Caring for your new wooden floor is just as important as your choice of wood and your choice of finish. A well maintained wooden floor will last for hundreds of years making your choice to use hardwood the environmentally responsible choice.
Wooden floors can be hand or site finished in a number of different ways a few examples are Laquers, Oils, and Oilwaxes. Wooden floors can also be factory finished with UV curred lacquers or oils. It is important to know that any floor that has been finished in a factory using UV curring, be that laquered or Oiled, is very difficult to maintain and will at some point need to be sanded and refinished and a new finish applied. When this happens any colour or surface effect on the original board will be lost.
For this reason we would always recommend hand or site finished floors, they are much easier to maintain and in the case of oilwaxed floors will never need to be sanded if the surface is regularly maintained.
A newly finished oilwaxed floor is only 60% saturated with oils and regular application of the correct maintanance oil, particularly in the first year is essential. During the first year the wood will approach 100% saturation and as it does the surface finish will get harder and harder and the colour and any surface effect will be fully protected.
Hand or site finished lacquered floors should receive regular maintenance according the manufactuerers recommendations and taking into account the amount of traffic over the floors. Commercial spaces will require more regular protection and ultimately more regular prefinishing. To avoid having to fully sand and refinish the floors it is essential to carry out intermediate refinishing before the surface treatment has worn through to the wood.
Whichever floor finish you have opted for the most important piece of advice is to make sure you use the corect maintenance products at the correct intervals to ensure you enjoy your wooden floor for many many years.
We will always provide you with the correct maintenance advice for the floor you have purchased.
Oil Wax vs Lacquers
Hardwood floors need protection against dirt, spillages and moisture. There are two ways of doing this: Oils / Oil waxes or Lacquers.
Oil waxes protect the wood in two ways. First, the oil penetrates the pores of the wood to give internal protection against dirt ingress and spillages. Second, the wax forms a surface protection against moisture and water in a similar way to a waxed jacket.
These natural oils and waxes will leach out of the floor over time and will need to be replenished on a regular basis. This can be done very easily with the correct maintenance and requires little or no skill. You may want to have your floor cleaned, buffed and re-oil waxed once a year by a professional company such as Türgon.
It is particularly impoertant to use maintenance oil during the first year to help build up the oil saturation levels and at the same time improving the hardness of the finish.
Lacquers protect the wood from above by forming an impenetrable layer that keeps dirt, spillages and moisture away from the wood.
Generally there will be between three to five layers of lacquer on the floor, and over a period of between five and ten years the lacquer will wear away. Once this happens the entire floor will need to be sanded and then re-lacquered.
Recent advances in Lacquer technology enable floors to be recoated without a full sanding assuming not too much damage has occured to the finish.
Comparing the two
Lacquered floors do not need yearly maintenance, but have a five to ten year visible cycle of deterioration; i.e. more and more scratches in the finish, to the point where the lacquer has to be re-finished. Oil waxed floors on the other hand look better and better as time goes by, the more you maintain the oilwax finish the harder the finish becomes and the less you need to maintain the floor.
Pre finished UV Oiled floors are available from most manufacturers in a variety of coloured finishes but are impossible to maintain in the same way as a hand oiled or oilwaxed floor. UV oiled products are similar to lacquered floors in that to replenish the finish they must first be sanded before new oil is applied. This is because the UV oils that are applied in the factory are artificially hardened using UV curring. This process can not be recreated on site so any coloured UV oiled finish has a restricted lifespan.