How Long Does It Take For Brazilian Cherry Floors To Darken?

An image of a darkened Brazilian wood floor

One of the things to love about a Brazilian cherry floor is its adaptability. The Brazilian cherry is naturally heat resistant and can easily adapt to high temperatures. However, this isn’t the case when you expose the floor to direct sunlight.

It goes without question that these floors can grace your space with exquisite aesthetics. You, however, need to know what to expect after prolonged use of the floor. For instance, the flooring comprises tannins that oxidize and darken upon prolonged exposure to UV light. But how long does it take for Brazilian cherry floors to darken?

This is one of the primary concerns you would have as a homeowner using or intending to use the Brazilian cherry floors.

Tag along to learn about the length of time it will take your Brazilian cherry floors to darken and the potential causes of faster or slower darkening.

Read on to find out.

Also Read:

How long does It take for Brazilian cherry floors to darken?

Often, the Brazilian cherry floors darken over the first 6 months. However, this period varies depending on the degree of exposure to sunlight. The more you expose your floor to sunlight and artificial light, the faster it darkens. More often, some floors exposed to direct sunlight can begin fading as early as 3 months following installation.

Fortunately, you can benefit from darkened floors. For instance, a darker floor offers a more subtle tone, making it easier to decorate the space than the initially rich red color. The only drawback you would encounter is that darkening occurs unevenly and is sufficiently noticeable because it’s concentrated on the bare sections of the floor.

On the bright side, you can slow down the darkening to help maintain the floor’s initial tone for a more extended period. Also, if your floor already exhibits uneven darkening, you can take control before the situation exacerbates.

Here are a few essential tips on how to do so;

  • Wait for a few months before covering the floor. If you just installed the floor or newly stained it, you can get ahead of the situation by allowing the floor to darken before covering it with rugs or large furniture. This promotes gradual darkening of the floor evenly by exposing the entire flooring to sunlight.
  • Reorganize the space occasionally. You can do so periodically until the floor darkens evenly. Once you notice slight darkening on exposed areas, consider rearranging the furniture and pulling up the rugs to expose other sections as well.
  • Limit the amount of light reaching the floor. You can do so using blinds, heavy curtains or better still, installing a UV film. This practice goes a long way in minimizing the effect of UV light.

In these ways, you can slow down the rate of darkening while enabling the floor to darken evenly for a uniform outlook.

Does Brazilian cherry wood change color?

Yes. Cherry wood floors are made of tannins that are easily oxidized and are sensitive to UV light.  If you consistently expose your floor to UV light, the tannins will be oxidized, causing a color change. The more you expose the floor to sunlight, the faster it erodes and changes color.

Therefore, it’s essential to consider this factor when purchasing Brazilian cherry flooring. You may be pleased by the sample at the store and settle on the color it exhibits, only to find that the flooring turns out lighter than you expected.

Before settling on a sample’s shade, you should consider inquiring about the floor’s original color from the manufacturer or retailer. Aside from naturally darkening, you can also manipulate the floor’s color with dyes or stains of your choice so that the flooring adequately complements your space.

How to get rid of the red in Brazilian Cherry      

Brazilian cherry’s orange to red undertone can greatly contrast modern interiors, which entail more minimalist and practical designs. For this reason, you may want to tone down the red on your Brazilian cherry floor so that it can rhyme with the rest of the room.

Fortunately, Brazilian cherry floors are easily manipulatable, especially for DIY enthusiasts, apart from being adaptable. Ultimately, you can get rid of the red undertone by going darker or lighter as per your preference.

Below are a series of steps to help you achieve a more monochromatic floor:

How to get rid of the red in Brazilian Cherry 

Step 1: Sand the floor

Applying a sealer without sanding the floor first isn’t ideal as it will react with the stain and eventually damage your floor. Consider sanding as a form of preparation of the floor by smoothening the surface to improve its adherence to stain.

Thanks to its high density, sanding Brazilian cherry floors can be more demanding than its counterparts. It is important to arm yourself with tips on how best sand Brazilian cherry floors.

The first step is to ensure the floor is clean before sanding it. Also, while sanding to remove the finish, consider eliminating the floor’s imperfections to ease the process. Once you do so, vacuum the floor before going in with your sander again to remove the dirt.

You can start sanding with low-grit sandpaper and gradually increase the grit number until you sufficiently subdue the reddish undertone and achieve a finer floor surface. Try to minimize scratches as much as you can while at it. The goal is to get to the natural wood underlying the floor’s finish.

