My Finished Hallway Floor (Color Match New Hardwood Flooring To Match Original Flooring)

As you know, my attempt last week to finish the hardwood flooring in the hallways was a disastrous fail. It didn’t dawn on me that the hardwood flooring in my house may have changed color just a bit over the years, so instead of color matching the new floor to the old floor, I just ploughed forward through the project using the exact same process, products, and colors that I used when I refinished the floor a few years ago. That resulted in this catastrophe.

refinishing the hallway red oak hardwood floor - 12

If you want to read more about my stubbornness and determination to push forward even though my eyes could see that things weren’t working out with every new step, you can read that here…

Hallway Flooring Progress (And Disaster)

So this past weekend, I had to correct that awful mess. It took hours of sanding (more on that in a minute) and some careful color matching, but it worked out great this time. Here’s the floor as it looks this morning…

refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 10

Isn’t that so much better?! It’s not perfect (it was never going to be perfect with a brand new finish next to a years-old finish), but I’m pretty thrilled with the results.

(Note: If you’re reading this post on any website other than Addicted 2 Decorating, that means you’re reading on a site that is stealing my blog content. I hope you’ll consider joining me on my actual blog by clicking here.)

So here’s how I went about this project the second time around…

Obviously, I had to get that awful finish off of the floor. I got out my five-inch rotary sander, and using some 60-grit sanding discs, I started sanding off that finish around the walls. My intention had been to use the rotary sander around the edges, and then use my hand held belt sander on the main areas of the floor.

But as I sanded, I realized just how scratched up the floor was. It had scratches all over it even though I had sanded with the belt sander up to 120-grit the last time. The fact of the matter is that I’m not very good at using the belt sander. It’s incredibly powerful, and I have a hard time controlling it, and that’s how I wound up with all of those scratches everywhere.

Not wanting to make any mistakes at all this time around, I decided to forgo the belt sander and sand the entire floor with my five-inch disc sander. That way I could concentrate on getting all of those scratches out of the floor and end up with a much smoother floor this time around. It took forever (six straight hours of sanding), but it was worth it!

I also sanded just a bit past the new floor. There was one original floor board just inside the music room that was naturally darker than the rest. I thought that would make a good transition board. Since it’s naturally darker, it would be less noticeable if the color meeting that board on the hallway side was just slight off in color. So I removed the finish right up to that board using a hand scraper.

refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 1

This go ’round, I actually took some time to do some stain samples. A novel idea, right? 😀

From left to right, these four samples (all using Minwax penetrating stain) are: (1) 50% Honey and 50% Special Walnut, (2) 20% Honey and 80% Special Walnut, (3) 100% Honey, (4) 100% Special Walnut.

refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 2

At first, I thought the honey would be the winner, but as I looked more, I saw that it had quite a bit more red in it than the original floor. So I ended up going with the 50% honey and 50% special walnut mixture. Here’s how that looked on the floor…

refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 3

It was still looking quite a bit redder than the original floor, but I figured I could do any final color corrections with the stain color that I mix with the first coat of polyurethane.

refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 5

Since I needed to cut the red, I decided to test out my original polyurethane mix (polyurethane and stain mixed 8:1, using a stain mixture that is 50% dark walnut and 50% special walnut). After testing that on the sample board, it looked like the perfect combo

I applied that first coat of the polyurethane/stain mix with a regular paint brush so that I could totally control how dark it looked. I would rather do a thin coat and have it too light and have to follow up with a second coat than go too thick and dark on the first coat.

One coat seemed to be just right. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like after the first coat of polyurethane/stain mixture. But here’s how it looked after I applied the second coat of plain polyurethane. Naturally, it was very shiny when it was wet, and I just hoped and prayed that the satin finish polyurethane would be a pretty close match to the original floor when it dried.

refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 6
refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 7

So I was very pleasantly surprised (no, scratch that, I was ECSTATIC) when I got up this morning and it looked like this…

refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 8

There is a slight difference in sheen, but I think the sheen will dull fairly quickly, so I’m not too concerned about it.

refinishing the hallway hardwood floor - attempt number 2 - 10

I’m so relieved to have this finished! Now it just needs to cure for a while (72 hours, I think) before it can handle lots of traffic. So I’ll entertain myself with other projects around the house, and then I’ll get back in here and finish up the hallway. I need to install a door, install trim (door casing, baseboards, and crown), prime and paint the walls, and touch up the paint on the cabinets.

This hallway has been in this unfinished state for over a year, so I’m very excited about having a pretty hallway again, especially now that the guest bedroom is finished.

If you want more details on how I finished the floor, you can find al of that info on my original posts that I wrote as I was refinishing all of the floors several years ago. You can find those here:

Part 1: Refinishing My Hardwood Floors – Sanding Progress

Part 2: Adventures In Staining My Red Oak Hardwood Floors (Products & Process)

Part 3: The Hardwood Floor Refinishing Adventure Continues – Tip For Getting A Gorgeous Finish

Part 4: My Newly Refinished Red Oak Hardwood Floors

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    1. The floors look wonderful! You did a fantastic job through all these headaches! I do have a question. Is there a reason you mix some stain with the polyurethane before the all polyurethane finish? I’ve never heard of this before and assume there is a good reason I can learn from. Keep up your great work!!

