Timber flooring exudes a refined, stylish, and sophisticated aesthetic that complements any modern or classic interior. In terms of longevity and property value, few other flooring options can rival the quality of timber. However, humidity and temperature changes can cause the wood to shrink/expand.
While timber floor finish cannot prevent the wood from moving, it reduces the effect of climate change on timber. It also protects the wood and preserves the aesthetic for years to come.
This article is intended to provide insight into timber floor finish and its different types.
What is Timber Floor Finish?
Timber floor finish is essentially a protective covering applied on wooden floors. It creates a barrier between the wood and the environment, thereby preserving the wood.
Several types of timber floor finishes are available in the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The best finish for your timber floor will depend on various factors such as your preferences, the type of timber and the level of foot traffic.
Types of Timber Floor Finish
With a range of options available, from natural oils to synthetic polyurethanes, choosing the right timber floor finish can seem daunting. Here are four types of timber floor finishes you can consider for your timber floors.
Penetrating oil finishes are made from natural oils and waxes that have the ability to penetrate the wood fibres. They penetrate deep into the fibre to give the wood a rich colour while enhancing the natural characteristics of the timber. Furthermore, the oil nourishes the wood and provides a protective barrier that repels moisture and dirt. Penetrating oil finishes have a natural, matte appearance and are easy to maintain. However, they require regular reapplication to maintain their effectiveness.
Curing oils are nothing but linseed or tung dissolved in white spirits or mineral turpentine and fortified with ‘metal driers’ chemical curing agents. These curing agents have excellent bonding resistance, making them less prone to timber failure and breakages. 4
However, in terms of durability, curing oil finishes have a relatively low resistance to wear and tear compared to other types of finishes. Therefore, they require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition.
Curing oil finishes are available in varying gloss levels, ranging from a subtle satin to a high-gloss shine. They impart a deep, rich colour to the timber, which tends to darken with age.
Oil Modified Urethanes (UMOs)
Oil-modified urethanes are solvent-based and contain a blend of oil and urethane. A higher percentage of urethane results in a more durable finish but reduces the flexibility and resistance to edge bonding. Conversely, a higher amount of oil provides greater flexibility and better edge bonding but reduces the durability of the finish.
UMOs are available in varying levels of gloss, from high gloss to satin. However, they tend to yellow over time, and their curing process can be slow in cold weather conditions.
Polyurethane coatings are a popular choice for timber floor finishes due to their exceptional durability. Solvent-based polyurethanes, in particular, are widely used and offer the highest level of durability compared to other coatings. In addition, they are available in both non-yellowing (aliphatic) and yellowing (aromatic) varieties and can range from ultra-high gloss to matte.
However, solvent-based polyurethanes lack edge bonding resistance and a strong solvent odour during application.
On the other hand, water-based polyurethane coatings offer good edge bonding resistance and are available in varying levels of gloss, from matte to gloss. They are also non-yellowing with a very mild odour.
Timber floor finishes not only protect the wood from wear and tear but also add a layer of character and depth to the overall aesthetic of your home. Whether you prefer the natural look of penetrating oils or the high durability of polyurethane coatings, Stanton Flooring has a wide range of options to choose from.
Contact us today to discuss your timber flooring needs, and let us help you achieve the perfect finish for your home or business.