What Type of Floor Finish Should I Have

What Type of Floor Finish Should I Have. A Quick History

Deciding on which type of floor finish is best for you can be a daunting task. There are a number of different finishes you can choose from: Lacquered, oiled, wax, wax oil, UV oils or UV lacquers. But here’s some basic info on the history of finishes.

Traditionally, wood flooring was never actually finished with any type of treatment. Wood floors were simply left unfinished until they were so dirty they needed to be hand scraped and cleaned. During the 18th century the introduction of wax gave wooden floors some protection against water, but needed re waxing quite frequently in order to maintain some resistance. In the early part of the 20th century polyurethane lacquers were introduced, which marked the beginning of maintenance free wooden floor finishes. With the advent of per-finished flooring, things became a whole lot easier and more convenient for the customer, but not necessarily better.

UV curing and finishing was introduced in the 1960’s with the intention of speeding up the  finishing process, and removing the need for storage, and greatly reducing the amount of time needed to hold on to goods. Finishing wood flooring with UV lights is done for the same reason, which is simply to speed up the finishing process, get it in the box, and into the home as quickly as possible. And it can only be done in a factory, so really, you can forget about being able to maintain the finish despite the industry telling you that you can. And you can also forget about refinishing it on site as well, unless of course, you have your own mobile rapid cure high intensity UV lighting system, which actually, some companies do have.


UV Oiled – Using this process, the oil is allowed to soak into the wood and is immediately cured using UV lights to dry the floor instantly. This is supposed to form a hard wearing layer whilst leaving the flooring looking more natural than a lacquered floor.

UV Lacquered – UV lacquering is done in the same way a traditional factory lacquered floor is done, with the lacquer sitting on top of the wood surface as opposed to penetrating the wood like a UV oil does. It is then immediately cured by high energy UV rays. It forms a tough top layer as most lacquered floors do.

Hard wax Oil

It’s all in the look. If you’re looking for a professional designer finish on your wood floor, then a UV finished floor is unlikely to leave you with a finish you will be truly happy with.

Most exclusive wooden floors are hand finished with either pure wax, or wax oil, which take longer to dry and cure initially, but leave you with a richer, deeper and more luxurious finish than any other type of finish, as well as a tougher and more easily maintainable floor.

So Whats The Best Type Of Floor Finishes

Of course, the proof is always in the pudding. Take a look at Copenhagen airport. The first wooden floor was installed in their high traffic areas in the 1960’s which sees approx 50,000 visitors a day pass through. The floor has a hard oil protection which is maintained regularly, and has never been sanded in all that time. Had the floor been UV lacquered or oiled, it would never have stood the test of time, nor would it have looked particularly good.

Finally, please remember that all wood floors need maintenance, whether its regular cleaning, re oiling, or re sanding. If you’re not scared of a little maintenance then there is no doubt that a wax or wax oiled floor is in fact going to give you the best protection of any floor finish you can get.