Hardwood Hues: 3 Advantages of Tinting Finish

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Jan 09, 2024

When working with different hardwood species, it can be a challenge to match natural colors and hues. Rather than sanding down the top layers to stain and refinish, finishes can be tinted for a personalized color-modifying recoat. Read on to learn more about how HyperTone™ Stains and Basic Coatings® finishes can help save time while extending the lifespan of hardwood surfaces. 


The NWFA defines “tint” as “a color produced by the addition of another color to white paint or enamel. The act of adding the color to the white material is known as tinting.” To ensure proper adhesion when tinting a finish, it is important that HyperTone stains are used in tangent only with approved Basic Coatings finishes, which include: StreetShoe® NXT, PureMatte™, EasyStreet™, EmulsionPro™, GymShoe®, and Player’s Choice™ One

Preserves Lifespan of the Floor

Hardwood flooring is popular for its durability and beauty. However, modifying a surface that has been stained previously presents a few challenges. Sanding a stained floor to eliminate all existing color can remove half or more of the wear layer, which damages the integrity of the surface. Additionally, this outer wear layer can become worn from foot traffic, further compromising the hardwood surface

In these situations, changing the color of the wood with a tinted finish is a simple and safe alternative. When using a tinted finish, the new color is distributed throughout the new finish coat and sits on top of the wood surface rather than adjusting the color of the wood itself. For future modifications, the tinted coating can be sanded off without removing any of the wear layer, taking less time than a traditional refinishing job. Due to the preservation of the wear layer and ease of application, tinted finish is a practical alternative for hardwood color modification.

Simplifies Blending Different Wood Species

Due to variations in grain, chemical make-up, and existing natural colors, various species of wood accept and retain stain differently. If a residential space has white oak installed in one room and Brazilian cherry in another room, the colors will be completely different. If the homeowner requests the same color throughout the entire floorplan despite differing species, tinting a finish with HyperTone stains is a cost-saving and effective way to blend two different wood species together. For more information on other methods for changing color without sanding, click here.

Advanced Color Control

Blending HyperTone stains adds a unique flair to every project. When properly mixed with a finish, HyperTone stains create depth of color that can be gradually enhanced with each additional coat application. Tinting finish also helps regulate the wood’s stain absorption, allowing for a more uniform color. When creating custom colors, enough stain must be mixed to sustain the entire project. This ensures consistent depth of color and direct control over the final appearance. The image to the right depicts a surface modified with a HyperTone tinted finish, with a few planks in the middle left untouched to reveal the floor's previous color.

When applying a HyperTone stain mix to your finish of choice, it is important that the mixing ratio is correct. The mixing ratio will largely depend on the desired color, but a safe ratio is 1-3% stain-to-finish. The “golden rule” recommends that the stain-to-finish ratio does not exceed 10%. For example, if using a 128 fl. oz. (gallon) of finish, only 12.8 fl. oz. of stain should be added. After mixing, continue to stir throughout the application process to prevent settling.


Prior to applying the tinted finish of choice, the surface’s existing topcoat should be abraded to remove any shine, then cleaned to prevent debris from interfering with the tinted finish application. Doing so allows the new tinted coating to properly bond to the surface. Once the sealer is abraded and appears dull, the tinted finish can be applied according to each product’s Technical Data sheet. It is recommended that multiple coats are applied for best results. For more information, please see Basic Coatings’ Blending & Tinting Finish Guidelines Technical Bulletin.

While Basic Coatings’ products are designed for simple application, it is important to recognize the complexity of the process. Achieving a consistent and professional result requires skill and experience, which is why we recommend hiring a Basic Coatings certified contractor to keep your floors looking their best. Click here to connect with a Basic Coatings expert (link to contact us page).  

To learn more about Basic Coatings’ dynamic coating solutions, please click here. To learn more about the innovative HyperTone Stains, please click here