Can you stain Brazilian cherry floors?

An image of polished dark cherry floor lacking the deep red hue of jatoba floors

What should you do when an exclusive and highly-valuable item you own starts going out of style? Do you just dispose of the item or find a way to salvage it? Many are times when you find yourself in situations that trigger such random thoughts. An example of such a situation is when your high-end Brazilian cherry floor seems outdated owing to its blazing redness.

It could also be that the floor is not complimenting your new set of furniture. Whatever the situation, you will certainly seek ways to update your Brazilian cherry floor rather than have it all ripped out. Staining is a common step in refinishing and updating floors, but can you stain Brazilian cherry floors?

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How to stain Brazilian cherry hardwood floor

Staining Brazilian cherry floors, also known as jatoba, is quite feasible since this type of flooring accepts stains excellently. If you aim to update your jatoba floor, refinishing is one effective method. It involves sanding followed by applying a finish of choice. The essence of sanding is to prepare the wood planks for staining.

Staining then follows sanding to alter the wood’s color. In most instances, the end goal in staining is drowning the rich red hue of Brazilian cherry floors and imparting other different tones of your preference. 

If you wish to bring in the sense of class to a rather nondescript room, installing Brazilian cherry flooring is a sure way to go. Freshly installed Brazilian cherry floors accentuate the floor’s natural red tone, making it have a desirable and enhanced appeal.

However, this appeal of Brazilian cherry floors tends to fade with time, mostly due to exposure to light. This type of flooring is reactive to light and therefore tends to darken over time. When this occurs, staining your floor will be necessary for you to retain its lighter red tone.

In addition, purchasing an unfinished Brazilian cherry floor is another instance requiring you to stain the floor. These unfinished floors will require finishing, a process that includes staining. Having mentioned staining severally, how then do you execute this process? Below is a stepwise guide;

  1. Since stains can be stubborn to get rid of in the event of spillage, you start by placing drop cloths to cover or protect your work area.
  2. Using 180-grit sandpaper, sand the surface scheduled for staining. This step is essential for opening the top layer to enable the fine-grained Brazilian cherry planks to absorb the stain. To avoid fracturing the wood, do not work against the floor but rather ensure that you work with the grain. Consider wearing a dust mask when sanding.
  3. Get rid of all dust particles to avoid having spots of raised stain. Use clean tack cloths to wipe the wood clear of particles.
  4. Use a brush to apply your stain. The recommendable stains for Brazilian cherry floors are either wax-based or water-based stains. These stains will not conceal the grain, and better yet, they will add to the color. There is a tendency for water-based stains to permeate irregularly. To counter this, moisten a piece of cloth with clear water and wipe the wood down and then wait for the wood to dry before proceeding with stain application.
  5. The decision to apply a second coat lies with you. Note that the color darkens more upon adding subsequent stain coats. This reduces the prominence of the natural wood grain.If you wish to proceed to the second coat, you will have to let the previously applied coat dry based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Once the first coat is dry, sand it using finer sandpaper or 220-grit.
  6. Similar to the application of the first coat, apply the second coat and leave it to dry averagely from two hours to overnight.
  7. This step also depends on your preference. It involves the application of a sealer that is well suited to your stain. Normally, you will come across sealers in spray and brush-on formulas.

How to update Brazilian cherry hardwood floor

When the blazing red tone of your Brazilian cherry floor no longer dazzles you, ripping the entire floor out should not be your go-to option. Alternatively, you can update the outmoded Brazilian cherry floor and transform it into a more elegant and classy floor. 

Bleaching is one of the methods you can adopt to update Jatoba floors. The factor that made you realize that your floor is getting out of style is definitely the deep red tone.  Improvising the bleaching method enables your floor to gain a teak-like appeal by getting rid of some of the red shade. 

The choice of topcoat to use is an important consideration to take into account when using the bleaching method. Topcoats that deliver glossy finishes should not be considered since such finishes will still have an out-fashioned appeal. Instead, opt for satin or matte finishes since they look classy and conceal any imperfections present.

Refinishing is also employed to update Brazilian cherry floors. It involves sanding down the hardwood floor repeatedly till you attain uniformity in the raw wood. You will then need to finish the sanded floor by staining.

It is preferable to use stains bearing some green pigment which will undo some of the redness within the hardwood flooring. Such stains transform the floor’s tone to neutral. It would be best if you then used a desirable topcoat to achieve a classic finish.

