2022 | COMPLETE GUIDE: Whitewashed Hardwood Flooring

There are a lot of hardwood flooring ideas for people who want a distinctive look on their floors. Whitewashed hardwood floors are also one such example. A lot of people prefer having a floor that looks whitewashed. If you are also a fan of whitewashed hardwood flooring, this article is a complete guide into the concept, procedure, things to do and avoid.

What is Whitewashed Hardwood Flooring?

Whitewashed hardwood flooring is a type of floor finished in which the floor appears to have been rustled whitewashed. It is one of the most popular flooring trends. It is considered to create a farmhouse-like appearance. It also provides an airier, fresh, and lighter-looking coastal décor. Because it is a lighter shade, it also expands the overall space, and also provides a wider look as well. It has a lot of other benefits as well. Below is a list of a few benefits of whitewashed hardwood flooring.


  • It is better at hiding the dust and scratches from the surface of the hardwood floor. Floors with darker shades mostly tend to expose the dirt and dust over the surface of the floor, but lighter shades can hide this dust and scratches. As it is a very bright shade, it is more able to hide scratches, dents, and dust from the surface of the floor. So, if you want a floor that requires less often cleaning, and can hide scratches and dents, it is one of the best choices to finish your floor.
  • Whitewashed hardwood floors look very airer, fresh, and modern. This is the reason they are being used more frequently in recent years. They match all the contemporary interiors and kitchen cabinet settings and wall paints. So, if you finish your hardwood floor this way, you will be able to create a perfect-looking modern floor in your home that matches all your interiors, and wall-paints. 
  • It is one of the fastest-growing flooring trends and based on the statistics, it will last longer. It is not one of the contemporary hardwood flooring trends that vanish after a few years. So, if you finish your hardwood floor whitewashed, it would not only provide a beautiful looking floor but will also remain a trend as well. So, if you like to stay up to date, or stay according to the trends, it is one of the best flooring trends to follow.

How to Whitewash Hardwood Flooring?

To whitewash a hardwood floor properly, you would need to choose the right type of hardwood flooring species, the right type of stain, and polyurethane sealer. To create a perfect whitewashed look into your floor, this is very important that you choose the right type of hardwood flooring species. There are a lot of hardwood species and each hardwood species has its pros and cons.

Some hardwood species have properties that make them the best choice for whitewashed hardwood flooring but some hardwood species are the ones that are not good for whitewashed flooring. Apart from choosing the right type of hardwood flooring species, it is also important that you choose the right type of stain for the whitewashed floor. There are a lot of hardwood flooring stains that are used for whitewashing the hardwood floors. Some are meant for the whitewashing hardwood floors, but some are not.

So make sure that you pick the right type of hardwood flooring stain and choose the right type of gloss that you want. After picking up these two, it is time to carefully choose the floor finishing sealer or polyurethane. There are a lot of types of floor sealers but polyurethane is one of the best. There are two types of polyurethanes, one is water-based and another is oil-based. Choose the water-based polyurethane,  because it works better with whitewashed floorings.

Tips for choosing Whitewashed Hardwood Flooring:

Here are some tips that can help choose whitewashed hardwood flooring.

  • Plank Width: If you are installing a new whitewashed floor, you must consider the plank width. As you know hardwood flooring planks come in different sizes, and to create a perfect look into your whitewashed hardwood floor, you should choose the right size for plank width.

    If your planks are shorter, it would significantly make your room look smaller, but if the planks are wider, it would make your room look expanded. This is a trick that you can use to make your room look bigger or smaller. If you have a very large room that you want to look smaller. Use the planks with shorter width, and if you have a smaller room or medium room that you want to look bigger, use the larger and wider planks.
  • Solid vs Engineered Hardwood: When it comes to choosing whitewashed hardwood flooring, you can choose either an engineered hardwood floor or solid hardwood flooring. An engineered hardwood floor comes already finished mostly and all you need to do is to install it on your floor. But it limits the options and varieties to create the optimal look that you want. But if you’re using solid hardwood flooring, you will have an unlimited range of varieties to try.

