Hardwood Flooring Finishes: What are Your Options?
Some of the Kia Designs Team recently attended a CPD presented by the Tile and Hardwood Flooring Supplier Domus. As well as getting to have a peruse around one of their amazing showrooms (we love a spot of window shopping), they gave some information about the different finishes and effects they can produce with hardwood engineered flooring.
Lacquer or Oil??
There’s the age old question, which is better, lacquer or oil finishing in regards to hardwood flooring? Both have their advantages and disadvantages:
Lacquer – Advantages:
- It produces and instantly and extremely resistant floor, that is both difficult to scuff and scratch and very hardwearing.
- The coating it receives means it will not need another coating.
- Usually an even colouration
- Although it is fully resistant when first installed, this will slowly decline over time
Lacquer – Disadvantages
- When it does sustain a bad scratch or scuff, it cannot be spot repaired, which means that the whole area will need to be sanded back and re-lacquered
- It produces a less natural looking surface, although this may be more desirable for some
Oil – Advantages
- It has a much more natural looking effect
- As it needs re-oiling every year, this builds up its resistance, which means the older it gets the more resistant and hardwearing it becomes
- If it is damaged in one section, it can easily be spot repaired
Oil – Disadvantages
- It is not as resistant or hardwearing as a lacquer coating after the first finishing
- There may be a more varied colouration to the flooring
As you can see, both finishes have their pros and cons, but it usually depends on personal preference and also, the type of area in which the flooring is being installed. For example, a lacquered floor would be best suited for a commercial space, as it is instantly hardwearing. That being said both lacquered and oiled flooring are suitable for both domestic and commercial premises.
How timber is Sawn
The way in which the timber used in your product is sawn can change the appearance of your flooring.
Plain Sawn: This what most people would recognise when looking at planks of wood, producing the semi-circle pattern of grain and is the standard and cheapest option. This is the traditionally the most unstable way of sawing planks and is most likely to warp, expand and contract.
Rift Sawn: This creates a plank that has a very even appearance, with no semi-circle veins and with fewer knots. However, this is usually a little more expensive as it wastes more material.
Quarter Sawn: Quarter sawn timber produce the most stable and even looking planks. It also produces beautiful ‘rays’ that are very desirable to some. But this is also one of the most expensive ways of cutting timber due to the wastage.
Originally timber was sawn in different ways in order to obtain the most stable boards as possible. However, now with the wonder of engineered hardwood flooring, we can use the traditionally unstable Plain Sawn timber to create flooring that is as hardwearing and substantial Quarter Sawn timber. So it is purely up to your personal preference of which you think is best suited to your project.
Colours, Grains and So Much More
There are a number of different staining processes that can produce just about any effect you can think of. Here are just a couple different effects that can be created. We suggest that its best to visit a showroom, as products always look different in the flesh (and there is just so many options!). Order samples of what you are attracted to and bring them into your home so you can have a better idea of what they feel and look like in situ.
Different Coloured Grains
The grains of the timber can be made lighter or darker depending on the order in which it is stained. If it is stained with a light colour first, then the grain will appear lighter in tone to the rest of the piece. This is because the stain that is applied first will seep the furthest into the grain of the wood.
When a darker stain is applied first you get the opposite effect.
For more example of the effects that can be achieved ask your supplier or visit Domus’ website by clicking here. We hope that we’ve given you a better understanding of your options for your beautiful new flooring.