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How To Decide On Wood Flooring Finish

applying finish

Once you’ve made the decision to install a wooden floor, you’ll then be faced with the decision about the finish.  How you decide on which wood flooring finish to choose depends upon various things.  First, you need to decide what style of finish you like.  For example do you like a shiny look or do you prefer a more natural looking finish?  Second, the finish you choose will have a lot to do with the traffic the floor is likely to experience.  And finally, of course there’s the maintenance question to be answered.  How important is low maintenance to you?

There are three main options when it comes to wood flooring finishes.  Firstly there’s lacquer which is a durable, low maintenance option but can be prone to scratching.  Secondly there’s oil which is slightly less durable but easier to repair if the floor starts to look a bit tired or scratched.  And finally there’s UV oil which is a bit of a compromise between the two.

Lacquer Finish


Most lacquers, even matt lacquers give an appearance of an obvious coating to your floor, whereas oils sink in, enhancing the grain of the wood and giving a more natural look.  The reason that lacquer looks more obvious is that it effectively sits on top of the wood, rather than sinking in.  What this means is that lacquer has a tendency to get worn looking in high traffic areas.  What happens is that the traffic effectively sands away the lacquer and leaves scratches on the surface. The only way to repair this damage is to re-sand the whole floor and start again.

Oil Finish


Oil on the other hand, which is effectively the modern day successor to the old fashioned wax option, sinks into the wood grain.  Oil finished floors can be repaired by adding more oil on the top off existing oil when needed.  Oil is easy to apply and an effective way of keeping your wooden floor in great condition.

UV Oil Finish


UV oil has the advantage of having a low build up and comes in a low gloss finish which helps mask slight imperfections caused by wear and tear.  A wood floor finished with UV oil can be easily repaired at any time with a simple wipe of oil on a soft, dry, cotton cloth.  Furthermore, extreme stains can be scoured away and re-oiled if necessary.

So, in summary, how you choose your wood flooring finish depends very much on your personal tastes and needs.

2 thoughts on “How To Decide On Wood Flooring Finish”

  • Penny Stone

    How do you keep it clean? Thinking of the kitchen, can you use hot water on it? If not, how do you get grease and mud stains off?

    • Jonathan Sapir

      Hi, there are a number of suitable products found here https://www.woodandbeyond.com/blog/best-wood-flooring-cleaning-products/
      Thank you.

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