For reasons not worth explaining I had to replace some oak floor planks. The new planks aren't quiet flat and are obviously the wrong color. I don't plan on refinishing the entire floor right now, any suggestions of easier things I can do for the time being.

[EDIT] Added picture, better late than never: unfinished v. finished floor

  • Have you looked in a closet floor for something that matches?
    – mikes
    Feb 12, 2014 at 1:40
  • We dont have enough closets to cover the area, roughly 30 sq ft.
    – Jay
    Feb 12, 2014 at 2:26
  • You say it doesn’t match but other than being unfinished what is the problem? If the new section is left unfinished and dirt gets ground into the flooring it may be hard to fix FYI. Nothing easy about flooring time to start sanding.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 11, 2021 at 16:15
  • 1
    Yeah Ed, you're correct, it was the sanding and finishing. I ended up sanding it with hand sanders, I made a custom mix of stains to match the color, and I sanded back a couple planks that I faded clear urethane over to make it blend and it came out great. By far the bigger issue than color ended up being the style grain, which made a much much bigger difference.
    – Jay
    Mar 12, 2021 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


A picture of the area would have been good to see how the ends tie into the existing but here goes. 30 sq. ft. of floor is a lot to do. You may want to rent a random orbit floor sander to do the bulk of it, then detail the edges where it meets the existing. When you write that the "planks aren't quite flat meaning they are higher than the rest of the existing floor, you can carefully mask off the existing floor around the new wood with 2" wide blue painters tape and sand the floor down to where the hand sander touches the tape, but not cutting through it. Of course if you do you will damage the finish of the existing floor. Start with 60 or 80 grit first and when the sander first touches the tape, change to the next finer grit. If it was 60 grit, change to 80, if it was 80 change to 100. Then take a regular #2 pencil and mark across the freshly sanded planks so there are lines all over the place. Sand with that next grit until the pencil marks are gone. This will help you keep track of where and how well you have an area sanded. You may have touched the painters tape again, but as long as it hasn't torn through, that is ok. Mark the wood again with the pencil, and sand again with 120 grit, that is the last cut.

You will need a piece or pieces of the floor to test the stain on to get a good match. then stain the bare wood carefully and wipe it down with a rag to get the excess off the surface. Actually wipe the surface anytime you stain, even if there is no excess, there is always a residue that is naturally left in the process that needs to be removed before sealing. Read the directions on the stain for the time between stain and finish coats. Sand lightly (220G) after the first clear coat, then remove the tape, vacuum and dust thoroughly then apply the second coat of finish. cut it in carefully. Make sure to match the sheen of the existing floor.

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    I agree with @Jack since I don't know any other way that you can get them flat and match the color. It's a lot of work though. Best to take your time. Also, pay particular attention to Jacks statement about testing for a color match. That's the deal breaker. Don't do it and you won't get the results you want.
    – getterdun
    Feb 12, 2014 at 4:09
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    It might be a bit late now, but sanding and staining to match is a lot easier to do before installing the replacement boards. You most likely will have to use a couple of stains and maybe some natural to mix a color that matches well. Experiment on some scraps or the new flooring to get color right before applying it to the repaired area. Feb 12, 2014 at 11:41
  • If the new work is an unfinished floor, there is most likely a bit more going on than just the difference in the new to old. When a prefinished floor is made I believe the tolerance for thickness are much closer. If there is a difference, the microbevel in the edges hides that small difference. The sanding is a much higher quality too. With the unfinished since it is made to be sanded after install, the surface has many more imperfections with the sanding to rid the surface on the unevenness between planks and the "washboard" of the planer marks from the manufacturer.
    – Jack
    Feb 13, 2014 at 0:52
  • I know this thread is a year old, but I added a picture to the original question for posterity.
    – Jay
    Oct 25, 2015 at 13:21

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