A new hardwood floor does not need much else to look amazing. Genuine hardwood has innate charm. However, if the hardwood planks will be receiving plenty of foot traffic for the next four decades or so, then you must consider the finishing product carefully. Even something as durable and reliable as red oak needs additional protection. Floors in high traffic areas are subject to wear and tear, and the kind of finishing will determine whether you will have to refinish after four years, or perhaps after ten.
The simplest choice: wood floor wax
Carnauba wax is highly recommended by flooring specialists. Handy Sanders points to the probable reasons: because it is easy to find, affordable, and has been used for centuries. Some products are in liquid form, while others are in paste form. Minerals are mixed with refined extract from Copernicia prunifera tree leaves, a type of palm tree. Wax penetrates into the wood and seals the surface. It is a non-toxic natural option that’s seeing resurgence, despite the availability of synthetic alternatives.
Wax does not offer much resistance to stains, and requires regular re-application. Still, wax offers a low-sheen finish, which for many homeowners is preferable to the kind of shine resulting from application of contemporary polyurethane products. Wax is still the top choice for historical renovation projects.
Weighing the options: oil versus water
The discussion of oil versus water finish is rather interesting. Many specialists in wooden floors are partial to water-based products, particularly if they are treating exotic timber species. Water-based finishes have the advantage of letting the wood species’ natural colour shine through. They are also the environmentally responsible choices.
Meanwhile, oil-based finishes are more applicable to dark woods such as red birch and walnut. Overall, oil-based finishes work better if your goal is to add depth and colour to your wooden floor.
In choosing a finishing product for your wooden floor, learn about the different product categories and the advantages of each. Explore application and maintenance requirements as well. Give your valuable hardwood floor what it deserves.