwood flooring but "Maple flooring" I didn't have any idea about it but Thanks to you for giving us such nice and very helpful post, I would like to share with my other friends. Its really awesome and very informative.
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  10. You have made really so unique and informative post and At one time, maple hardwood floors were an essential part of everyday American life. So This is really nice post. Thanks for sharing such a nice and very informative post.
    Hardwood Flooring in Calgary

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  11. I prefer more on natural elements when putting up a home like the maple bamboo flooring

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  12. Realy nice blog about hardwood flooring along with nice post.
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  13. Can you recommend anyone in the Boston area to stain yellowy maple floors a dark dark brown???

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    Replies
    1. Did you find anyone? We are looking to redo our yellow/white faded maple wood floors and live just outside of Boston. Thanks!

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    2. Dito... I'm looking in the Boston area for the same. A few recommendations would be great.

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    3. Dito... I'm looking in the Boston area for the same. A few recommendations would be great.

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  14. Wow, that floor is fantastic. It looks so dang sexy. Nice.

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  15. Unbelievable transformation of wooden flooring. Lovely. Thanks for sharing this post. i found the same design of wooden flooring from Justwood

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  16. I like wooden flooring but maple flooring is new concept but i want to use once & for that i need some help of you.

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  17. Nice blog post. If you click on the following link you'll find Hardwood Flooring Discounts on top name brand hardwood floors.

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  18. With regard to spaces from the flooring, this is common involving any kind of wood floor, but usually much more obvious having walnut.

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  19. Helpful blog post.This Hardwood Floor is an all around winner.

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  20. I love the tone of the Maple Flooring. It is sort of like a syrup gold. the most striking thing about it is how it hold the reflection of the outside so well in that first picture. You can almost see what it looks like outside by looking at the reflection.
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  21. Thank you so very much for providing great information. I have been impressed from this source. http://www.floorcreteinc.com/

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  22. Total newbie and DIY'er here sharing my $0.02 on staining maple dark. Here's the short version: use gel stain!

    I recently embarked on my first flooring sand and refinish job after I tore up some vinyl and found maple underneath in my kitchen. My plan was to go dark, but as I researched and read more and more on how to stain maple dark, I became dismayed: it seemed like the entire internet was telling me it was impossible to stain maple dark successfully.

    I decided to go against the online hardwood flooring forum hive mind and give it a shot. I am extremely happy with my results, and here's how I did it.

    * Sanded using 24, 36, 80, 100 grit paper. I had to go through some glue and self leveling compound, which is why I started so low.
    * Water popped the wood to raise the grain. I think the raised grain helped the wood grab onto more pigment (especially given my choice in stain which I'll get to). Just a hypothesis, I don't actually know if that's true. I did do test strips with both popped and not-popped and the difference was dramatic.
    * GEL STAIN. Gel stain, gel stain, gel stain. Old Masters dark walnut gel stain to be exact: http://www.amazon.com/Old-Masters-80708-Stain-Walnut/dp/B000I1AP1K From what I've read, gel stain sort of paints on top of the wood, and doesn't penetrate it as much. I found that when I tried test strips using conventional stain, some spots on my board would soak it up like crazy, and other spots looked almost unstained. The gel stain however, went on much more evenly, and I found it to be very forgiving. The gel certainly seemed like the most important piece of this puzzle.

    Here's a picture of the finished product with 2 coats of oil based polyurethane. http://imgur.com/gallery/mLO1OMD/

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. Amazing blog! I had planned for hardwood flooring installation along with stainig is the best idea.. Thanks for the post!!

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  25. This is the most helpful blog I could find regarding staining maple floors. I have floors like the basketball floors shown here and would like something more subdude like the kitchen floors shown here. Thank you so much for the great info.

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  27. can maple floors take a white stain?

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  28. I am happy to find this post Very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I Always prefer to read The Quality and glad I found this thing in you post. Thanks
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