Wood Floors Go Gray

By Rebecca Thienes Cherny | Updated Mar 28, 2018 2:37 PM

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Weathered wood floors grayed from years of wear go so well with the ubiquitous reclaimed wood and industrial furniture in today’s market. What if you love that look but don’t have years to wait for the floors to age naturally? Monocoat makes products expressly for this purpose.

Turn Your Wood Floors Gray

Phto: RCherny

Launched in 1962, Monocoat operates right here in the U.S., out of Lithonia, Georgia. I had the opportunity to use this product in my own home with good results. First, our contractor’s crew installed white oak plank flooring in a generously-sized five inch width. Along with the gray tone, I hoped wider floor planks would recall historical floors, typically wider than today’s 2-1/4” standard width.

After cleaning the floors of dust, the crew applied the “Fumed” product (buy online). Utilized on natural unfinished oak flooring, it reacts to the tannic acids in the wood, turning it gray. One liter runs about $50 and covers 200 square feet, and the product releases no fumes or vapors during application.

Wood Floors Go Gray - Applying Fumed

Photo: RCherney

Knowing the tell-tale sign of a new floor is its shiny finish, we wanted to skip polyurethane and go with a more matte oil finish. The Natural Oil Finish from Monocoat has no VOCs (that’s “volatile organic compounds” to you and me), and it toned down the rather intense reaction between the white oak’s tannins and the Fumed product. Note that Monocoat offers its oil finish in several variations. I chose white. You can buy it online.

Wood Floors Go Gray - Action Shot

Photo: RCherny

One liter of the Natural Oil Finish typically covers 400 square feet of flooring. Compare that with traditional finishing techniques, which require three gallons and three coats for the same results.

Buffing was our last step. This evened out and sealed the finish.

Wood Floors Go Gray - Buffing

Photo: RCherny

The flooring crew used the Monocoat products for the first time at our home, and we were all unsure how it would come out, but we all agreed in the end that the results were as promised. For more info on the Fumed product and available oil finishes, and to see other photos of completed projects, visit Monocoat.

For more on flooring, consider:

Wood Flooring 101
How To: Dye Concrete Floors
Installing a Herringbone-Patterned Flooring