Matching Hardwood Floors (New and Existing)

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matching hardwood floors

If you live in a house built before the 1960s, chances are, you have at least some hardwood floors in your main living spaces. And now you’re ready to extend those hardwoods into other areas of your home.

So, how do you match new hardwoods to your existing floors?

The best way to get an exact match is to start by looking at the hardwood planks’ width and thickness. Afterward, determine the species of wood. With this information, you can purchase unfinished hardwoods. You can then have these stained to match your existing floors or have everything refinished together. 

Here’s what else to take into consideration.

Matching Hardwood Floors: How to Do It

matching hardwoord floors how to do it

As long as your floors are solid hardwood, matching them is reasonably easy. Here’s what to do.

Measure Thickness, Length, and Width

The starting point for matching new hardwoods with existing ones is to measure your hardwood planks’ thickness, length, and width. As long as your floors are solid hardwood and not engineered, you should be able to find a match.

(If you have engineered floors, the process is more complicated, which we’ll discuss below.)

In addition to measuring the hardwood planks, you need to determine the thickness of your subfloor. Because to make your new floors look seamless with the old, they need to be even. 

Determine the Species of Wood

You probably already know what kind of floors are in your home. If not, you have to figure it out.

Most older homes have oak hardwood floors. Oak is classic, usually light in color but can be darker depending on the stain. 

There are two types of oak: red oak and white oak

Red oak is light with neutral or warm undertones. White oak normally has pink or gray undertones. If you have oak floors, it’s crucial to get the right one.

Other common hardwood floor species include:

  • Cherry (A dark, rich red)
  • Walnut (Dark Brown)
  • Maple (Light)
  • Pine (Light yellow to orange with lots of wood grain)
  • Hickory (Lots of color variations)

If you don’t know what type of floor you have, look at pictures – this will help you narrow it down. 

If you have an extra piece of the flooring, take it to any hardwood floor store for help with identification. If you don’t have a spare plank, take a picture and bring it with you to flooring stores or consult with a flooring contractor.

Decide on Staining/Refinishing

Once you have your new hardwoods located, you have two options for color matching. 

First, you can have the new planks stained to match the existing ones. As long as your current boards don’t have a custom stain mix, finding a matching stain color shouldn’t be hard.

(However, since hardwoods fade or darken over time, the new stain may appear slightly different than the old.)

Your second option is to sand down your existing hardwoods and have the new and old floors stained simultaneously for a uniform finish.

Can You Match Engineered Hardwood Floors?

can you match engineered hardwood floors

Matching engineered hardwood floors is much more difficult than matching solid wood. This is because engineered hardwoods only have a thin veneer of natural wood on top. The middle core is layers of plywood or synthetic material.

Because of this thin veneer, you cannot sand and refinish engineered hardwoods the way you can with solid wood – it’s recommended to only sand and refinish engineered hardwoods that have a very thick piece of wood on top.

Plus, engineered hardwood floors don’t come unfinished. 

Instead, this type of flooring receives its finish during the manufacturing process. And because of the custom stain, even if you find a solid wood of the same thickness, width, and species, matching the color will be incredibly difficult.

That doesn’t mean you can’t match engineered hardwood floors – it’s just much harder to do.

If you need to find matching engineered hardwoods, try these tips:

Find the Manufacturer – If you can figure out the manufacturer and style of your floor, you may be able to order more of exactly what you need.

Order Tons of Similar Samples – Determine the width, thickness, and species of your engineered hardwoods. Once you have those details in hand, start looking for similar floors. Whenever you find something that fits those parameters and looks like a close color match, order a sample of it.

While you might not be able to find an exact match, you can use this strategy to get pretty close.

Refinish Your Floor – If your engineered wood floor has a thick wood veneer of at least 3 mm, you can refinish the floor in a color that matches your new flooring. But since it’s risky to refinish engineered wood, hire an experienced flooring company to do this. 

Can You Use Two Different Types of Hardwood Floors in Your House?

Here’s some good news – if you can’t find an exact match between your new and existing hardwoods, you can use two different types of flooring in your home.

Here are some tips to follow to help this look good.

  • Don’t use two different hardwoods in open concept floor plans – only for separate rooms.
  • Create contrast with different colors but make sure your floors have similar undertones.
  • Use a transition strip to separate the species of wood.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq matching hardwood floors

How much does it cost to match hardwood floors?

The amount it costs to match your hardwood floors depends on how much square footage you need to cover, the type of wood, and the project’s scope. The average cost of refinishing hardwood floors is $3-$8 per square foot. You’ll also need to include the price of your new floors when determining a budget.

How to match hardwood floors to laminate?

It’s about impossible to get an exact match between hardwood floors and laminate – even if you do, it will be obvious which floor is which. A better idea is to use the same undertones for each floor but different colors for a bit of contrast. This way, it doesn’t look like you’re trying to blend the two.

How can I find discontinued hardwood floors?

If you can’t find your hardwood floors at a big box store, contact the manufacturer directly. If you still can’t find them, check sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.

Final Thoughts

As long as you have solid hardwoods, matching new floors to your existing ones shouldn’t be overly complicated. The most significant decision you’ll need to make is refinishing the entire floor or staining only the new pieces.

If you have engineered hardwoods, the process is much more difficult. Try contacting your manufacturer. If that’s not possible, start ordering similar samples until you find a good match.

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AUTHOR

Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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