Bleach and Wood

Some floors look great when they’re natural. I look at them as black and white, they go with everything, however, some people want to change the color of their wood floors. Staining is a way to achieve darker looking floors, whereas bleaching is a way to achieve lighter looking floors.

Wood with natural red

Red Wood

It’s very hard or near impossible, to hide the primary color of wood. Let’s say you had a Red Oak floor, and you wanted it lighter. The primary color in Red Oak, naturally is red, so say you try to pickle it with a white stain, it will end up looking a little pink. So you bleach it first, then pickle it. Looks pretty good, just a little pink comes thru on the redist boards but overall, not too bad.

Eastern Pine

Or let’s say you have an Eastern Pine hardwood floor. The primary color is also red, bleaching and pickling this floor gives you an almost white color. Or if you want the wood to look like there’s no finish on it at all, just bleach it and use a total matte waterborne-finish. It will look like raw wood and have the protection of high grade 2-part waterborne.

Wood with natural yellow


Some other wood species, like Ash, has a yellow hue, bleaching gets rid of it if you don’t like the yellow.

Test before you bleach

Always test before you bleach, once bleached, it very hard to go back, due to a chemical reaction it goes deep in the grain. One other very important fact - when you bleach a floor, the wood becomes softer than it's original hardness.

A word to the wise - Don’t ever bleach White Oak, it will turn green! Really. Thanks!

~ Floorman

(Photo above courtesy of Periscope in Rockland, ME.  Floor installation in Midcoast Maine by Maine Wood Floors.)