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Matching pre finished hardwood floor?
Old 02-21-2013, 04:21 PM   #1
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Matching pre finished hardwood floor?

Since I never cease to be surprised by the breadth of knowledge here, why not give it a go...

We have pre finished solid maple floors in our living room, dining room, foyer and hall bath (Mirage Maple Select & Better Semi-Gloss 3/4" x 3-1/4"). DW wants to continue the maple in our family room and kitchen (as part of a kitchen remodel). The original flooring is more expensive than anything else we've seen at $10.78/sf, what possessed me to chose it some 7-8 years ago is beyond me now.

I'd like to use something less expensive, $6-7/sf seems to be typical, but we've gotten mixed responses as to whether we'll be able to find an acceptable match (for resale). To compound the problem, the experts also tell us 'you know even if you buy the exact same product/grade as the original, it won't match exactly.'

The one saving grace, the only place old floor will meet new is the doorway between the foyer and the family room, about 35" wide.

The factory prefinish is really tough stuff, sanding and refinishing doesn't seem like an option.

Is there a smart solution, or am I just stuck taking my chances?
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:44 PM   #2
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Is the new floor and old floor end to end? If you can find something new that matches closely with the old maybe put some type of transition strip between the two floors, it would make any differences less noticeable. If you don't use a transition strip then you need to do something about the continuous seem at the end of the old floor. Even if you had a good match it would not look good just starting a new floor where the old floor ended. You would have to pry up some of the old boards and weave them together so the end seems don't line up with adjacent boards. The only way I can think to guarantee a good match would be to strip, stain/refinish both the old and new. That would take a pro and probably not cheap.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post

The one saving grace, the only place old floor will meet new is the doorway between the foyer and the family room, about 35" wide.

Cool. As mentioned, transition strip and you are good. Get a close as possible or go with something different, that doorway makes a natural break point. It's like painting a room - if you go to a different can of paint that may be a tad different color you want to break the color at a corner, not in the middle of the wall. I'd be dubious about weaving in floor boards of seven years difference in manufacture.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:22 PM   #4
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Transition strip... for sure.

Off topic story... Reminds me of a period of anxiety in my own life...
1960... I was working for Sears Roebuck as a store manager on Martha's Vineyard. Julius Rosenwald II owned a large home in Edgartown... Son of the founder, he was the living God for Sears management. The "ballroom" in his house was being renovated, and of course, the floor had to be made of Sears materials. Since we had just introduced a brand new "floating color chip" vinyl tile, this was the choice. With the project 95% complete, and seven days until a major social function in the house, the contractor announced he had run out of tile, near the middle of the room. Fly in more tile! We did... private plane from California... Color didn't match. No more stock of that color batch. Four days to go. A whole new project. Tear up the floor, fly in an all new color batch... Still some differences. The contractor ended up shuffling the tiles to even out the variances. Finished the project 12 hours before the event.
I, and a good part of the Boston Management Team watched as our professional lives were on the line. The hundreds of phone calls, special production, and the "move heaven and hell" crisis finally over, we returned to some sort of normal. Took ten years to get rid of those nightmares... married two years, two children, nothing in the bank, and living on an island with no jobs. Funny thing... Julius Rosenwald never knew this was happening.

Sorry for the sidetrack, but I had to share the memory, to exorcise the demons.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:24 PM   #5
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I'll 4th the transition strip option. i'm going through the same dilemma now trying to match hardwood to my stairs. You've got a great place to do it at a doorway.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:43 PM   #6
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Different lighting in the two spaces might help as well.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:08 PM   #7
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Just loosen up your tight grip on the purse-strings and shell out the extra $4-5 a foot for the good stuff.

Does the manufacturer offer a lesser grade floor in the same finish?
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:26 PM   #8
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A throw rug?
I like donheff's idea of different lighting, that might help.
A transition strip sounds like a good choice.
If the new floor is identical except for the color (same thickness, same board width, same species, etc) and if the situation requires it, you could site-finish enough boards to smooth the transition. This would require quite a bit of experimenting with stain mixtures to get the shades right, and somebody able to do a good job wouldn't come cheap.
Did I mention the idea of a rug?
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:00 AM   #9
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I would go with some kind of transition strip between the 2 rooms. Maybe a piece of marble laid even with the wood that carries the line of the wall between the through the opening. So maybe about a 5" X 35" piece of marble or stone.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:29 AM   #10
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Just loosen up your tight grip on the purse-strings and shell out the extra $4-5 a foot for the good stuff.
The "good stuff" is in the quote so we're willing. It's just the prospect that we'll spend the extra $4-5/sf and still have a mismatch due to difference in age and/or lot of the maple. That would hurt...

In that the place they join is only 35" wide coming from a (usually not well lit) foyer, we may get away with it.

And we do have runners all the way from the front door thru the foyer and family room to further camouflage.

I will talk to others about a transition strip, something we had not considered.

Thanks everyone...
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:49 AM   #11
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I've been in the wood business for 25 years and have seen this dilemma many times. It will be next to impossible to find a good match for the existing floor. You'll get close but not quite. And that is exactly what it will look like - a match that doesn't. You're much better off using the transition strip as others have suggested and then going a totally different route on the wood. Go for contrast rather than a match and I think you'll be much more pleased with the outcome.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:07 AM   #12
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Didn't know if you were already considering this, but can you buy 1 box (or have your contractor provide 1 box of the product that matches your existing floor) for you to lay down on top of your existing floor next to the doorway, so you can see how close the match might be, and what it might look like at different times of the day, with different lighting?
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