Is there any way to darken a floor that has a ceramic finish?

Q: Is there a way to darken a floor that has a ceramic finish? Gel stain? Another coating of ceramic finish with some color? (Our contractor was not truthful about color of floor and will not be hired again – a white maple floor does not fit in my 100+ year-old house.)

A: My direct and simple answer is NO.  Ceramic coating are extremely tough.  They are designed to be abrasion resistant.  This enables these floors to be more wear resistant.  But it is also a draw back.  It is so abrasion resistant that it presents a big problem when the time comes to apply a maintenance coat.  The finish can’t simply be screen buffed as a typical polyurethane finished floor can be.  The screen and polisher won’t touch the finish.  Even sanding them to clean wood and starting over is a huge job; double the work. 

Because of this difficulty some finish manufacturers have created chemical preparations to apply which are supposed to enable another coat of finish to be applied and actually bond to the existing finish.  I don’t ever recommend colouring a finish and applying it to a floor but more so in this case.  Whatever you apply likely won’t adhere and you will have to have this floor sanded to bare wood and start from scratch.

I can appreciate white stain being out of place in a very old house. Bamboo would be in the same category I would think.

Follow-up Q: Thank you so much for responding.  So, my only solution would be to have it sanded down and refinished again?  I did not know I was getting a ceramic finish until after the fact  – I’m more of an old-fashioned varnish person, myself.  If I were to have the floor redone, what finish would you recommend?  We have an old farm house, and it will never be a showcase – just want it to feel warm and congruent.

A: Yes, that is what I’m saying.  And no doubt your floor has micro beveled edges which will have to be removed.  And the wood is maple? This is a killer job.

Over the second half of my career I really came to rely on Poloplaz finishes, especially Primero.  Go with satin or matte.

Leave a Comment