    But in markets, most of the whitewashed hardwood floors that are available are engineered hardwood floors. Also, the price for wider solid hardwood flooring planks is not very affordable which makes them an even less suitable option for whitewashed hardwood flooring. Before you choose any type of hardwood, please try to research the solid vs engineered hardwood flooring, this would give you better insight into what you should pick for your floor.
  • Wood Species: Not all hardwood floors are made up of the same hardwood species. There are a lot of plant species that are used for making hardwood flooring planks. These are also called wood species are hardwood species. Their names are based on the plant or tree species that was used for the extraction of timber and hardwood. For creating perfect whitewashed hardwood flooring, you must choose the right type of hardwood flooring species.

    Some hardwood species look lighter and give whiter shade, such as white oak hardwood flooring species. These species are good for whitewashed hardwood flooring because they already have a whitish and lighter look. So, staining these hardwood species would be easier, and maintaining the whitewashed look over these floors would also be much easier. So, you must choose your hardwood species carefully. Try research about different hardwood flooring species, and you would be able to find the one that is perfect for whitewashed hardwood flooring.
  • Gloss Level: It is also very important to pick the right type of gloss for finishing your hardwood flooring. There are four basic types of hardwood floor finishes based on the amount of luster in them. Satin, matte, semi-gloss, and glossy. Each has a different amount of luster in it, matte has 25%, satin has 40%, semi-gloss has 55%, and glossy has 70% luster.

    The more luster you add to your floor, the more reflective your floor would appear. But this is not a great idea for whitewashed hardwood flooring. So, you should always use the low sheen or satin level of sheen in your hardwood flooring. This would create a perfect and balanced looking whitewashed hardwood flooring. 

Best Stains, Sealer, and Finishes:

To create perfect-looking whitewashed hardwood flooring, you must learn a little more about 3 basic things that you should use, or the three best things that you should use. Below is detail about these tree’s best stains, finishes, and techniques.

  • Use White Stains: There are a lot of stains available in the markets, try to choose the one that provides a white look. If you are looking on the internet there are a lot of white stains available. Also in the offline markets and superstores, there are a lot of white-colored stains available for the hardwood flooring. You should only choose white stains, and avoid mixing them with any other color to create a white-effect. This might damage the entire look of the floor.
  • Use a White-Tinted Sealer: sealers are the products that protect the surface of your hardwood flooring from damages, such as scratches and water. To create a perfect and balanced looking whitewashed hardwood flooring you must use a white-tined floor sealer. Some sealers are transparent, or white, but some sealers give any other shade once applied.

    This would destroy the look of your whitewashed floor if you choose the wrong type of floor sealer. It is better if you choose a white-tinted or completely transparent floor sealer. This would further contribute towards making your whitewashed hardwood flooring look even better.
  • Use Water-based Polyurethane: As you already know that there are two different types of polyurethanes, one is water-based and another is oil-based polyurethane. For whitewashed hardwood flooring, you should choose water-based polyurethane. This is because the water-based polyurethane does not change the stain color. After all, it is transparent. But the oil-based polyurethane can change the color of the floor finishing as it is not as transparent as the water-based polyurethane is. This enhanced transparency of the water-based polyurethane makes it a perfect fit for whitewashed hardwood flooring.

Mistakes to avoid Whitewashed Hardwood Flooring:

During the process of finishing a whitewashed hardwood flooring, there are a lot of common mistakes that people make. They mostly think that the material they are using would make their hardwood floor look whiter and brighter. But this is not the case, it can either destroy the natural look of hardwood flooring and make it look unrealistic.

Using paint on the floor to make it look whitewashed, is one of the greatest mistakes that people make. You cannot simply just apply paint on the surface of your floor, because it would just sit there, and become dry. During the process of paint drying on the surface of a hardwood floor, cracks would start to appear on the white painted surface. Within days, the look of your floor would be destroyed. That is why you should not use any kind of paint in whitewashed hardwood flooring.

