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Color Can Be Complicated!

None of our customers wants to settle for less than a beautiful floor, or they would have hired someone else. You might have an idea in your mind about what you like but don’t know exactly if or how it can be achieved.


During the estimate and throughout the project, we will be as thorough as possible to explain the natural characteristics of the wood floor you have, if we are refinishing, or the wood floor you want, if we are installing a completely new hardwood floor. That conversation includes grade (amount of color variation, knots, and other characteristics), width of plank (how wide a board is can impact perception of color), and species (what natural coloration and grain pattern are inherent to the wood itself). For example, the same color can appear differently on a 6” wide rustic grade white oak than on a 2 ¼” #1 common grade red oak or a 4” wide clear grade American cherry floor.


Color also appears differently in different areas of your home, including from the front and back of the home and in differently sized and enclosed rooms of the home. For example, color will appear different in a large great room than in a small powder room, especially if the great room faces south and has large windows and doors and the powder room is windowless. Speaking of sunlight, color appears different at different times of day, from nighttime when various lighting throughout the home is turned on to daytime when lighting may not be necessary. Even during the daytime, color is impacted by sunshine or clouds or a mixture of both.


Lighting plays a big part in the perception of color. Ambient light, can light (warm or neutral or cool), and fluorescent light all reflect differently on the same wood surface so that it can appear to be different colors.


Another color-related challenge to overcome: most men and women see color differently. Generally, women see more colors than men (women have more cones in their eyes). Some homeowners quickly agree on a color recipe but that is not the norm. Our technicians are very good at sharing the advantages and disadvantages of various colors and finishes, but they are not relationship therapists.


Customization is fine with us and, with direction from our homeowners ahead of the project, our technicians will apply up to four (2’ x 2’) color samples in an area indicated by the homeowner. We will follow our entire sanding sequence in that area, including fine-sanding and water-popping so the color will appear as it does on the finished floor (except a smaller size, of course). Prior to the project, please email or text Joni screenshots of wood floors you like FROM OUR WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA. Why? Because so many of the images online are not true representations of wood. You might be looking at vinyl and expecting us to get your red oak to look like the image. If the image comes from our website, it’s our work and we know we can duplicate it. Joni provides color direction to the lead technician on the project and we work to get color samples applied toward the start of the project so decisions can be made sooner rather than later. We are here to make our homeowners as happy as we can, with the caveat that we also have a schedule to follow, which allows plenty of time built in for color conversation.


Any delays with color selection, application of additional color samples, or a request for samples applied in additional areas of the home may be an added expense and can lead to delays with your project.


Are we overthinking this? We have heard from hundreds of clients that color selection is the most difficult part of this process. And we agree: ensuring our clients are satisfied, not simply with the technical standards we meet, but the aesthetic of the work product, is of utmost importance to us. We have worked on millions of square feet of flooring over the decades. Because we offer unique colorants and finishes as a custom wood floor contracting company, we know that don’t know: exactly how color will appear on your wood floor, in your home, during different times of the day and different seasons of the year. That might surprise you, but it’s true. Our work is a unique blend of very technical and artistic aspects and as such, we expect that our homeowners will work with us as we ask for color direction, color approval, and stop the project’s lead technician to address any questions or concerns. Delays are much easier to manage than completely resanding a floor!

This is an important investment. However, we will not apply all color possibilities. We will not make choices for you. We will explain pros and cons of various shades. We will give you time (usually more than a day) to make a decision, including time to ask questions about care and maintenance. We will request your decision in writing (usually texting us a picture of your choice). We will apply the recipe you have chosen. We will keep that recipe information in our database in case you reach out to us to add stairs or more wood flooring.

This is ultimately your home and we want to support you as you make it your own!

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