Pickled Floor Refinishing

Pickled floor refinishing without sanding can turn out beautiful with the Worn Wood Magic method – read on to find out why:

When you talk about pickled floors, first of all you have to determine what is a pickled floor. In its bare essence, a “pickled” floor is one that is white in its stain tone. There are different methods as to how all the floor gets to be white, and we’ll go into that very quickly before getting into the refinishing of the pickled floor.pickled floor refinishing

The traditional way to create a pickled floor is to sand the floor and then bleach the floor in some manner. Then a white stain is applied, and then a hard finish is put over the stain. There are some processes on some types of floors where the bleaching step is skipped.

pickled floor refinishing kitchen after WornWoodMagic
pickled floor refinishing kitchen after WornWoodMagic

In any case, what you end up with is a white wood floor – various shades of white, of course.

These white, pickled floors can be quite beautiful:

They really brighten up the room and if done correctly the wood grain still shows through the stain. Pickled floors  used to be much more common than they are today. It seems that they were part of a “modern” sort of look that was in vogue for a while, and when people found that they had no clue as to how to maintain their pickled floors then eventually almost all the floors got converted to normal darker-stain colored wood floors.
Here’s the good news: white, pickled floors can be refinished without sanding and can look beautiful!

The problem right off the bat with white wood floors is that when they get a scratch, then the scratch is very dark or even black looking. It only takes one scratch to mar the effect of a beautiful white wood floor, and many pickled floors get worn and have this black-and-white look that is not pretty at all.

It’s almost counterintuitive to think that a white wood floor can be refinished without sanding and look great, but here’s why:

The white pickled effect relies on heavy staining of the wood, and part of what we do here at Worn Wood Magic is create custom stain colors to match worn areas to non-worn areas, so we create custom custom pickled flooring stains to match the existing wood and make the colors blend in and turn out very nicely.

As part of this process, quite often we bleach the worn areas on the pickled floor so that they it are as white as possible before we create our custom stain color.
So between the custom stain color in the bleaching, we achieve a very nice blend
for your white pickled wood floors.

There is one thing about pickled floors that, despite their beauty, can be a problem, and that is with all the heavy stain that is applied as part of the pickling process, white wooden floors are not as hard in their finish as regular finished wood floors. Stain, by definition is not a hard substance and when so much stain is applied to a wooden surface that it makes it white, then more often than not it is not going to be very hard.

So for this reason pickled floors need to be refinished and or re-stained more often than normal floors.

There’s one more part of this process that is crucial also, and that is to use high-quality non-yellowing water-based polyurethanes. We always use Bona Swedish water-based polyurethanes for our wood floor work, and they make the floors look great!

So if you are needed some pickled floor refinishing, we at Worn Wood Magic can certainly take care of that for you-between the custom stain colors and the Swedish finish you will have a beautiful white pickled wood floor again!

wood floor refinishing Marietta

Here’s an example of a wood floor refinishing Marietta job we did not too long ago – please check out the video below.

We do a lot of vintage floors, but this was a much more contemporary one, probably about 20 years old.  It looked like it still had the original finish and stain color from when the house was built, which was a golden oak color.

Golden oak is a beautiful color for wood floors, especially for oak floors.  With pine floors usually you get a natural yellow or golden color, although we often have to restain pine floors with some color in the golden oak range of color as part of the Worn Wood Magic process.

The main areas that needed work on this particular floor were in the den right off of the deck, in the kitchen in a few particular spots, in a hallway, and a certain wear area in a bedroom.

The homeowner was smart and called us in pretty much in the nick of time to restore the floor before things got too out of hand.  The den area just outside the deck entry was of a particular concern, thinking that there might be water damage, but we were able to get to it and even out the color.

wood floor refinishing Marietta oak floor
wood floor refinishing Marietta oak floor

This was particularly a good thing because with the oak floor re-sealed again it should help considerably with preventing any water damage from walking in with wet feet from the deck in the future.

So, this wood floor refinishing  Marietta job turned out nice as you can see – love doing those golden oak floors!

