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  • Writer's pictureJoni Rocco

Refinishing Exotic Wood Floors

Do you have exotic hardwood floors in your home? Have you ever wondered if you could change the look of those floors or are you worried you’d have to completely tear them out and start all over again?

It is our goal to work with our homeowners and find the color and finish type that meets their lifestyle without removing hundreds or thousands of square feet of wood flooring. After all, solid wood flooring is the only floor covering that increases the value of your home, so why rip all of that wood out if you can achieve the look you desire without the time and financial impact of demolition and installation?

Because wood is durable and easy to clean, many homeowners select it as their floor covering of choice for high-traffic areas like entryways and kitchens. Sounds great, right? The biggest question we get from homeowners is: can we refinish your existing wood floors, or do they need to be replaced? The answer is yes, let’s refinish them for a new look! This includes exotic wood as well as domestic.

We are here to answer your questions! First, let’s break it down to the most common exotic floor species that we find in Colorado homes: Brazilian Cherry.

Brazilian Cherry is available in various widths and was a popular pick in the 90’s and early 2000s. It is a step above the standard builder-grade flooring so many semi-custom and custom homes display this hardwood species, and boy, is it hard and dense. Additionally, it tends to naturally darken over time so don’t be surprised if your floors end up darker than your initial selection. We get many calls from homeowners who are wondering if they have to tear out their entire Brazilian Cherry wood floor. They want to follow current color trends and lighten things up a bit. We hate to throw solid hardwood flooring out in any situation so, we suggest sanding and refinishing with alternative color applications like bleaches, oxidization, or aniline dyes, and low-sheen finishes. Brazilian Cherry can be dramatically changed by colorants like bleach and dye.

Another overseas product people question is bamboo. Yes, it’s an exotic...but is it hardwood? No. Bamboo is a grass that is extremely dense and if you’re interested in discussing a color change, call Joni directly to discuss your specific project requirements.

Although it’s not an exotic, most Maple is a dense hardwood that comes from up north. Maple is challenging to refinish because of its density and natural color but you don’t have to suffer with the amber color of most existing Maple floors: that’s just oil-based polyurethane which comes out of the can amber and just continues to amber over time. Maple looks beautiful with Invisible finishes that lighten it dramatically or with aniline dyes, but stains are tricky on Maple because they tend to look blotchy due to the density of the wood itself. Both Brazilian Cherry and Maple are extremely durable (almost twice as hard as Red Oak) and, regardless of color and grade/character, with a matte finish, they are very forgiving in high traffic homes. The good news is: when working with a professional, you have choices that don’t require a total floor replacement! Let’s work with what you have and NOT tear out your existing floors. New life and updated style are just a refinish away.

I still field calls from people asking if they can change the color of their wood floors. Each wood floor species is unique, and many homeowners don’t even know what they have (that’s ok too)! That's what we're here for: to answer your questions. Contact us or reach out directly to Joni, our nationally certified wood floor sales advisor.

These floors are bleached and stained Brazilian Cherry:

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