Add a bit of colour

In his series of articles highlighting technical issues to do with wood flooring and woodcare, our Technical Manager Richard Aylen explains how wood dyes and colouring processes work

Junckers Rustic Oil in Anthracite Grey adds a deep, dark finish to the wide board flooring in a Danish furniture store

One of the many reasons why beautiful timber floors have been around for so long is that they blend perfectly with many styles of interior. In common with other natural materials, timber may be used next to a wide variety of other colours and textures. The colours that nature provides are very familiar to most of us, but we can create even more choices by using stains, textures and colouring processes.

What options are there if you’re looking for a floor with a coloured finish? It might be a new floor or refurbishment of an old one – there are a few popular choices, each with its own pros and cons.

For refurbishments, a decision must be made if the products to be used will be from one manufacturer that are guaranteed to work together. Alternatively, there is the option to “mix and match” using wood dye from one supplier and lacquer from another. If the latter method is chosen, the flooring contractor needs to guarantee that the products offered are compatible. If in doubt, always do a test area and be aware of the risk that manufacturers sometimes alter formulations… so what works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. The timber species may also affect the result. Some water-based finishes may not perform well on naturally oily tropical hardwoods, but will be perfectly fine on traditional species such as oak and ash.

Let’s look at some of the choices that are available for customers who want to add colour their floors.

Junckers Prelak White primer adds a white wash to a solid hardwood floor

Coloured Primers

These will usually be water-based and used instead of a clear primer. As well as providing the desired colour,  the primer will reduce the “gluing effect” that can occur with water-based finishes. A good, and very popular, example is Junckers Prelak White.

Primers provide an even, transparent “wash” effect and work well on wood that may have a patchy finish if a conventional wood dye is used e.g. maple or beech. Skill and care are needed during application to avoid overlaps, especially on darker, parquet style floors. The primer needs to be over-coated with clear lacquer and it is safest to use a lacquer recommended by the primer manufacturer.

Not strictly a coloured finish; “Invisible” primers and lacquers are fairly new to the UK market. They are used where the final colour of the floor needs to be as close as possible to bare sanded wood. Their “invisibility” works in two ways; one, that they have a very “flat” matt surface which gives the impression that the wood has no coating. Secondly, they change the colour of the wood very little. That said,  these are often normal properties of many water-based primers whether marketed as “invisible or not. Best results are achieved on light coloured timbers as some colour change will be seen when applied to very dark woods.

Wood Dyes

These are low-solids, fast drying products, not to be confused with coloured varnishes or “wood stains”. They must be protected with lacquer. The “rule of thumb” is that if the wood dye is organic solvent-based, a water-based lacquer is most likely to be suitable for overcoating, and vice versa. This must not be fully relied upon though, and a test area should always be done prior to treating the whole floor. Often, the lacquer used to over-coat the dye will be from a different manufacturer.

Dyes are easy to apply using a cloth or pad and it is fairly easy to avoid overlap marks etc. They are fast drying, so the first coat of lacquer or primer can be applied soon after. Bear in mind that stained floors may be difficult to patch repair – especially if the colour has faded over time and may appear patchy on certain types of wood eg maple, beech.

Available in several shades, Junckers Rustic Oils can be applied to any unfinished wooden floor and over coated with a lacquer for durability

Coloured Oils

Oils often produce a uniform colour on beech, maple etc. compared with wood dyes. They tend not to be prone to application issues such as roller stop marks and work well on herringbone and parquet floors. Oil can be used on its own or may be used as a primer and then over-coated with lacquer. Check that the oil is compatible with lacquer – some are not. Junckers Rustic Oils may be used either as a full treatment or over-coated with HP Commercial lacquer. Oils tend to have a longer drying time than a primer or wood dye.

The Effect of Sheen

Many customers will prefer matt finishes on textured and coloured boards as this tends to look more natural, although this is largely a matter of current taste.

Vacuum coloured floor boards

For a very consistent and permanent coloured finish, some types of timber lend themselves well to vacuum staining. Here, the colour of the wood itself is altered by using a chemical or staining process. This affects the board through the majority, if not all its thickness. So when the floor is sanded there is no need to re-apply the colour treatment. Fumed oak, or Black Oak, is perhaps one of the better-known examples of this. Junckers has also used this process on beech to make its Sylvaket boards, and has extended the process further by vacuum staining with water-based wood dyes.

Junckers Black Oak is a solid wood floor that can be sanded and refinished without losing its dark colour. The black stain is drawn deep into the floor board by a specially developed process mimicking nature’s way of darkening timber which has been left in a bog. The floor arrives fully sealed and factory-finished, ready to walk on as soon as it’s installed.

The ever-increasing choice of finishes has led to an increased demand for ‘the perfect shade’, a perfect match to another design element of the interior. It’s always important to assess the use of the floor, estimated foot traffic and maintenance issues before recommending one choice or another – that’s where the expertise of a professional flooring contractor comes in. Our network of Approved Flooring Contractors and Approved Maintenance Contractors might be able to help!