Wood Floor Refinishing North Druid Hills Atlanta

The main floor of this wood floor refinishing North Druid Hills Atlanta area home had oak flooring throughout, a nice golden oak color. There were a few major wear areas, though: the kitchen area,   and the dining room around the dining room table

As you’ll see in the video, the kitchen was quite a worn wood floor and we had to make custom stain colors to restore the wood floor and make everything blend together again – all with beautiful no dust refinishing results.

When we stripped all the dirt etc. out of the wood in the kitchen, the true extent of the wear on the oak floor was revealed – it was quite extensive. When the floor is at this stage of the Worn Wood Magic process, then all worn areas are much lighter than the surrounding lesser-worn wood. The boards didn’t look like this before the stripping process because the worn wood was holding all the dirt, grease and grime in the grain and fibers of the wood.

As you also can see in the video, worn wood in this state is actually quite dirty, but the dirt is concealed and perceived as the color of the floor – and it’s not.

So if you have any kids who get on the floor a lot, especially if they are at the crawling stage, it is really important to get your floor stripped, stained and re-sealed so that it is safe for your kids again.

Once the floor has been resealed and the grain filled in again with our high durability Swedish finish, then it is once again easy to maintain – when it is in the worn wood state, it is almost impossible to get clean, because the floor is essentially a giant sponge. Everything soaks right into the wood.

Nevertheless, after creating two different custom stain colors just for the kitchen alone, we were able to make the worn wood blend in with the rest of the floor and we were able to restore the wood floor to an easily maintainable state.

The dining room around the dining room table:

A wear area had been created on one side of the table (and not on the other side) because the worn area was narrower and led directly into the kitchen and garage. Further wear had been caused by pulling chairs out from the table across the grain of the wood. It was just another case of stripping, staining and blending, and then recoating to fix it and make it look really nice again.

Wood Floor Refinishing North Druid Hills Atlanta
Wood Floor Refinishing North Druid Hills Atlanta

So this wood floor refinishing North Druid Hills Atlanta area had its challenges but we ones that we had encountered many times before and we were able to restore the wood floor to beauty once again.

Pickled Floor Before-After Refinishing

This pickled floor before-after refinishing project was a lot of work – being a parquet floor with a lot of wear areas, you could say it was one of our “extreme” WornWoodMagic projects, of which you can find other examples of on this site.

White or ‘pickled’ floors are the ONLY kind of floors where we can potentially change the color of the floor.

In this particular case, the floor had areas that were much darker than the other areas.  These very dark, very worn areas had to be lightened as much as possible to build them back up to make them blend in with the rest of the floor areas as much as possible.  For this reason, we found it necessary to lighten the floor color in general.

In the before and after floor refinishing video, it is obvious what areas these were – definite wear patterns.

The other situation was dealing with a lot of water damage to the floor, where the windows in the past had leaked, causing the parquet to darken, separate and swell.  These areas were considerably improved by using the appropriate color floor filler, plus re-staining with an eye to lighten the areas as much as possible.

So, this pickled floor before-after refinishing project was definitely worth doing and certainly a win all around.

Hardwood floor refinishing Virginia Highlands

Hardwood floor refinishing Virginia Highlands is something we’ve been called upon to do a lot, because the vast majority of the homes are older, with great oak and pine floors. Virginia Highlands is an absolutely fabulous area of Atlanta, a few miles from downtown.

If you’d like to watch the before and after video and commentary, here it is:

This particular hardwood refinishing floor job was oak floors throughout, except for the kitchen and a narrow hallway, which were both pine.

As soon as we came in, the potential was obvious: Really nice floors that needed their finish brought up to a level that would bring out the true beauty of the floors.

The owner was really smart – he knew that by putting this small investment in his wood floors that the presentation of his home would really “pop” – and it worked!

