Helpful tips on creating the White Wash Finish on your wood floors

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Helpful tips on creating the White Wash Finish on your wood floors

The term “white wash”, “pickling”, lye, or lime wash, is iconic in historical architectural from Egypt to the manor houses of early European architecture and buildings around the US. 

Today, you see it on Houzz, Apartment Therapy and other interior design sites all over the web.  It refers to a technique of mixing lime and water, or using milk paint or other similar concoctions – depending on the time period – to give floors, cabinets, furniture and walls a light, white look. 

When considering it for a wood floor, keep in mind it can be used in a variety of settings, from the most formal home to the most rustic. It all depends on the style floor you will be using.   Here are some finish options to consider when creating a White Wash finish look:


There are several ways to achieve the white wash look today and benefits and disadvantages to each. 

• Use a stain like the Carlisle White Wash Fence

  • Advantage – allows the wood, grain, and character to show through, very easy to touch up 
  • Disadvantage – Must be top coated for protection
  • Tip: Coat with water based finish only, oil based finish will cause the finish to yellow

• Rubio Monocoat

  • Website:
  • Advantage – finish can be done in 1-2 coats, gives the floors a very natural unfinished look with very little built up, stated to be very durable in a variety of applications, easy to touch up   
  • Disadvantage –  Will have a very low sheen

Woca Wood Oil

Sherwin Williams Paint


Check out some examples of the wide plank wood floors with this style finish to see all the looks you can create:

Wide Plank Ash Hardwood floors with White Wash Fence Stain

Wide Plank Hickory hardwood floors with White Wash Fence Stain

Hickory Hardwood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Wide Plank White Oak hardwood floors with White wash Fence Stain

Wide Plank Eastern White Pine wood floors

Pine Flooring and Wood Floors from Carlisle Wide Plank FloorsIt is important to keep in mind that like those nice white shoes or clothes, it is harder to keep clean, so keep that in mind.  When selecting a source for the white wash products find out how you can clean the surface, and if special cleaners are required.  Also find out how easy it is to touch up the surface and what that requires.

When it comes to wood floors especially keep in mind that wood is a natural product.  Over time the colors of the wood will change and depending on the finish you use that can come through in a floor.  A White Wash Oak floor, for example, may appear very white when you first finish it but can develop a slight tan undertone over time due to how the wood changes color. 

See more finish options and design ideas get our Free Color Catalog today!

Free wood flooring brochure from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

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