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Natural white oak flooring stained yellow/orange - can it be 'fixed'?

2 years ago

I recently hired a highly ranked flooring company to finish my newly installed unfinished white oak floor planks and stair treads. I told the company numerous times that I wanted a water-based matte finish on the oak just to keep it natural and protect it from damage -- I was very fearful of any yellowing and wanted to leave it its natural white oak color. The owner of the company convinced me that a water-based coat would not protect the floor and to trust him, oil is what the floor needed and not to worry about yellowing because if it did happen it wouldn't be for at least fifteen to twenty years. He splashed a little water on the oak to show me what it would look like when finished and left me to "think about it overnight". The next day when he arrived I again told him I was nervous about the oak becoming yellow, which I repeated at least a dozen times during the two days of the floor finishing process -- I was very clear about my fear of a yellowish finish and very clear about wanting to keep the oak its natural white color and believed we should use a water-based, not an oil-based, finish. He told me I was second guessing myself (?) and that again I should trust him -- he stated that his ratings were high because of his ability to read people well, that he could see where I was going with my renovations and knew what I wanted. I think at this point I should have asked him to leave but instead I trusted him. Lots of excuses later.... "your white oak planks had red in them, you should paint your walls white to lighten the floor, more windows would help (I have an open floor plan with large windows and a wall of glass doors), and the very noticeable top layer of brush strokes and sheen changes are from the HD matte finish that you wanted" etc. Photos below show how my once beautifully white oak planks look today....

I'm very anxious about having him back to 'fix' the problem because (too late) I truly don't trust him. This is an extremely costly error, not just monetarily but visually from a design perspective as well and I'm not sure it can be fixed. Obviously I wasn't diligent enough in researching how to keep white oak natural, and even less diligent in hiring a knowledgeable company that would take careful attention with beautiful wide white oak planks. I'm very angry with myself and would advise others to go beyond online research if possible... call prior customers at a minimum and know that five star rankings mean very little without solid knowledge. These photos really don't show how 'yellow/orange' the floor truly is.... any suggestions and/or recommendations on how to get the natural white oak back to its former beauty would be greatly appreciated. The orange/amber/yellow color is not yet a week old, appears to be getting a bit darker every day, and clashes terribly with our modern beach style renovation. We are finishing a complete remodel including the removal of many walls which has given our home a bright and open feel but with the new amber coloring of the white oak flooring in the dining room and on the stair treads the entire area looks so much darker. Finishing the oak flooring was planned as one of my last items to complete because of the importance of the white oak planks in the overall design. I am very saddened by the color and would be thankful for any advice.

Just a note -- all of the columns, baseboards, and the stair risers will be painted white and I have not made a decision on the look for the stair rails yet....

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