Elegant floor for elegant interior

When Metropolis, one of Norway’s leading interior design and interior architecture firms, designed their own offices in central Oslo, the design concept took them on a journey around the world, bringing different cultures, colours, sounds and smells under one roof to create an inspirational, creative working environment.

By dividing the space into different zones, which each have a different feel and purpose – flexible working stations both for teams and individuals; dedicated project and meeting rooms and a more relaxed and informal section which serves as a material library and social area, Metropolis created a workspace which in itself is a ‘tool’ in their creative process.

Our solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring has been installed throughout, an elegant floor for an elegantly designed space. We especially adore the confident pairing of our dark floors with dark walls, continued in the furniture, wall panelling, accessories and more.

Photography: Cathrine Holst / Metropolis


Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis

Striking circular floor for landmark pleasure dome

This really isn’t something you see every day – a wooden floor installed in a circular pattern, a concentric dodecagon (yes, we had to look it up too!) to be precise. The famous Spanish City in Whitley Bay has undergone major refurbishment works, which includes new solid wood flooring from yours truly. Architects, ADP, brought the seaside pleasure building back to its former glory by carefully restoring the original decorative features in the Grade II listed building.

The works included revealing the magnificent dome in the rotunda by removing a mezzanine floor, restoring the triple height ceiling to create a large, circular space. The grand room required a complimentary floor and the choice fell on our Black Oak, fitted in the aforementioned pattern. Installed by Junckers’ Approved Contractor Stenhouse Flooring, the project features mitred joints which require a high level of skill and experience.

This is an extraordinary project with a very complicated flooring installation. The lines of the concentric dodecagon pattern on the balcony continues in the floor in the circle below (see images). On the balcony, the mitred boards run from column to column and downstairs from columns on the outer circle, where there is a step down, towards a centre point in the middle fitted with a small section of paler oak (just visible underneath the grand piano in the main image). There are 12 identical sections that form the circle, each segment overhung, angles adjusted to fit perfectly with the previous piece, mirrored in all sections. Every mitre was hand cut and hand routered, grooved with false tongue so the whole floor is connected. Over 2000 cuts in total.

The work to approximately nine weeks and required two highly skilled floor layers. The floor is finished with Junckers Oil to allow for spot repairs without much downtime and minimal disruption.

Junckers’ solid wood flooring was also installed in several other areas in the building, which now includes bars, shops, restaurants and a suite of rooms for events, conferences and weddings.

Our thanks to our Approved Contractor Stenhouse Flooring for the detailed information, and a for job well done!


Junckers Black Oak flooring at Spanish City pleasure dome Photo: Andrew Heptinstall

Junckers Black Oak flooring at Spanish City pleasure dome Photo: Andrew Heptinstall

Junckers Black Oak flooring at Spanish City pleasure dome Photo: Andrew Heptinstall

Junckers Black Oak flooring at Spanish City pleasure dome Photo: Andrew Heptinstall

Junckers Black Oak flooring at Spanish City pleasure dome Photo: Andrew Heptinstall

Spanish City pleasure dome Photo: Andrew Heptinstall

Black Oak Oiled Floor For Stylish Development

A prestigious residential development in the fashionable Clapham Old Town area of London features over 700m2 of Junckers’ Black Oak flooring. Designed by Assael Architecture, the development combines converted 19th century warehouse buildings with contemporary architecture.

The high quality, modern interiors combine a palette of rich, natural materials where Junckers’ solid hardwood floors add warmth and texture to the inviting spaces with the matt, oiled surface the perfect backdrop to the stylish decorating schemes. Black Oak Oiled has the appearance of an aged floor, with a rich patina and surface texture, highly sought after in the design industry.

Junckers wide board floors come in long-length planks, a true mark of a high quality solid hardwood floor. In addition, our floors are ideal for use over underfloor heating. Thanks to a unique drying process developed over many years, Junckers floors are very stable and have a low moisture content. Tried, tested and approved by all major underfloor heating manufacturers, Junckers’ solid wood floors have been successfully used together with underfloor heating for decades.


Junckers | tel 01376 534 700 | |

Junckers Black Oak Oiled at Macaulay Walk development (1) mid
Junckers Oiled Black Oak

Junckers Black Oak Boulevard at Macaulay Walk 2 mid
Junckers Oiled Black Oak

Junckers Black Oak Boulevard Macaulay Walk 1 mid
Junckers Oiled Black Oak

New Year, New Floor!

Happy New Year to all!

It’s the time of year when many of us are thinking about how we can improve on everything around us, not least our homes. Here’s a sneak peak of a small but perfectly formed flat in North London that has been completely refurbished with our Black Oak Wide Board floors throughout.

Junckers Black Oak Wide Board - kitchen dining low res

Junckers Black Oak Wide Board - kitchen low res

Junckers Black Oak Wide Board - living room low res

Junckers Black Oak Wide Board - hallway low res Junckers Black Oak - hallway (blue chair) low res

Photography by Jake Fitzjones

Also in the pictures:

Copper splash back in the kitchen designed and fitted by Marco Oddi

Kitchen cabinetry by specialist joinery company M Dayman Designs