Oiled or Lacquered Flooring?
Lacquered Finish Flooring
A Lacquer is comparable to varnish in its purpose and appearance. First, the wood is finely sanded until it is completely smooth. Optionally, it may then be brushed to gently open the surface of the wood. It only remains to ensure that the wood is completely free from dust before the lacquer is applied. A lacquer dries and cures to effectively form a seal over the surface of the board. Lacquered flooring tends to have a glossy shine to its appearance. Although matt lacquered options are available, they will still tend to have a certain amount of sheen to them.
Pros and Cons of a Lacquered Finish
No wood flooring can take being submerged or soaked in water for a prolonged length of time however, because a lacquered finish effectively seals the wood, it is more resistant to the adverse effects of spillages etc, so long as they are cleaned up in a timely manner. A lacquered finish will be more robust to everyday wear from normal usage though if gouged or seriously scratched these tend to be more visible than with an oiled floor. If a board suffers a serious scratch that needs repairing, it is strongly advisable to resand and finish with lacquer, the entire board, having filled and/or sanded down the scratch or gouge. An engineered wood floor can also be sanded down and refinished with lacquer in its entirety. Having said that, if you install a new floor, you would not expect to have to do this for 10-15 years. Either way, we recommend using a professional for repairs to and refinishing of lacquered engineered wood flooring.
Oiled Finish Flooring
There are a variety of products used to finish oiled flooring, including solvent based oils, hardwax oil and even those containing UV filters to prevent the colour of your floor fading or bleaching due to sunlight. These days, hardwax oil tends to be the most popular as it needs only 2 coats as opposed to up to 4 coats for traditional oils. Wood flooring finished with oil has very natural matt look to it with the grain of the wood being enhanced. Maintenance oil is applied with a cloth and thoroughly rubbed into the surface of the wood.
Pros and Cons of an Oiled Finish
A wood floor that has been finished with oil will need to be re-oiled from time to time. How often is really dependent on the amount of footfall traffic and usage it gets but every 2-4 years is a very rough guide. The beauty of an oiled floor though is that isolated areas can be re-oiled to eliminate scratches etc without having to do the entire board unlike with a lacquered finish. Also, because oil penetrates into the surface of the wood, any scratches and scuffs are far less noticeable and therefore less likely to warrant any treatment. Though as already mentioned, when and if the floor does need to be oiled, either in its entirety or isolated areas, the task is very easy and should not require a professional to carry out.