After fitting your wood flooring you next need to decide on how to seal it. When choosing the right finish there are a few points to consider:-
– How to enhance the colour and grain to bring out the beauty of the wood.
– How to protect it and keep it in good condition.
Firstly, decide on the style of finish you would like to achieve. Do you prefer shiny or a more natural finish? How much traffic is the floor is going to have, and how you are going to maintain your floor? There are basically two options to use – oil or lacquers.
Most lacquers, even matt lacquers, give an appearance of an obvious coating to your floor. They are either solvent or water-based and are more akin to a traditional varnish in that the lacquer effectively sits on top of the wood. Ideal in all areas, but mostly associated with areas of heavy wear or high footfall. A lacquered floor can however, be more prone to scratches. When it comes to repair, a lacquered floor does require sanding and re-coating. It is considered the more durable of the two options and is often used in schools and municipal areas. Numerous brands are available in both a matt, satin and gloss finish. Offering some UV protection, so if your room is exposed to long periods of sunshine it will help prevent fading. Lacquers are ideally suited to historic homes where a darker more traditional look would suit.
The modern day equivalent of the old fashioned wax method, oils are a blend of natural ingredients. Providing surface protection, the oil penetrates into the wood offering deeper protection by feeding into the core of the timber. An oiled wood floor gives a very natural look with a softer finish than a lacquer.
Once laid it is time to apply the finish. There are a variety of stains and finishes available giving you the option of choosing an exact match to the decor of your room and furnishings. You may decide to stain the boards to achieve lighter or darker tones, white, weathered grey, walnut or even black. Oils may also be applied to create a stunning brushed effect. This further highlights the grain enhancing the natural grain of the timber. (see image below). Sometimes however, a clear finish is all that is required as your oak ash or elm floorboards are also beautiful in their raw state. Applying a natural oil promotes the existing colour and features across the boards.
All that is required to maintain a wood floor is a regular sweep or soft vacuum. With good housekeeping an oiled floor will last for many years. Easy to spot repair marks and minor blemishes, if overtime it becomes a little tired, it is just a matter of light sanding and re-oiling to bring it back to its just new look.
We recommend the use of Osmo oils. Manufactured in Germany they are oil based and microporous. Composed of natural products such as Sunflower, Soya, Linseed and Thistle combined with natural waxes and pigments it is low in odour. These oils do not flake, peel or blister, are water repellant and offer superb coverage with a quick drying time. A second coat may be applied after only 4 hours.
If you desire a more natural looking floor an oil is definitely the recommended finish. Suitable for any home or interior and with the huge range of colours and finishes available any look is achievable.
SATIN OR MATT FINISH
Influenced by the amount of light entering the room a satin or matt finish really is personal preference. The basic difference is very subtle. Satin has a very slight sheen with matt giving the floor a natural untreated look. Oil is resistant to dirt, water and abrasion and a minimum of two coats of the product is generally applied. See attached link for more in depth Osmo product information.
CARE OF YOUR WOOD FLOOR
Osmo have designed products to be used alongside their floor finishes from regular maintenance cleaning, to systems designed for more intensive cleaning and re-coating.
To help clean and protect your floor, it is advisable to look at using a regular care and maintenance system. Most companies who supply floor lacquers or oils have a readily developed a system to use with their products. However, in both cases it is essential NOT to use a cleaner that is too abrasive.
WOOD FLOOR MAINTANENCE
Wear and tear is very much part of the product. Using felt pads under furniture prevents any scuffs and scratches. Depending on the footfall the floor endures, very little maintenance is required. All that is needed is dusting with a damp cloth. However, if over time you do wish to re-finish your floor, it is best practice to resend and re-apply your chosen oil to the whole floor to avoid an uneven finish.
We recommend our local Osmo supplier Ben Sturges of Ray Munn Paints and Interiors who is happy to advise and supply all Osmo products.