All unfinished wood floors need to be sealed before use to help protect them against wear and tear, stains and moisture. The range of wood floor finishes available can seem a bit confusing so here is a simple guide to the basics that should help you decide which wood floor finish will best suit your needs.
In simple terms, wood floor finishes can be divided into two groups - Lacquer / Varnish Finishes and Oil / Wax finishes.
Lacquer or varnish wood finishes form a durable, protective barrier on the surface of the wood floor. They generally contain flattening agents to help create a sleek looking finish - some people find this a bit 'manufactured' looking - and they are normally available in a choice of matt, satin and gloss options.
Although initially resilient and quite low maintenance, lacquer or varnish wood 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 floor but in our experience it is usually about every 3-5 years. Obviously if your floor finish 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 by penetrating the wood and create a more natural look. Oil finishes are typically matt in appearance whilst wax finishes are typically 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 finishes are much better suited to modern living and commercial use. These work in a similar way to oil and wax finishes - they create a similarly natural look and are easy to renovate without invasive finishes (ideal for coloured wood floors of those with a textured surface). At the same time they offer the durability, choice of sheen level and low maintenance historically associated with Lacquer / Varnish finishes. Hardwax Oil wood finishes offer the best of both worlds, which is why they are our preferred choice.
All pre finished Broadleaf wood floors are finished with Hardwax Oil wood finishes and we also finishes that we sell separately are also Hardwax Oils.