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How to Choose the Best Wood Floor Finish For Your Wood Type

When it comes to crafting the perfect space, every detail counts. For designers, homeowners, and contractors, the choice of wood flooring finish can dramatically alter the look and feel of a room. 

A finish not only acts as a protective coating but also serves as the final touch to the visual aesthetic. Roger Hyde Limited offers a spectrum of finish options for your wood flooring – each with their unique benefits and considerations. Here's how to choose the right one.


The Impact of Finish on Wood Flooring

Wood floor finishes are crucial in preserving the natural beauty of the wood while providing durability and ease of maintenance. They can range from glossy to matte and affect everything from the hue to the texture of the flooring. Understanding the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages is key to making an informed decision.


Lacquer Finished Floor

A lacquer finish provides a robust protective membrane, and by sitting ‘on top’ of the wood, the chemical seal ‘fixes’ to the wood itself, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. Renowned for its resilience, lacquer finished floors offer several upsides:

  • Durability: Excellent protection level with choices of high gloss or matte sheen.

  • Ease of Maintenance: Requiring less frequent cleaning, perfect for busy environments.

  • Safety: Modern formulas include R10 rated non-slip finishes, offering peace of mind.

  • Eco-Friendly: Newer lacquers feature reduced VOC levels.

  • Co-efficiency of friction: The only floor finish that’s appropriate for sports floors where you need to be assured of grip.


However, every coin has a flip side, and lacquer finishes are no exception:

  • Visibility of Scratches: Prone to showing surface scratches, which may require more attention over time.

  • Aged Appearance: May show dirt more readily than oiled surfaces, demanding constant upkeep.

  • Less Natural Look: Some may find lacquered floors to lack the 'natural' warmth of wood.

  • Complex Repairs: Localised damage requires skillful attention to maintain appearance and integrity.

Given these factors, a lacquer finish is ideal for those seeking longevity and low maintenance, albeit with some trade-offs in the natural appearance and potential for visible wear.


Hard Wax Oil and Oil Treated Floor

An oil finish penetrates deeply to offer protection while emphasising the natural colour and grain of the wood. Its benefits are clear:

  • Authentic Aesthetics: Achieve a natural, understated elegance with a matt sheen.

  • Repairable: Local repairs blend seamlessly, allowing for targeted maintenance.

  • Environmentally Friendly: Manufacturing processes often prefer the planet.

  • Ongoing Care: If the preparation is correct and sufficient when oil is introduced to the floor, then care and maintenance is usually straightforward, and it will repel spillages.


The drawbacks are few but notable:

  • Susceptibility to Water: Offers less defence against spills compared to lacquer.

  • Wear Over Time: May require more frequent reapplication depending on traffic and use, as oil sits as a very thin layer ‘in’ the top of the wooden surface. Therefore, overtime or in areas with a high footfall an uneven surface can be created.

  • Longer Drying Times: The curing process for oil finishes requires patience and planning, but drying times are reducing through the development of new 2k oils.

Oiled floors are a match for those who adore a natural look and feel, coupled with a commitment to eco-friendliness, and don't mind the added upkeep.


Soap Treated Floor

Soap finishes, though less common, and often used on soft woods rather than hard woods, offer a unique experience and aesthetic:

  • Continuous Care: Each wash reinforces the floor's protection, melding maintenance with cleaning. The soap is a protector and a maintainer. A great traditional way of protecting a floor, especially for soft wood flooring in Europe.

  • Resilience to Marks: Most small damages can be managed with regular washing.

  • Aesthetic Flexibility: Choose from various soaps to subtly alter the floor's hue.

  • Ageless Beauty: With time, a soap-finished floor will develop a desirable patina.

However, it comes with its own set of caveats:

  • Increased Cleaning Frequency: Regular upkeep is necessary to maintain protection and appearance.

  • Lower Spillage Protection: More vulnerable to damage from water and spills.

  • Potentially Unsuitable For Underfloor Heating: Can show more signs of wear like cracking if not meticulously maintained.

Soap treated floors are ideal for those who value the organic ageing process and are dedicated to regular upkeep.


The finish you select plays a pivotal role in defining the atmosphere and functionality of your flooring. Whether it's the hard-wearing resilience of lacquer, the natural charm of oil treatment, or the organic evolution of a soap finish, your choice will influence both aesthetic and practise for years to come.

Roger Hyde Limited is committed to assisting you beyond the choice of finish. Our ongoing support and services ensure that your investment remains protected, your spaces beautiful, and your satisfaction complete.


Ready to discuss your wood flooring finishes? Get in touch with the experts at Roger Hyde Limited – your partners in flooring excellence.

Seeking tailored advice or have specific questions? Contact our team now to explore the best flooring finishes for your unique space.


Wood Floor Finish, immaculate flooring and stairs in a wood finish

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