Another common mistake that people make is choosing the wrong type of hardwood species. There are a lot of hardwood species that are brighter and have lighter shades, and colors. But some species are the ones that have darker and non-white shades. These are not the right type of hardwood species that you should choose for whitewashed hardwood flooring. Choose the brighter one and leave the darker hardwood flooring species. But a lot of people choose the dark shades of the wood. This makes it difficult to whitewash the hardwood floor and create a perfect look.

Choosing the wrong type of stain, sealer, and polyurethane is another common mistake that people make during the whitewashing of hardwood floors. Most people choose an oil-based polyurethane coat because it lasts longer but they forget that this is not the right type of polyurethane for hardwood flooring as it creates a yellowish or dark look. This dark look would destroy the whitewashing of the entire floor. So, it is important to not choose an oil-based polyurethane, a darker and brighter sheen and stain, and a colorful sealer. 

White Oak vs Red Oak for Whitewashed Hardwood Flooring:

White Oak hardwood flooring is considered better for the whitewashed hardwood floors. The logic behind this choice is that the white oak hardwood flooring has colors that are brighter and lighter and it can easily be stained white. While the red oak hardwood flooring species have undertones in the wood and that is why staining it white is a difficult task. The undertones and pinkish grains in the red oak hardwood flooring make it difficult to stain because they require thorough bleaching. To avoid complications in this process, it is better to choose the white oak hardwood flooring. Also, white oak hardwood flooring is comparatively more affordable than red oak hardwood flooring. So, you can also save some money on that as well.


Whitewashed hardwood floor finishing is one of the fastest-growing flooring trends. It is used for the creation of a perfectly balanced, brighter, contemporary, and modern-looking hardwood floor. The whitewashed hardwood flooring works with every kind of wall-paints and furniture, also it works with most of the kitchen cabinets as well. So, if you are also choosing whitewashed hardwood flooring, you are also making the right decision.

But it is not an easy task to stain your hardwood floor to a white color or create a whitewashed hardwood flooring finish. It requires a lot of knowledge and the right type of materials. The first and most important thing that you should know for whitewashed hardwood flooring is that you should know what type of hardwood flooring species are better for whitewashed hardwood flooring. After that, you should learn and choose either solid hardwood flooring for your whitewashed floor.

Once the wood species and wood type has been selected it is time to select the right type of stain -white stain- a transparent or white hardwood flooring sealer, and water-based polyurethane. First, apply stain over the floor and seal it, then apply one or two coats of the water-based polyurethane. Now wait for the floor to dry, and then you can walk over its surface.

  1. Question: How to whitewash Red Oak hardwood flooring?

    Although the red oak hardwood flooring species is not the perfect one for whitewashed hardwood flooring, still you can whitewash it. But first, you will have to apply bleach on the surface of the red oak hardwood flooring species. This bleach will take away the pinkish tone from the wood. After that, you can use the stain, and other materials to create a whitewashed hardwood flooring finish.

  2. Question: How to sand the floors for a whitewashed look?

    Whitewashed hardwood floors look better if they are sanded before the application of stain, sealer, or polyurethane. This is because sanding creates and exposes the cracks in the surface of the flooring planks. These pores are filled properly when stain is applied. This helps in deeper absorption of the stain to create a perfect look. If the floor is sanded after the application of stain, during the sanding there is a chance that the stain would get ruptured and cracked from different points. Also, the appearance of the floor plank that is whitewashed, would not be balanced.

  3. Question: How long should you wait before walking on the whitewashed Floor?

    If you have used a water-based polyurethane, you should know that it dries much faster than oil-based polyurethane. This allows you to walk over the surface of the newly finished floor after, 24 hours, but you should be careful and should not wear shoes or socks. After 3 to 4 days, you can wear socks but you should not wear shoes. After a week, you can walk over the surface of your floor with your shoes on. You can also bring in your furniture on the floor as well. You should apply area rugs once the floor has completely dried, at least wait for two months, and then use floor mats and area rugs.