Step 2: Apply bleach

Sanding won’t eradicate the reddish color because Brazilian cherry is naturally red, hence the need to bleach it. Bleaching the floor will enable you to achieve a much less reddish pigmentation on the surface.

Also, note that this is an intense step through which you could use a professional’s assistance if you’re in doubt. Bleaching the floor can also be costly, but you may choose to do it yourself with must-have precautions, such as wearing protective gloves.

You can use normal bleach (A-B bleach) for this step. The number of bleaches you use or apply depends on how light you would like to go. A single bleach should sufficiently lighten the floor, but you can always add a second coat if you’d still want to go lighter.

Apply each coat evenly, preferably using a synthetic brush, while ensuring that each layer is devoid of puddles, as these will compromise the wood’s integrity. Once you apply the first coat, wait for about twenty minutes for the coat to settle.

If you choose to go in with a second coat, try to make it more intense than the first and allow the two coats to dry for three hours or so, depending on the prevailing conditions.

Step 3: Neutralize the bleach

This step is of paramount importance as it helps eliminate the chances of leaving behind bleach residues, which can compromise the final outlook or the floor’s integrity.

You can neutralize the floor by evenly applying a mixture of warm water and some vinegar on the floor a few hours after bleaching. Alternatively, allow the bleach to settle for twenty-four hours, then wash the floor to minimize the effects of bleach.

Step 4: Introduce the topcoat

You may use your preferred topcoat product for this step, depending on whether you want to go darker or lighter.

A high-quality water-based polyurethane should do the trick if you wish to achieve a lighter floor. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on applying the respective polyurethane for ultimate results.

In the long run, you can only subdue the reddish undertone in Brazilian cherry floors but completely removing it is almost impossible. However, the floor graces you with various options that suit your preference.

How do you darken Brazilian cherry hardwood floors?

Among the significant drawbacks of Brazilian cherry flooring is its incompatibility with modern household furnishings. Fortunately, you can counter this by manipulating the floor to appear darker, which tends to be easier than lightening its appearance.

The best way to darken the floor is to introduce a quality dark stain.

Here is a breakdown of the steps involved on how to darken cherry wood

Step 1: Prepping

Floor prep refers to the process of preparing an existing floor to receive new flooring to improve your old floor’s look, stay bonded, or lay flat. In some instances, the process involves the whole existing floors getting removed. You must be prepared for many issues if this ends up being the case.

Brazilian cherry hardwood floors stand out as being among the hardest and most dense flooring options. Note that prepping the floor is an indispensable step that precedes staining. Abrading the floor is, therefore, necessary to counter the floor’s hardness and open up its pores before staining. 

While sanding, you should consider using lower grit size to foster better stain penetration. You can sand cherry floors several times without tampering with the flooring’s overall design, which remains consistent throughout the boards. Sanding also helps eliminate any patches or scrapes on the floor to prevent the stain from highlighting such imperfections.

Step 2: Cleaning

The purpose of cleaning is mainly to eliminate the residues that follow the sanding process. For this step, choose vacuuming over mopping the floor. Unlike mopping, vacuuming or sweeping will help you remove the dust and eliminates any chances of solvents reacting with the stain.

Step 3: Staining

Staining should come soon after sanding for best results. The choice of stain depends on how dark you would like the floor to be and ranges from stains that exhibit medium brown to dark brown tones. Although these will significantly darken the floor, they may not eliminate its reddish undertone. You can also opt for a True Black stain if you’re looking to darken the floor completely.

Staining also goes a long way in concealing the floor’s imperfections, aside from enhancing its aesthetics. Be sure to stain the floor one coat at a time while allowing sufficient drying time in between coats to avoid ending up with excess stain.

Step 4: Coating

You should begin coating your floor once the stain coats are completely dry. Choose crystal clear sealers that exhibit tannin blocking elements and are immune to color change. These are more durable and can prevent unwanted darkening. Ensure you allow the coat to fully cure for about a week, depending on the manufacturer’s specifications, before subjecting the floor to high traffic or heavy furniture.

More importantly, if you consider refinishing your Brazilian cherry hardwood floor, it’s advisable to reach out to a professional for the best results.

How do you clean Brazilian cherry floors?

One feature that will make you fall in love with the Brazilian cherry floors is how easy they are to clean and maintain. Who does not want to stay in a clean and elegant space? No one.

