Red oak to darken?

Q: We bought a newly built home that sat empty for five months. The builder had already installed unstained (but finished with one coat of oil based polyurethane) red oak floors in the living and dining room. We paid to have red oak floors added to the remaining rooms. The new floors that were just installed are at least 2 shades lighter than the five month old floors.

The company that installed the floors said they would darken naturally in about 3 months and would match the existing floors. Is this true? The floor installer said that if they did not darken in three months he could put another coat of polyurethane on the floors with a golden oak tint to darken the floors to match. Is this the correct approach to getting a match?

A: Red oak doesn’t change as rapidly as some species. The colour difference could just as easily be because one area is a different “grade” of oak. For example, “#1 common” compared to “select” and better. While stains can be added to penetrating oils such as Waterlox, tung oil based product, I am not a fan of adding it to polyurethane because the stain will not have any bond to the wood itself. If the colour issue is the grade of wood used, then even resanding won’t change a thing. But of course, since I am not there, I have now way of knowing.