Can You Lighten Dark Hardwood Floors? – How To Implement?

After a long period of time, you possibly get sick of the dark-toned hardwood floors and want to change them into lighter colors. Undeniably, the floors with light tones perpetually bring not only a new light-hearted mood but also a sense of freshness. 

Yet, can you lighten dark hardwood floors at home without professional help? 

When it comes to changing the shade of the wood floors, many homeowners think it is an impossible task. Would this be the truth or a misconception? 

We will give you guidelines on turning old dark-toned oak floors into brighter colors. Read on to see whether it is a DIY task or not! Let’s scroll down for more details!


Can You Lighten Dark Hardwood Floors? 

When you refinish your old dark wood floors, can you change their tone? From our experience, the answer is definitely Yes!

If you suppose that the current wood floors are out-of-dated or unmatched with the decor styles of the whole house, it’s time you make something new with your floors!

Many homeowners assume changing colors for floors after refinishing them is an undoable duty, and they accept to live with things they don’t like. If you are not one of them, let’s adjust the floor tones to your liking! There is much underlying support for you to shed light on your murk wooden grounds. Scroll down to scrutinize the specific reason!

Why Should You Lighten Up Dark Hardwood Floors? 

Here are explanations for why you should lighten up dark-toned wood floors. 

Light and bright tone floors are easier to decorate. Although dark hardwood floors bring you a sense of a warm and dramatic look, it’s relatively tricky to decorate a living space with the dark gamut of colors. 

Lighter coloration shades tend to be more durable over time and have a more lasting application than fashionable flooring hues like black wood floors. 

You have more opportunities to mix and match hues, interiors or paint colors. You can use colorful shade options for light-toned floors to make your rooms larger and more vivid. For rooms that lack natural light, lighter tone wood floors will make the room appear brighter and more relaxing. 

Compared to the dark-colored flooring, light-shaded ones tend to be generally more durable and cleaner. They often expose less debris, dust, scratches, or damage.

Light floors make the room spacious

What Should You Consider Before Lightening Dark Hardwood Floors? 

Although lightening dark hardwood floors is not an extremely difficult task, you should take these considerations below into account:

After lightening the dark floors, would you keep the existing house fittings or use new decor? 

As furniture that fits with dark-toned flooring is different from brighter ones, you should consider replacing almost existing chattels, including paint colors or wall coverings in your room to match with a new flooring vibe. 

Give thought to the brightness of the floor when you tone up. 

If the room is small, increase the brightness to a higher level to make the room more spacious. 

The new color stands as a cover layer.

Indeed, rooms with dark wood floors are often easy to spot scratches. If you have active children or pets, they will probably roughen the basement regularly. Therefore, consider the brightness level of the color capable of hiding those dirt, marks, or furs.

How To Lighten Up Dark Hardwood Floors?

If you want to implement a color change plan for a dark room to make it expressive, check out the step-by-step instructions below:

Step 1: Clear The Room

Before lightening the old floor, make sure that you have removed all appliances and furniture from your house. Remember to open all the windows and remove all curtains, so that maximum natural air and light can go into the room to aid in completing the bleaching task!

Next, check the floor again for any pins or nails left on the floor. If any, use a hammer and specialized nailer to get rid of them without damaging the floor.

After moving all the decor items and house fittings out, sweep the floor or vacuum so that there is no dirt and dust around.

Step 2: Sand The Floors

This step heavily affects the final look of your new floor, so be meticulous! You should use a sander machine for the best result instead of doing it manually with sanding pads. 

From our experience, you should use these grit levels, including 60 grit, 80 grit, and 100 grit. Let’s start with the 60 grit level first from the farthest corner from the doorway. In detail, attach it to a drum sander and turn the machine on when tilting to sand the floor lightly. 

Some corners are too narrow for the scrubber to reach. In this situation, you will need the help of a palm sander and a scraper to sand and remove the stains in the stubborn edges. After the first sanding, the whole dark floor will gradually change to lighter natural wood color. 

Then, attach 80 grit and 100 grit levels sequentially to the drum sander, then a palm sander to complete the scrubbing step. At this point, your hardwood floor surface is almost perfectly smooth.

Step 3: Vacuum The Floors


The way you clean the floors has a huge impact on the quality of the floors later, so make sure that you choose a proper cleansing technique! We recommend using a vacuum to remove all the dust and wood powder after the sanding process. 

Step 4: Apply Colors To The Floors

After sanding, your dark-toned wood floors turn to their natural light color, so you can choose whether to color or not. Nevertheless, you should stain them to create more durability and brightness for the floor. To apply colors, follow the steps below:

  • Determine the desired but fitting floors.
  • Color along the wood grains for ideally even and smooth surfaces.
  • Start at the farthest side of your room, then move your way toward the entrance to lighten the hardwood properly.
  • Then let the floors dry naturally. Normally, it takes more than 4 hours for the colors to concentrate completely. It is best to leave them overnight.

Step 5: Coat Layers Of Polyurethane

You should coat a polyurethane layer to protect the new color and increase the durability of the wood floors. Indeed, this is an easy but time-consuming step. You normally have to cover three layers of polyurethane and wait for nearly a day to dry one layer.

You can consider applying either of two coating ways, including oil-based polyurethane and water-based polyurethane. Based on our experience, water-based is the safest and most effective!

Trust us, though the first way is relatively economical, its colors will fade over time! The water-based coating is more expensive than the oil-based method, but it can keep the color and quality of the wood better.

Wrapping Up

Can you lighten dark hardwood floors? Yes, you can certainly make the old dark-toned flooring brighter. There might be some tricky stages when the task requires high concentration and meticulousness. Still, it won’t be that hard to achieve lovely new look floors. Believe us!

Before starting the bleaching process, you should also consider factors in part three for the most desirable result. Hopefully, you will be successful with our recommendations!

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