What to do about the deep orange look of pine floors

Pine flooring has a true character to it. Prominent in many Victorian properties, they form part of the floors of yesteryear. Stepping into the modern era, many of our clients ask what can be done to tone down the heavy orange look of these lovely pine floors. This article will give you some insight and a possible solution.

Let us consider the various finishing options available for wood floors – Oil, Lacquer or Wax

Oil finishes can be classed into three groups:

Penetrating Oils – These oils soak into the wood.  In most cases, the correct method is to push it into the wood floor during application mechanically. The wood surface is wiped clean and dry and buffed after. This leaves a nice natural looking wood floor with a matt look.

The wood floor is now protected from within. A great benefit of this type of oil finish on a wooden floor is locally repairable. This means the skilled technician can sand a small area back to repair – apply fresh oil, and the colour will blend back in over time. Having this oil applied to a pine floor will enhance the orange colour in the pine.

Topical Oil / Hard Wax Oil

Topical oil is applied with a brush or short pile roller. A thin coating is left on the surface of the wooden floor. A 2nd coat is usually applied once the first coat is dry. This may mean the job stretches out a little longer than penetrating oil. Local repairs may not be possible. Some increased resistance to excess moisture may be achieved, especially if the oil is mixed with a hardener / catalyst. Having this oil applied to a pine floor will enhance the orange colour in the pine.

Hybrid Oil

Hybrid oil is a newer addition to the oil family. It is a mix between penetrating and surface-build oils, and in some cases, some oils are more water-based too. I know, you cannot imagine that oils can be water-based. Consider these oils’ resistance and wear resistance. Regular top up of aftercare products may be required. Localised repairs will be less likely.


These days most if not all legal lacquers, are water-based. Lacquers form a hard-wearing Polyurethane (PU) coating over the floor, making it resistant to moisture spills. Particularly recommended for busy kitchens and bathrooms. (Penetrating oils can be applied in these areas, but a 2-component product is better with an increased amount of hardener/ catalyst added.)

You can add a twist to lacquers on a wood floor by using some creative primers like Pallmann’s 330 White Primer. This will tone the down colour of the wood floor and provide a more natural-looking raw wood finish.

Some floor finish manufacturers even supply white pigmented lacquers. The challenge with this compared to a white primer, is that it can be easier to leave lap lines. This is where one layer of white coating is laid over another in places, leaving streaks on a floor.

We have tested several and prefer the Pallmann 330 white.

And back to our problem flooring…

Back to the Pine floor, where our client wanted less of an orange look. We used the white Pallmann Primer here, and the floor turned out looking amazing.

In the photos, you may notice some floorboards that look much lighter than others. These are boards that were replaced over the years with newer pine. Newer pine boards do not have the natural orange look like the Victorian pine has, more about that in another article.

If you have orange pine floorboards, you wish to tone down or you have some oak floorboard that you wish to give a more natural, get in touch. We would love to help.