Maples And Birch

Which is best Oiled or Lacquered finished hardwood floors?

Often we are asked for our recommendation and opinion as to what finish is best Oiled or Lacquered?

Man sitting on a wooden floor

Lacquered Hardwood Floors

A Lacquered finished hardwood floors are a blend of acrylic or polyurethane chemicals that are formulated differently from that of normal wood varnish to accommodate traffic. 

The older generation often refers to Lacquer as ‘Varnished’ which was used decades ago and still used on furnishings but not on new Hardwood Floors.

The appearance of a lacquered hardwood floor looks cleaner and smoother available in Satin, Matt or Gloss of which Matt or Satin is most commonly applied on pre-manufactured hardwood floors.

Lacquered Hardwood Floors are very easily maintained using branded cleaning/maintenance products and can be swept with a standard soft brush broom or vacuum cleaner.

The biggest difference between lacquer and oil is that lacquer’s form a protection over the wood surface but it doesn’t allow for the natural movement (expansion) of hardwood. 

Natural Oiled Hardwood Floors

The seasonal expansion and contraction in the wood encourage the pores and grain to swell which may entail small cracks to develop in the lacquer coating and may enable moisture to penetrate especially from standing water which will penetrate lacquered floors much faster than oiled floors. 

There are two major advantages of an oiled wood floor; firstly, nothing compares to the beauty of an oiled wood floor. 

Secondly, the wood pores remain open so the hardwood appears more natural compared to lacquered wood floors, some people feel lacquer has a slight ‘plastic-like’ appearance. Lacquered floors need very little maintenance, you simply vacuum and damp mop with floor cleaner and it will get rid of tough stains. 

Lacquered finished hardwood is more susceptible to scratching than an oiled floor and a lacquered wood floor cannot be spot maintained to repair scratches. With worn lacquer, the whole floor must be sanded back to bare timber and resealed. 

Oiled floors need a little more maintenance than lacquered floors as it requires regular cleaning with a special maintenance product that helps replenish the oils in the wood, as the floor is cleaned it gains further protection against wear and tear. 

For marks and tougher stains, oiled floors may require an application of specific maintenance products, oiled hardwood floors can be spot maintained. 

Scratches can be removed by simply applying the maintenance product/s to the affected area and will never require future sanding as opposed to lacquered hardwood floors which may require a full re-sand and re-sealed every 7-15 years. 

Refurbishing of hardwood floor is an inconvenience and troublesome as the room or area must be clear of furnishings and object during the process. 

Natural Oil provides protection from both the inside and outside by penetrating deeply into the pores of the wood allowing it to breathe and hardens on the surface. 

The oiled coating consists of 100% natural ingredients including linseed oil, tung oil or sunflower oil.

UV Oiled Hardwood Floors

A UV Oiled finished hardwood floor has a “natural timber” look and feel resembling a matt and satin finish. UV Oiled hardwood floors are oiled-coated floors which are cured in a factory/production mill using UV lights. 

The UV light speeds up the drying process and hardens the coating this means the floors do not need to top up the coats of oil once installed or require the same upkeep or maintenance of a conventional Natural Oiled hardwood floors. 

The appearance of UV oiled hardwood floor is matt in appearance which enables you to feel the texture of the natural grain and has become very popular finish for pre-finished hardwood floors which are either natural looking or brushed finish.

UV Oiled Hardwood Floors are just as easily maintained as lacquered hardwood floors by using branded cleaning/maintenance products and can be swept with a standard soft brush broom or vacuum cleaner.

Here is our quick guide to help you select what finish is best for you:

Close up of Lacquered Surface Wood Flooring

Lacquered Surface

Lacquered finish will tend to be Acrylic based with a built-in UV protection.

Lacquer is relatively hard smooth surface coating of between 5 and 10 layers of lacquer applied, making it a very hard wearing and durable surface.

A finish that is ideal for busy households and very easy to maintain using maintenance products.


Close up of Natural Oiled Wood FLooring

Natural Oiled Surface

Natural oil deepens the natural colour of the wood as it brings out the natural beauty of the grain and soaks right into the wood, if the floor becomes scratched or bruised the damaged area can easily be touched in with some oil.

Hard-wax oiled which have the same characteristics as natural oil but less absorbent surface, hard-wax oil stays more on the surface as it has greater viscosity of wax. Oiled floors require regular maintenance for its upkeep of natural beauty.


Close up of a UV Oiled Wood Flooring

UV Oiled Surface

UV Oiled is similar in appearance to Natural Oil finish UV bringing out the natural beauty of the grain, the difference is that a UV oiled floor does not require the same upkeep or maintenance to that of natural oiled floor.

UV Oil is hardened using UV light carrying the same benefits of a lacquered finish with the look and feel of natural oil but with less maintenance.


Close up of LED Oiled Wood Flooring

LED Oiled Surface

LED Oiled floor has is very similar to UV Oiled giving a deepen natural colour to wood and bringing out the natural beauty of the grain.

LED Oiled is more Eco-Friendly as the LED consumes less electricity during production, hardened using LED light carrying the same benefits of a lacquered finish with the look and feel of natural oil but with less maintenance.


Womain sitting on a light oak wood floor

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Maples and Birch are a trading division of Kirklees Group companies, 181 to 183 Summer Road Erdington, Birmingham, B23 6DX
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