The Brazilian cherry flooring boasts a protective coating finish that enhances that contributes to easy maintenance and cleaning. Besides, you can easily use the homemade solutions to realize the most eye-catching finish on the cherry floors. This reduces your expense on floor maintenance because you will not go for the more expensive products.

Then how do you clean the Brazilian Cherry Floors? The process is pretty simple, as illustrated below.

Step 1: Vacuum the floor

The first process of cleaning your Brazilian Cherry floors is vacuuming. The process eliminates the debris or dirt on the floor before using the homemade solution. Ideally, as a maintenance practice, you need to vacuum your cherry floors at least once a week.

Step 2: Make a homemade solution

With the Brazilian cherry floors, you do not need to buy expensive cleaning solutions from the stores. You can easily make one at home, a process that is also straightforward. Take a clean bucket and fill it with one-part glass cleaner and nine-part warm water. Make a solution.

Step 3: Use mob or clean towel

Into the resultant solution, dip a cleaning mop or a towel. Squeeze the mop to eliminate the excess moisture. The cherry floors can absorb the water, which can have detrimental effects. Hence, the moisture should be eliminated.

Step 4: Clean the Floor

You need to wipe across your wood flooring. If you have a towel, you may consider using a broom to help push and pull the towel over the floor. This will ensure you do not bend all the time.

Step 5: Rinse the Towel/Mop

Use a new cleaning solution to rinse your towel or mop. Allow your cherry hardwood floor to air-dry for at least two hours. The approach will eliminate all the moisture from the floor surface. You can then use your floors when it is entirely dry.

Brazilian cherry flooring problems

Installing Brazilian cherry floors can be one of the best decisions you’ll make for your home or office space. The floor’s superior durability coupled with the ability to adapt even in the presence of radiant heat makes this flooring a gem.

But like any other flooring option, Brazilian cherry floors have drawbacks that you must be wary of if you choose to install them in your home or office place.

Let’s discuss them.

High sensitivity to light

Cherry wood is bound to darken unevenly following prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Ultraviolet light from the sun tends to oxidize materials that make up the flooring, gradually changing its color. Therefore, expect the floor to fade over time, with the fading being more concentrated on bare sections that aren’t covered with a rug or hit directly by the sun’s rays.

You can prevent this drawback by using curtains or rugs to protect the floor from excessive sunlight exposure.

Also, consider waiting for about six months before covering the floor to allow even darkening.

Alternatively, staining could go a long way in minimizing darkening by safeguarding the floor from the effect of UV light. Darker stains even go an extra mile by concealing faded spots.

Weak sustainability

Brazilian cherry wood mainly originates from the heavily-logged Amazon regions, meaning it faces a risk of extinction. Its sustainability is therefore relatively weak compared to other types of wood. Also, its dwindling demand, thanks to the constantly changing modern trends,  only worsens the situation.

Moisture damage

Just like other wooden flooring options, Brazilian cherry is highly susceptible to moisture damage because wood is naturally porous. Therefore, if your home or office exhibits fluctuating humidity levels, it would be unsuitable for you to install this flooring option. 

Also, it isn’t an ideal option for the laundry room, kitchen, or other moisture-prone spaces. Exposure to moisture is more likely to result in mold growth and unwanted stains, which end up compromising the floor’s integrity.

Regular cleaning

The inability of Brazilian cherry floors to conceal dust particles or grime on the surface is also a deal-breaker. You will be forced to clean the floor at least once a day to eliminate dirt particles and topical spills.

If you fail to frequently clean up the floor, it will accumulate debris,  leaving visible scratches on the floor. Even worse is if your household includes kids and furbabies as you are more likely to clean the floor multiple times within a day to keep it spotless.

Discordance with modern trends

Brazilian cherry flooring often exhibits a deep burgundy-red undertone that barely rhymes with contemporary aesthetics. This factor tends to pose a challenge if you’re in the process of revamping your space because finding compatible colors, decorations, or patterns will be an uphill battle.

You can choose to refinish the floor with a dark stain, but this can be a deal-breaker when dealing with a small space because a darker floor makes the space appear confined.


For starters, hardwood floors are generally relatively expensive. Brazilian cherry flooring is among the hardwood flooring options that top the list in terms of high pricing. The initial cost of purchasing the flooring coupled with installation costs can force you to break the bank.

The only upside is that the flooring is cost-effective in the long run, thanks to its superior durability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Brazilian Koa darken over time?

