Can You Put Weathered Oak Stain on Red Oak?

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weathered oak stain on red oak

Picking a stain color for your hardwoods is a huge choice and one you’ll likely live with for the next decade or more. So getting it right is pretty important.

If you have red oak hardwood floors, you can leave them in their natural state and add a sealant. But you also have the option of adding a stain.

One of the more popular stains for red oak is weathered oak. Weathered oak is a gray/tan stain. It’s pretty sheer, so it will tone down the color rather than change it. If your floors have a reddish undertone, weathered oak will help mute the red without completely turning the floor gray.

Can You Put Weathered Oak Stain on Red Oak? Yes, you can put a weathered oak stain on red oak floors. Weathered oak is a mixture of gray and tan meant to look like oak exposed to the elements. Rather than being a cool gray, it has warm yellow undertones.

When you put weathered oak over top of red oak floors, the red is toned down a bit. The floors still look very natural, though. They have a hint of gray but aren’t overly gray.

You can find weathered oak stains from Minwax, DuraSeal, and Varathane.

Key Takeaways

You can put weathered oak stain on red oak. It can tone down red slightly with a touch of gray but will keep a natural look. Some alternatives to consider:

  • Special Walnut (less gray, not as warm)
  • Clear/Natural (keeps natural look, can remove red tones)
  • Dark Walnut (creates a rich, dark, modern look)
  • Early American (will darken red to brown)

Special Walnut vs. Weathered Oak Stain on Red Oak

Special walnut is a light to a medium shade of brown. It’s a similar shade as weathered oak, although it has no gray and isn’t quite as warm.

Special oak is a classic color. Putting this stain over red oak will make the floors a little darker and browner. It does take away some of their reddish tints.

You can find special walnut stains from Varathane, Minwax, and Bona.

Clear/Natural vs. Weathered Oak Stain on Red Oak

If you want a hardwood solution that will never go out of style, skip the stain and add a clear coat to your floors. Natural floors will always be on-trend.

Of course, if you don’t like the reddish of your oak flooring, then by no means should you live with it. Instead, consider putting a natural stain on them like special walnut or weathered oak. 

Dark Walnut vs. Weathered Oak on Red Oak

dark walnut vs. Weathered Oak on Red Oak

Dark walnut is a much darker shade than weathered oak. When applied to red oak floors, they look a rich, dark brown color. 

While dark walnut can look very modern, it’s also a bolder choice than weathered oak or special walnut. So before you stain your entire floor with it, make sure that it’s something you can live with for a long time.

Luckily, almost every brand of stain has a dark walnut option.

Early American vs. Weathered Oak on Red Oak

Early American stain is another mid to dark tone you can use for a classic look. It’s a medium brown color that will darken red oak and make them look more brown than red.

Early American is much darker than weathered oak, although both supply a reasonably natural look.

You can find Early American stains from MinWax, Varathane, and DuraSeal.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq Weathered Oak on Red Oak

Can I stain over red oak?

Red oak is very absorbent, making it one of the best types of hardwood to stain. Of course, because of the red tint of the wood, you need to test out several stains to find one that you like. Stains will look much different on the floor than they do on the pictures of the product. 

A pointer from a seasoned professional – when using a weathered oak stain on red oak floors, be mindful that the existing color or previous stain on your floor can impact the final result. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to use a wood conditioner before applying the stain to achieve even color distribution.

How do you tone down red wood?

If you’re ready to stain a red wood and don’t love the current tint, you can tone down or neutralize the red by using a stain with a green undertone. Green and red cancel each other out.

However, you might be just as happy using a stain like weathered oak or special walnut. These stains will tone down the red, making the wood look more tan or brown.

How do you make red oak look modern?

If you feel like your red oak floors aren’t modern, consider adding a stain. You can use a whitewash stain for a lighter look or go darker with a walnut. Afterward, paint your walls a contrasting color for a modern look.

Advice from the Expert: In my experience, if you’re trying to achieve a more modern look with your red oak floors, don’t be afraid to experiment with different stain colors before making a final decision. Remember, the color of the stain can drastically modify the appearance of your floors, and testing small patches in inconspicuous areas could save you from being disappointed with the result.

So, if you stain your floors dark, use a light wall color and vice versa. And in the kitchen, avoid using the same wood tone on the floors as you do on the cabinets.

What are the most popular stain colors right now?

The most popular stain colors are lighter options like white oak and whitewashed floors. These light options have replaced the former gray hardwood floor trend. 

However, as you know, trends come and go quickly. Hardwood floors are a huge investment, so go for something classic. Great options include natural-looking stains like walnut, early American, and weathered oak. Natural hardwoods with a clear coat are also a safe bet.

Advice from the Expert: One thing I’ve learned over the years is that lighting plays a significant role in the perception of your stained floor color. The same stain can look different in natural light, under artificial lighting, or during different times of the day. So, test your stains under different lighting conditions to be sure of your choice!

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking of giving your red oak floors a makeover, applying a weathered oak stain will tone down the red without making your floors gray. While weathered oak does have a gray tint, it has yellow undertones that make it look tan when applied to the floor.

Another option for a natural look is special walnut. Special walnut will make your red oaks look darker and more brown but still natural. And if you want a timeless look, skip the stain and add a clear coat to your floor.

Photo of 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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