You see, when a buyer first walks into a home, that first impression is really important. What we gave him were gleaming floors – not gleaming with a cheap junky finish that wouldn’t last, but with our high-end Bona Swedish finish with a ‘satin’ sheen. So what you got was this ‘look’ that blended perfectly with the rest of the house – understated beauty, which fits in perfectly with the Virginia Highlands area.

And the best part about it was that that first impression went on, and on, and on, throughout all the rooms, because every room except some of the bathrooms had wood floors, and that special gleam was there throughout.

There were two major challenges, though, for our hardwood refinishing Worn Wood Magic method, ones that I’m pretty sure no one else would have been able to handle.

First of all, the kitchen floor was absolutely raw – literally raw – it had no finish on it whatsoever. And, being a kitchen and the focal point for traffic for the entire house, the floor had gotten dirtier and dirtier and the wood had gotten darker and darker in the traffic areas.

This is a serious situation, especially when it comes to pine floors, because pine wood is so soft and open-grained. This kitchen floor had been pounded for decades, and we were there to turn it around in a day. But as you can see from the pictures and the video, we did it!

We literally had to custom blend two different colors of our waterbase stain, just for the kitchen.
Virginia Highlands hardwood floor refinishing before






KITCHEN in PROCESS: lots of dirt to lift out!!
Hardwood wood floor refinishing in Virginia Highlands dirty!






Hardwood floor refinishing Virginia Highlands kitchen






There was one other detail that was frustrating but had become part of the character of the wood, and there wasn’t much we could do about it. What it was, was a small area just outside a shower enclosure in one of the bathrooms. As you can see from the pictures, the small area was obviously where a bathmat had been for years. It also was clear that the bathmat had had a rubber backing to it, so it ate into the finish on the wood floor a bit and it also caused the wood floor underneath the rubber bathmat to age into a much different character than the rest of the surrounding wood.

As you can see, the rubber-backed bathmat caused the wood underneath to turn a different color. This was not something we could do anything about, because color changes of this type are very far down into the grain of the wood and the only way to change and blend in the color would have been to completely sand down the entire floor to bare wood – and that’s not something we do.

So, we had to just explain this and also point out that whoever bought the house would also have a bathmat there at all times also because it is the first step out of a shower directly onto a wood floor – and putting a bathmat there completely masks the problem (how do you like my virtual bathmat? lol)

A very difficult issue that we addressed as best we could was an area in the bathroom where mats had been on the floor for so long that the floor was of a completely different character in those areas:
Hardwood wood floor refinishing in Virginia Highlands bathroom floor - before





wood bathroom floor






No Doubt there will ALWAYS be a Bath Mat there –
Notice how placing a (virtual) bathmat in the area pretty much eliminates the difference:
wood bathroom floor with bathmat






Then there was this back-entry room leading off of the deck, which surprisingly enough was in even worse shape than the kitchen was:

This was because of water being tracked in directly from the deck, and what it looked like dogs had at one time been tracking in lots of mud and dirt and scratching down and wearing out the floor. Plus there was new wood installed along an edge of the room, and we needed to match and blend the old and new wood as best as it possibly be done.

Dennis did his faux thing to make it blend, and made about three different stain colors just for that room. It can be frustrating and ironic sometimes to work on floors in this kind of shape and in this situation, because it was such a small area and yet to do it right and make it look nice enough to blend with the rest of the house, it took almost as much work in that small area as it did the rest of the house!

“Breakfast nook” which had new wood installed that was a different species of wood than that adjacent to it, and the color and the grain of the installation came nowhere close to the original wood:




Wood floor breakfast nook after






This Virginia Highlands hardwood wood floor refinishing job really was a major work, with several different challenges we had to overcome as best as possible with this floor – 3 different kinds of wood, floors that had been under rugs vs. those that had not, extreme wear areas, new wood installed next to very worn wood, wood that had been under rubber mats in a bathroom (cured differently), etc.

Plus the floor in the worn areas was full of dirt and grit and we had to build it up from a completely raw state but it all turned out well and we’re proud of our work – just love how that subtle gleam comes through in the pictures and video of this Virginia Highlands hardwood wood floor refinishing job!