Why did the floors look nothing like the sample photos on the poly and natural stain cans?

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Q: After sanding our floors, they were a nice, light golden color. After applying gloss poly, they looked much, much darker and reddish! We decided to go oil based, natural stain in the other rooms and the same thing happened! Why did the floors look nothing like the sample photos on the poly and natural stain cans?

A: Every floor is different. Especially with very old floors. Not only do they get darker with age, but they may have years of grime and various finishes, cleaners and chemicals that have seeped deeper into the surface.

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