  1. Congratulations! That was a LOT of work, but the results are great. I understand the feeling of seeing something not right and then working hard to correct it, with results I can live with. Onward and Upward!

  2. Hi Kristie, the floors look great! I so admire your sticktoitiveness. I have a couple questions; how did you remove the blue paw prints on the finished floor and how do you manage to sand for hours? My hands and arms go numb after half an hour with any sander and then I have muscle weakness for for several hours. Cheers!

    1. Those paw prints were latex paint, and my floors are protected with oil-based polyurethane. Latex paint (dried or wet) will come up very easily from oil-based poly. Since this was dry, I just used a wet sponge, set it on the paw print for a minute or two, and then it wiped up fairly easily. Some areas required a bit more work, so I just used my fingernail and scraped it up.

      As far as the sanding, I honestly have no idea how I sanded that long. I do like sanding, and I especially love doing a job like that where I can see a huge difference in the before and after, so that kept me motivated to continue. But when I was finished, I was incredibly shocked to look at my phone and see what time it was and how long I had been sanding. My hands and arms felt a bit numb, and I continued feeling the vibrations in my arms for about 30 minutes afterwards. But it was mostly just sheer determination to get the floor finished over the weekend.

  3. A pro floor finisher couldn’t have gotten a better match, and no surprise there. Good going, Kristi. Now have yourself a well-earned rest.

  4. I’m so happy for you…what a relief…amazing how a small project can quickly turn into a huge project sometimes. You have solved another tough one!

  5. I’m kinda curious, if your other floors changed colour after a few years will the hallway floor not also change and then look completely different to the rest? I mean since you’ve used a different formula for staining. Otherwise it looks great!

    1. I wondered the same thing, but it looks great NOW!!! So I’m not gonna worry if Kristi doesn’t!

    2. I’m not worried about it. Had I used the original formula, it would have taken three years to get it to match the rest of the floor. And that’s if the rest of the floor stays the exact same color. I have no way of knowing if it will or won’t. It could continue to lighten and get more red over time, in which case the two floors would never match. This way, at least they match now, and they can all continue to lighten and get more red together, if that’s going to happen. I only made one change, and that was to one of the stains I used in the 50/50 mix to stain the floor. I swapped out dark walnut for honey. Everything else stayed the same. I’m not worried about it.

  6. Looks great, nice job.
    I just learned something new about removing stains such as the floor one you had. Understand I’m not a rep or anything but I have used this product with amazing results elsewhere, with less effort and non chemical. Apparently Norwex cleaning paste removes stains in wood. It’s ground up marble. I always go with the grain on things.. stainless steel, whatever but it has been nothing short of fabulous. My biggest success was gunky stuff around stove burners. Takes paint, permanent marker and more off. I’m going to be giving it a whirl on more things when the need arises. You might try it on those spatters on the paint, see what happens. The other thing is a little goes a long, long way. Still on my first jar, it’s years old. Just a thought…..

  7. Knew you’d find a solution, Kristi, and it looks great! I hope Matt is continuing to improve. Will you be repainting the stripes on the walls?

    1. Yep, I’m sticking with the stripes. I considered doing something different for a brief moment, but I’ve been incredibly indecisive lately. I’m still trying to finalize my decision on the home gym walls, and now I’m also trying to decide on the master bathroom since we’re about to start that. If I try to come up with another idea for the hallway, I just might drive myself crazy, and it’ll take longer than it should because I’ll be stuck with my indecision. So I’m sticking with the stripes. 😀

  8. YOU are incredible ! Again!! Beautiful result and a lesson to us all to keep at it until it is ‘right’. Thank you SO much for sharing your talents and adventures

    1. After sanding, I use my Shop Vac with an upholstery attachment (the round bristle type) and vacuum everything. Then I wait a few hours for all the dust to settle, and repeat the vacuuming. Then before the final coat of polyurethane, I sand the floor quickly by hand (150-grit sandpaper), vacuum again, wipe the floor down with a damp rag, let it dry, and then do the final coat of poly.

  9. What an enormous amount of work that was. I’m so very impressed by your determination and talent. Great job, Kristi!😃😃😃

  10. Kristi, you did a fabulous job matching those stains! I’m totally impressed… but not surprised! I knew you would figure it out. You always do. Your hands probably deserve a bit of a break after 6 hours of sanding! I hope you can find a project that is a little more relaxing until time to get back and finish the hallway. Nice job!

  11. Kristi… I just breathed a BIG sigh of relief for you. PHEW!! It looks wonderful. Worth every hour you put in to it..

    Keep on keepin’ on.. you are such an inspiration.