Is it possible to match existing timber floors with an extension or a replacement?
The scenario: you’ve got timber flooring that is gorgeous and too beautiful to replace BUT you’re renovating, and the new flooring will meet the old. What to do without ripping up and replacing the lot? Should you match in some new timber next to the old?
Know your timber
Whether your floors are 6 or 60 years old they will have aged from when they were first laid. As a natural product the colour of timber deepens and darkens over time. The coating of timber also impacts on how the colour darkens over time. The species of timber used on your floors can also impact how much it changes over time.
Timber flooring can be matched however it needs to be done with the knowledge that it will not be an exact match. The newer flooring will usually be lighter in colour and how much the colour varies is not an exact science.
Getting it right
The way to get the match as close as possible and the only way we recommend matching existing flooring is by re-sanding the older floors to bring them back to as close to their original colour as possible. The entire floor is then coated with the same finish. The results are varied, as evidenced in the imagery, and depending on the area you are replacing the flooring from can result in a great finish.
Using a stain is an option to get colours closer to a match but it can take away from the natural colour effect of the timber.
Understanding that there is a variation between the colour of the old and new flooring is key.
Below is an example of flooring in a restaurant that underwent a renovation. The flooring was replaced in some sections and blended with the rustic style.
This is an example of parquetry flooring that was matched. The original flooring was sanded back, new timber of the same type was added from the doorway into the new section and then finished with the same top coat. The result was a relatively seamless transition from old parquetry to new.
Whereas the example below shows an 8 year old Spotted Gum flooring that has been matched with new Spotted Gum, however the older timber has not been sanded back. The result of the age and oiling of the original Spotted Gum makes it a huge variation in colour of flooring.
A 60 year old Tallow wood timber floor (below) needed patching with some replacement timber. The original floor was sanded back however due to the large age difference in the timber, there is still a marked difference between the new and old timbers (both Tallow wood).
Below is a patch in Ironbark Parquetry that had to be repaired due to water damage. This floor was not very old (about 6 years) and the whole area was re-sanded and coated. The varied colours of Ironbark timber also help disguise the new block from old ones. As you can see the result is seamless.
Consulting with a trusted flooring expert is critical in ensuring you get the outcome you desire when matching timber flooring. We recommend not cutting any corners when it comes to prepping all floors and finishing the entire area with renewed sanding and coating.