November 23, 2022

A Homeowner’s Guide to Matching Old and New Hardwood Floors

Longevity is one of the top-selling points of hardwood flooring. While these wooden floors can last up to a century, the upkeep and renovations of old hardwood floorboards can be a real challenge. Homeowners often deal with numerous obstacles when matching old and new hardwood. But there are factors that you can consider and help in your venture of mixing your new hardwood floorboards with your existing ones. Learn how you can achieve identical-looking flooring for your home.

Flooring Height and Thickness

Flooring height and thickness are essential factors when matching old and new hardwood. Old solid hardwood has been sanded and polished numerous times. Each sanding can cause the floorboards to thin over time.

The average thickness of hardwood flooring across the country is ¾ inches. The width of the old floors in many homes makes it easier to match new solid hardwood. But you may find the mixing and matching more difficult with engineered wood unless the boards come from the same manufacturer.

Before laying out your new hardwood flooring, check if the new room has a consistent height with the existing subfloors. Inspect if the subfloors are even and remove or add a layer of plywood to make them flat. Concrete subfloors are more challenging and may require more laborious leveling before installation.

When you install new hardwood floors, the area needs to have a 3/4-inch thick plywood subfloor. Doing this will ensure a more convenient laying-out process for the solid wood strips. Even subfloors ensure that the old and new floorboards have the same height. If not, they will look wobbly and can result in damage.

Hardwood Grade and Specie

Identifying the grade and species of the old hardwood used in floors is essential to match them perfectly. There are hundreds of hardwood species available on the market. In addition, some species also have different varieties.

While most hardwood floorings in traditional or old homes use domestic species like oak, maple, and cherry, homeowners still have difficulties recognizing them. Consulting with a hardwood flooring professional will hasten the identification process and offer suggestions and recommendations. For example, people identify that old hardwood uses oak but buys the wrong wood variety.

After knowing what wood species your old floorings have, recognizing which wood grade they have is next. Every available hardwood grade has different cuts, tones, and patterns. The color and grain of grade 1 hardwood planks are more uniform and have fewer holes and unique features. Mixed-grade hardwood has a more distinct grain and color.

Matching hardwood floors with different species and grades will make the changes visible. However, they won't look aesthetically pleasing.


Hardwood floor planks now come in different sizes or widths. Along with that, the industry width standards also changed. Instead of two to three-inch sized strips, standard planks are now between four to five inches. Matching new hardwood floors to old, traditional homes may need to consider the sizes of the existing floors.

Narrow or strip planks are the most common hardwood sizes in homes with flooring patterns. Measure the boards of your existing hardwood floors to buy new ones of the same width. Doing this is highly recommended in houses with parquet or chevron patterns. They fit well with the design and make your space bigger and cleaner.

But there are cases where you can mix and match different widths of hardwood planks. Nowadays, family homes have extensions and use different-sized planks for their wooden flooring to add character. It also gives each new room a contemporary look.

Although doing this using a straight layout is hit-and-miss, having a different direction can blend the floors well. For example, using wide planks to make your new open-space kitchen feel larger will work if you place them diagonally. It creates an illusion and transitions perfectly on your old hardwood floorings.

Refinishing and Staining

While hardwood species offer several color varieties to buyers, there are cases when getting a flooring replacement close to your existing ones happens. Sometimes, different species are unavailable or more expensive, and getting a cheaper option is the best way. During this time, matching your floors will depend on their refinishing or staining.

When you have two different species of hardwood flooring, stripping the old floors of their finish and coats is necessary. To match them up, sand your existing floorboards and refinish them along with your new floorings. Although seasoned homeowners can do this, it’s still better to have a professional refinish and stain both hardwood to ensure a seamless transition. 

The Perfect Matching of Old and New Hardwood Floorings

Home improvement projects are a consistent and gradual process. Like any other home development, you may need to mix and match new ones to your existing floors to stay on budget. Laying out new flooring and not blending them with the old floors can destroy your interior design. The best way to avoid that is to know what you can consider in achieving a seamless blend of old and new flooring. Understanding how these considerations affect the look and style of your home will help things cost-friendly and keep them creative.

Get a consultation with our professionals at Kelly Hardwood Floors for your homes now!