All unfinished wood flooring need to be sealed before use to help protect it against wear and tear, stains and moisture. The range of finishes available for wood flooring can seem a bit daunting at first glance, so here is a simple guide to the basics that should help you understand what you need to and decide which wood finish will best suit your wood flooring.
In simple terms, finishes for wood flooring can be divided into two groups - Lacquers & Varnishes and Oils & Waxes.
Lacquer or varnish wood finishes form a durable, protective barrier on the surface of the wood flooring. They generally contain flattening agents to help create a sleek looking finish, which some people find a bit 'manufactured' looking, and they are normally available in a choice of matt, satin and gloss.
Although initially resilient and quite low maintenance, lacquer or varnish wood flooring finishes have a finite lifespan and will then need to be sanded back and re-applied. How often exactly will depend on the product you use and the level of traffic across the wood floor but in our experience it is usually about every 3-5 years. Obviously if your wood flooring is coloured or has a texture this will affected by the sanding and it may not always be possible to recreate it.
Oil and wax wood finishes protect wood flooring by penetrating the wood and create a more natural look that a varnish or lacquer. Oil finishes for wood flooring are typically matt in appearance whilst wax finishes are typically more satin, especially when polished. Both are easy to apply and easy to refurbish without sanding but they do need regular reapplication to remain effective.
In our experience Hardwax Oil wood flooring finishes are much better suited to modern living and commercial use as they provide the best of both worlds. On the one hand, they create a natural look that is easy to renovate in the same way as oil and wax finishes - ideal for coloured wood flooring or wood flooring with a textured surface. On the other, they provide the durability, choice of sheen level and low maintenance historically associated with Lacquer / Varnish finishes.
All Broadleaf wood flooring that is supplied finished is sealed with Hardwax Oil for this reason. We also supply hardwax oil finishes separately should you wish to finish your wood flooring in situ, or renovate wood flooring that was original finished with hardwax oil.