How to Refinish Hardwood Floors Grey

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how to refinish hardwood floors grey

Hardwood flooring is a fantastic feature for any home no matter what your style is like. 

Hardwood floors offer durability and classic looks that other flooring types simply don’t have. However, they can also be difficult to modify or change if you decide you want a different aesthetic. 

As styles change, you may want to refinish your hardwood floors and revamp them. Grey flooring has become incredibly popular and is relatively easy to achieve with the right tools. 

In this article, we have laid out different ways that you can refinish hardwood floors grey. 

By trying these methods, you can create the modern, contemporary style you have been looking for. 

Refinishing hardwood floors grey is a relatively simple process. Some of the methods you can use include: 

  • Staining 
  • Painting
  • Steel wool soaked in vinegar 
  • Grey wash

By understanding how these methods work, you can choose the one that will suit you best. 

Why Refinish Hardwood Floors Grey?

why refinish hardwood floors grey

While hardwood floors are incredibly classic, they can also be very warm in appearance. This is usually a positive attribute, but if you are looking for a cleaner feel, grey is a better choice. 

One of the advantages of grey over the natural color of wood is its neutrality. 

Natural wood’s color is highly desirable but not if you are looking to have accents elsewhere. If, for example, you want an accent wall, hardwood flooring may not be the right choice. 

By refinishing your hardwood floors grey, you get a blank slate for all your design elements. Nothing will clash with the flooring because it is so neutral. 

Grey is also a great color if you want a minimalist look. 

Cooling down the feel of your home can be difficult with natural hardwood. By refinishing the floors grey, you can give the whole home a clean, cool feel. 

Staining Hardwood Floors Grey 

One of the best options for refinishing hardwood floors grey is to stain them. 

Stain is a great, permanent way to change the color of your floor without worrying about scuffing. Stain gets down into the pores of the wood and completely soaks into the structure. 

To stain your wood flooring grey, you will have to sand off any finish that is currently on them. 

Use an orbital sander to remove the polyurethane clear coat on the hardwood planks. Be sure to wear a mask when doing this to avoid inhaling any polyurethane dust. 

Once you have removed the clear coat, you can apply a grey stain of your choosing. 

Use a sponge or cloth to apply the stain in several coats. Let the stain cure for at least 48 hours before walking on the floor or moving furniture back in. 

Painting Hardwood Floors Grey 

painting hardwood floors grey

One of the easier and more temporary options for refinishing hardwood floors grey is to use floor paint. Floor paint is specifically developed to be used on high-touch areas and will last for many years. 

While it is recommended that you sand the hardwood floors before painting, it isn’t necessary. Instead, you can simply buff the floors and give them a slight scuff before applying the paint. 

Be sure to work in such a way that will allow you to exit the room when finished. It is important that you don’t paint yourself into a corner. 

One of the major benefits of painting your floors is the fact that paint completely covers the surface. 

Stain is relatively transparent, which means that it will take on some of the color of the wood. 

With floor paint, you can completely cover the surface. This gets you the exact color you want without any input from the wood itself.  

Steel Wool and Vinegar 

One of the most interesting ways to refinish your hardwood floors grey is to use steel wool and vinegar. 

Vinegar has qualities that can pull the color out of natural wood. The steel wool will open up the pores of the wood and allow the vinegar to change the color to a light gray. 

To use this method, soak the steel wool for at least 24 hours. While the wool is soaking, sand off the polyurethane finish of the original wood. 

Once the top coat is removed, you can then start applying the vinegar with the steel wool. 

This method may take a few passes but you will start to see the color of the wood fade. This will give you a muted, grey color with much of the natural patina of the wood intact. 

Use a Grey Wash 

Washes have become more and more popular in recent years as a way to add character to flooring. 

To make a grey wash, mix equal parts water and grey paint. This will give you the transparent finish that is so emblematic of washes. 

Remove any top finish that might be on your hardwood flooring. Then, you can apply the wash using a brush or rag. 

A gray wash will act as a happy medium between paint and stain. If you want to keep some of the natural grain of the wood, this is a great option for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

faq how to refinish hardwood floors grey

How much does it cost to change the color of hardwood floors?

The cost of changing the color of hardwood floors will depend on the size of the floor and the method. However, you can count on it costing somewhere between $3 and $8 per square foot. 

If you do your own labor, the cost will be slightly less than it would be to have a professional do it. 

What is the cheapest way to refinish hardwood floors?

The cheapest way to refinish hardwood floors is to paint them. This is due to the fact that you don’t necessarily need to sand the floors. 

Any time you can cut down on labor for your floor refinishing, this will save you money on your project. 

Can you restain hardwood floors without sanding?

If you want to restain your hardwood floors, you will have to sand them. This is because you need the pores of the wood to open up. 

However, if you don’t want to sand the flooring, you can paint it instead. 


Refinishing hardwood floors grey is a great way to revitalize your home and give it a modern look. There are many methods you can use to do this and all of them have their own pros and cons. 

By understanding what these methods are, you can make the right choice for your home. 

Photo of author


Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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