How do you maintain Brazilian cherry hardwood floors?   

The Brazilian cherry hardwood floor indubitably fulfills the aesthetic value for many homeowners. This type of flooring is also one of the most resilient types of hardwood flooring, owing to its remarkable capability of standing up against heavy traffic, kids, and pets. However, to enjoy a lifetime of service from the Jatoba floor, you ought to be relentless in maintaining it. 

One central way of maintaining the Brazilian cherry floor is by cleaning. Cleaning will help it retain its shine and appeal for a remarkable period. Expounded below are ways you can clean your floor, including;

A. Cleaning with commercial cleaners

It would help if you procured certified commercial floor cleaners that have been manufactured particularly for hardwood floors. Most of these cleaners are available in spray formulas. Therefore, it is easy to use these cleaners since you just need to spray the floor and then wipe with a sponge or mop. Do remember to avoid letting the cleaning reagent stay on the floor for too long to prevent reactions that would cause damage.

B. Cleaning by vacuuming or dusting

Dust tends to accumulate on Brazilian cherry hardwood floors frequently. Therefore, you will have to regularly get rid of the dust by dusting using a dustmop fabricated from microfiber or a broom and a dustpan. 

Vacuuming is also another method that is appropriate for cleaning hardwood floors. Neglecting the dirt on your floor for many days can ruin the finish, and therefore you exercise vacuuming routines every two to four days. Use a lightweight vacuum with strong suction force to get rid of grime and dust.

Here is an essential consideration. To prevent the formation of scratches and other imperfections, you should avoid improvising a beater bar. You also want to avoid scratches caused by brushing grime and dust against your floor when dragging the particles.

C. Cleaning with home-made cleaning solutions

You can also opt for home-based reagents to form cleaning solutions that are friendly to your hardwood floor. Below are some of the reagents;

      i) A mixture of water and vinegar

You can easily prepare a jatoba floor-favorable cleaning solution by mixing 3.5 liters of water with half a cup of white vinegar. The resulting solution is a natural cleaning reagent ideal for cleaning your floor without leaving any residue. You can then proceed to clean the floor using a damp mop or sponge. Leave the floor to dry after cleaning.

      ii) A mixture of dishwashing liquid and vinegar

This is yet another easy to prepare solution that can actually help you save money that you would otherwise incur in purchasing commercial detergents. All you need to do is have a bucket of warm water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

Mix these two reagents. You now have an appropriate cleaning solution. Use this solution to clean your Jatoba floor while ensuring that the mop is only moistened instead of getting extremely wet. Once you are done, rinse the floor with plain water, followed by wiping off any remaining water with a dry towel.

     iii) Cleaning with glass cleaner

As an alternative to the two previously mentioned home remedies, a solution including a glass cleaner can also get the job done. You will need to mix one part glass cleaner with nine parts warm water in a bucket or sink.

You will then use a cleaning towel or mop to clean your floor while ensuring that you squeeze out the excess solution. Use a damp mop rather than an extremely wet one. Leave the floor to air-dry.

Bleaching Brazilian cherry hardwood floors 

As earlier pointed out, bleaching is one of the methods you can use to get rid of the blazing red/salmon color of Brazilian cherry floors. You might move into a new house and then realize that the red hue doesn’t match your furniture’s color. It might also be that the jatoba floor is not congruent with the rest of your hardwood flooring. 

Whatever the case, you probably desire to drown out the outdated red tone. Bleaching is a sure way to eliminate the redness. However, it is quite an intricate process that might need you to seek the help of an accomplished professional.

In terms of price, this method will have you digging deeper in your pockets as it is an extra step. For it also to be successful, it will require more material hence more expenses. It is also a time-consuming process since it adds at least a day for drying and application.

To acquaint you with the obvious, sanding is necessary. Expect to notice the red color even after sanding your Brazilian cherry floor since it is naturally red-toned all through. It will also retain attractive and smooth graining even after sanding.

Start bleaching with a fresh color palette that partially reduces the redness. Bleaching accords you the versatility in stain colors. Proceed with staining after bleaching. Medium Gray/black tones and plain dark stain colors will give desirable results.

