OIL OR LACQUER – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
OILED, WHAT IS IT?
Finishing oils come in a variety of types and colours, the majority of oils found on wood flooring are either natural or hardwax oils. In general these oils are made of natural oils such as vegetable oils and waxes. These oils will nourish, seal and protect your floor.
The oils saturate your floor, putting lost moisture that could cause shrinkage back in the wood floor. They give your wood a very natural look and feel, specific oils are so natural that they leave the wood looking and feeling completely raw and unfinished while still protecting it. Oils come in a vast variety of colours which you can be apply with different methods, each method will change the way your finish board will look. Colours can also be applied on top of each colour to give you a completely different colour. Your colour pallet with oiled floors is almost endless. If the surface of your floor is damaged somehow, you can locally sand back and re-oil it, over time this will add character to floor. If the maintenance of your floor is kept up you may never have to sand your floor unless you drastically wanted to change the colour.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
In general oils are not as hard wearing as lacquered floors. They may scratch or mark easier as they soak in to the wood rather than sitting on the surface. They must be cleaned with only specific products, cleaning them with standard cleaning products can discolour and wash away the oil. Oiled floors need to be treated with specific maintenance oil, the time scale can vary depending on how highly trafficked the area is. In domestic use we recommend treating your floor every 6-12 months and just before the winter season. Under floor heating will dry out your floor much quicker than usual so you will have to treat it more often.
LAQUERED, WHAT IS IT?
Lacquered or varnished finishes leave a protective coating that feels almost like plastic on wood, they come in a variety of bases such as water based polyurethane or alcohol.
In general lacquer is harder wearing than oils as it leaves a protective film on the surface of the wood. The upkeep and maintenance is much easier than with oil floors, simply cleaning and polishing your floor when required. Works well with under floor heating as the moisture is locked into the board by the lacquer, this stop your floor from drying out.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Most lacquers are clear so you have to use additional stains to achieve specific colours, lacquer can sometimes look and feel synthetic, the coating sits on the surface and reflects light, and is extremely smooth to the touch. Once the lacquer is damaged or broken you cannot spot fix it, the area must be sanded and resealed. Trying to spot fix will end up in visible patches across the floor.