Yes, Brazilian Koa, otherwise known as Tigerwood, is prone to darkening over time, just like all other hardwood floors. The name Tigerwood is due to its prominent tiger-like streaks that make the flooring stand out from different hardwood floor types.

The color and patterns that make up the sapwood initially contrast with the usually darker heartwood, bringing out the best in it.

However, the unique color and pattern are bound to fade over about ten years following installation. Fortunately, you can slow down its darkening by safeguarding the floor from direct exposure to UV light. By so doing, you can extend the longevity of the floor’s exemplary design.

What color is Brazilian Cherry wood?

Brazilian cherry wood floors can be anything between orange and reddish-brown and usually comprise contrasting colors to create a dramatic effect. The flooring also includes rich red undertones and various colors and patterns to choose from depending on preference. This unique color scheme contributes to the flooring’s warm feel, making it suitable for cozy spaces such as living rooms.

Are cherry floors dated?

Yes, the popularity of cherry floors dates back to about a decade ago. Most cherry floors exhibit contrasting grains coupled with vibrant colors and undertones, making blending the floor with modern household designs difficult.

This, however, doesn’t mean that you should do away with your cherry floor. There are various ways to manipulate the floor to make it more compatible with your modern interior. These include sanding and bleaching before introducing a calmer stain or finish, depending on your preference and budget.

Contemporary flooring designs feature subtle and neutral tones that integrate easily with primary colors and are, therefore, easier to decorate. In the case of cherry flooring, unless you stain the floor to become more subtle, you are bound to struggle with decorating or revamping your space.

Can cherry wood be stained dark?

Cherry wood can be stained dark and even better, is that most of them, especially Brazilian cherry, tend to accept and adapt to most stains easily. Even without staining, the floors are bound to darken over time following oxidation by UV rays.

Staining the floor is ideal for darkening the floor evenly and bringing out the undertones and fine grain. These floors exhibit high adaptability, and you can even go lighter. More importantly, cherry floors are tough and, therefore, require adequate prepping before staining.

How do you darken cherry stain?

The simplest way to darken cherry floors is to allow the process to occur naturally by exposing the floor to sunlight rather than using area rugs. You can also rearrange your furniture occasionally so that the floor darkens evenly.

However, if you’d like to eliminate the reddish color of the floor, you may want to perform the process manually using darker stains. You should sand the floor with medium-grit sandpaper to sufficiently open up the pores for better stain penetration. Follow up by water popping to further enhance penetration and counter the floor’s hardness. Also, while staining, apply at least two stain coats to achieve a darker shade. Finish off by ‘dirty wiping’ the excess stain rather than wiping it all off, then allow the stain to dry completely.

Can Brazilian cherry floors be refinished?

Yes, they can. Most hardwood floors can be refinished, and Brazilian cherry floors aren’t an exception. Brazilian cherry floors that are almost impossible to refinish are those that are too old and are better of with a replacement.

Otherwise, you can effectively refinish Brazilian cherry floors to a more subtle look. Fortunately, the process barely differs from that of other hardwood floors. Consider sanding the floor adequately before bleaching it for best results.

You can then finish by introducing a darker or lighter stain, significantly altering the floor’s red undertone. Additionally, consider using a matte finish to make the reddish color more indistinct. These are but a few ways through which you can efficiently manipulate the floor to achieve a more monochromic appearance.

Does Brazilian Koa darken over time?

Yes. Over time, the Brazilian Koa can darken, producing a deeper reddish-brown color. The Brazilian Koa is dominant in the South American nations like Brazil and Peru, where it is grown.

Is Cherry Good for flooring?

Yes. Cherry offers an excellent tree choice for hardwood floors. If you are looking for a floor type that will complement both the traditional and modern home décor, you must opt for cherry hardwood. With their renowned red town, Cherry hardwood offers you an ideal option to realize the right décor for your house.

The video below shows how to change the color of Brazilian Cherry Floors


Ultimately, although dated, good old cherry floors are an ideal flooring option owing to their outstanding durability. Brazilian cherry, for instance, exhibits extreme hardness and high density, making it the perfect fit for high traffic areas. Darkening over time is, however, a significant downside when it comes to cherry floors. 

Brazilian cherry can begin darkening about six months or less after installation if exposed to a considerable amount of sunlight. Fortunately, the darkening can enhance the floor’s aesthetics as long as it occurs evenly. 

You can promote even darkening of the floor by periodically covering different floor sections or exposing the entire floor to UV light. Staining the floor darker also comes in handy when revamping your space and gives your Brazilian cherry floor a whole new look.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top