Brazilian cherry flooring problems

The illustrious profile of Brazilian cherry hardwood floors is attributed to the manifold of accolades associated with this popular flooring style. However, despite possessing outstanding traits, Jatoba floors also have some problems it comes with. Explicated below are some of the drawbacks pertaining to Brazilian cherry floors that you ought to consider. They include;

  • Light sensitivity

Like most hardwood floors are affected by light, Jatoba floors tend to darken with exposure to light over time. The magnitude of light exposure determines the degree of color change. You will want to take the lighting of your home into account. Rotating rugs is also advisable to help counter this problem.

  • Cost

With some forms of Brazilian cherry floors scaling over $7.0 per square foot, the price of this flooring style may be a limiting factor. In fact, Jatoba floors stand as one of the most expensive types of hardwood floors.

In addition to the price of the planks themselves, you will also incur some installation costs. That said, this particular flooring style poses a challenge in terms of price, especially if you are working on a tight budget. Alternatively, you can opt for jatoba-like luxury vinyl flooring or Brazilian walnut hardwood flooring if you are on a budget. Either of the flooring options will give you the appeal of the Brazilian cherry hardwood floor. 

  • Not ideal for every space

Large spaces installed with Brazilian cherry floor have an alluring and cozy feel due to the dark finish. This same finish tends to be inappropriate for small spaces since it contests the aim to keep the small space airy and open. Inconsistency in flooring or having the flooring differing from one space to another can give the impression that a room is smaller.  

  • Prone to damage by water

Excessively wet or high-moisture areas are not suitable for the installation of Brazilian cherry floors. This is because, typically, wood has the capability of absorbing water. Areas like the laundry room, kitchens, or bathrooms are not appropriate for this type of flooring. Homes located in zones with a humid climate should consider setting up a dehumidifier.

  • Reveals dust and dirt

The dark finish of Brazilian cherry floors is a trait that tends to make dust particles accumulate on the surface. Even worse, this flooring will markedly highlight the dust. The way to go around this dust problem is by adopting a daily cleaning strategy with a robotic vacuum. Cleaning counts as a way of maintaining your floor hence extending its lifespan.

Below is a video demonstrating the transformation of Brazilian cherry Hardwood floors from their deep red tone to gray color after staining.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can you stain Brazilian cherry floors dark?

Yes, you can. All you should do is use a darker stain when refinishing. You can tone down the natural blazing redness of Brazilian cherry hardwood flooring by using water-based stains. To achieve a deep and dark finish, use stains with colors ranging between ebony, black, and onyx. Such stains will drown out the red tone of jatoba floors. 

  • Is Brazilian cherry harder than oak?

Brazilian cherry wood ranges higher than oak in terms of hardness. The recognized Janka hardness test that establishes hardness across wood species backs this up. According to the Janka scale, Brazilian cherry has a hardness rating of 2350. Red oak wood type rate at 1290 while white oak wood type rate at 1360. This then confirms that Brazilian cherry is indeed harder than oak.

  • What is stronger oak or cherry?

When it comes to strength, cherry wood takes it home. Cherry is characterized by a slightly supple quality that reduces its chances of breaking or splintering. It tends to be somewhat lighter when compared to oak, making it easier to cut with a table saw. Oak, on the other hand, is brittle.

  • Can you stain Brazilian cherry floors grey? 

Other than staining your Brazilian cherry floor dark, it is also possible to stain the floor grey. You can start by sanding, followed by bleaching. The essence of applying two coats of two-component bleach is to tone down the deep red color. Finalize this step by applying a grey oil-based stain and top up with three coats of matte water-based finish. 2 part wood bleach like Klean and Daly strip is an excellent component for bleaching.

Final verdict

A gradual shift in the preference of floor color is taking shape and is making many homeowners want to change their flooring. The desire to update one’s flooring has been observed, especially in individuals with homes installed with Brazilian cherry flooring. This is quite agreeable given that the red tone of jatoba floors is getting out of style.

As brought out in this piece, it is plainly achievable to stain your Brazilian cherry floor as a means of updating it. Staining allows you to change the appearance of your floor to a more desirable tone. You also get to enjoy utmost service from your jatoba floor since staining also saves you the hassle of ripping and installing the flooring afresh.

Brazilian cherry flooring is evidently also one of the easiest floors to clean. Most homemade reagents, as guided in this article, will get the job done. I am confident that this exhaustive conversation on whether you can stain Brazilian cherry floors will equip you with all the necessary particulars.  

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