Which Finish Is Right For You!
Choose the Finish That Matches Your Lifestyle
Wood floor finishes have changed dramatically in the past 10 years. New environmentally focused laws have made some of the tried and true finishes of 20 years ago illegal to use in almost every state.
That isn’t to say the new finishes aren’t as good, it’s just that you can’t reach for the oil based polyurethane that worked like a charm, was cheap and durable.
There are actually some excellent choices available that are better than the old polyurethanes and offer a bigger variety of finish patinas, etc.
We’ve tried about every high-end finish available and have had great success with the finishes we’ve selected for our planking. They also happen to be the most expensive but why save a few dollars on an inferior finish.
All Finishes have pluses and minuses re the type of look (top coated or natural), wear resistance to scuffs and scratches, maintenance and reparability.
1.Unstained Natural European Oil (Our Best Selling Finish)
This oil is a micro-porous finish that penetrates and becomes part of the wood. It is not a wear coat and therefore cannot chip, crack or peel.
Imported from Germany, where strict environmental standards have been in place for decades, this hard-wax oil consists of thistle oil, sunflower oils, natural vegetable oils, carnauba wax, candellila wax and special hardeners. On unstained oak it ages to a beautiful golden color that resists stains, wine, alcohol, and water.
This is one of the very few finishes that truly get better with age. The wood will turn a deep golden color and subtle tones and hues will appear as it ages. It is one of the most natural, environmentally friendly finishes available. (It is so safe it is suitable for babies’ toys!)
It will show less dust and dirt and fewer scratches than any other finish you can buy.
Buy this floor if you want natural flooring that will age beautifully and provide years of low maintenance service.
Don’t buy this floor if you want darker colors or a polyurethane top coating
Maintenance: This is a low maintenance finish. You can sweep, vacuum, or dry “Swiffer” to pick up dust and dirt. A mild cleaner on a damp mop will remove most caked on dirt.
To brighten the finish, add protection and remove tougher dirt and stains use the OSMO cleaner wax. Simply wipe it on with a piece of sponge or a heavy paper towel (shop towels work great). Caked on dirt may require some rubbing. Then, let it dry and buff it if you want a shinier look or leave it dry to a soft, flat matte finish.
Tip: You only have to maintain the traffic areas, not the whole floor, as you must with any other non plank wood floor.
This is the easiest floor to spot repair perfectly that I’ve ever encountered. The wood can scratch (as any hardwood can. ..it is wood after all), especially from dog nails, dragging furniture, etc, however a little oil rubbed on the surface will blend it in and add protection. If you want to remove the scratches you can sand the spots down and apply three coats of the oil to the spot over 3 days. The newly repaired areas will “catch up” and blend in perfectly in a few weeks.
You never have to refinish the whole floor!
2. Natural European Oil over Weathered Planking or over Solid Stains
Weathered Planking & Oil
Our weathered planking (Blackened, Colors, or Calico) has the look of an old reclaimed floor and is as easy to maintain as our planks with just the oil finish and no stain.
The color that remains from our “weathering” process is down in the grain and in the knots so it isn’t there to be worn off as with a solid surface stain.
Buy this flooring if you want authentic, foot-worn planks in subtle, weathered looking wood tone colors and a softer natural finish.
Do not buy this finish if you want a solid colored floor.
Maintenance: The same as the oil finish without stain.
The same as the oil finish without stain except you can mix a little of the stain (provided) if the scratches reveal bare wood down to the grain.
Solid Wood Tone Stains & Oil
This will become the oldest looking flooring we offer. It will show “character marks” and signs of aging more than any other finish. It is a magnificent recreation of truly colonial flooring.
The hand rubbed wood tone stain colors will deepen over time.
Buy this flooring if you want authentic, foot-worn planks in rich wood tone colors and a softer natural finish.
Do not buy this finish if you are troubled by marks and foot worn appearance or if you want more gloss and the deep surface coating of a polyurethane.
Maintenance: If the foot-worn, historic look appeals to you, maintenance is really easy. However, this finish will require a bit more attention if you want it to stay in a more perfect, “as new” condition.
You can sweep, vacuum, dry “Swiffer” dust and dirt. A mild cleaner on a damp mop will remove most dirt.
To brighten the finish, add protection and remove tougher dirt and stains use the OSMO cleaner wax. Simply wipe it on with a piece of sponge or a heavy paper towel (shop towels work great). Caked on dirt may require some rubbing. Then, let it dry and buff it if you want a shinier look or leave it to dry in a soft, flat matte finish.
This surface will tend to scuff and wear through more easily than polyurethane, and that is it’s appeal. It will look old, not damaged. Occasional applications of oil in traffic areas will protect the color and deepen the finish. It can be spot repaired although not quite as easily as the natural oil with no stain.
Polyurethane Over Wood Toned Stains or Weathered Finishes
Polyurethane is a very hard, durable top coating that has been used on floors since the early 1900’s. Until the last 30 years or so it was strictly mixed with oil based solvents to apply it to the surface.
Oil based polyurethane was very easy to apply, was durable and fairly inexpensive. The problem was it released some nasty volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) into the atmosphere while drying.
Although it has taken years to achieve the same durability, polyurethanes for floors are now almost exclusively water based products with very low VOC content.
Our Commercial Polyurethane - Basic Streetshoe XL - is a hard, durable finish. It is a commercial two-part catalyzed finish. It is one of the best commercial finishes available anywhere in the world and is used extensively in restaurants, shopping malls, and gymnasiums throughout the world! (It is the finish used in the US Olympic Training Center and in The Sydney Opera House)
We offer polyurethane in two sheens: Satin and Super Matte (the most historic look in polyurethane that adds depth without any sheen)
Since it is a water based polyurethane it is crystal clear, however, special sealers can be used to mimic the more golden look of oil based polyurethane on unstained oak. By itself on unstained oak it provides a bright “new oak” appearance. And, because it has tremendous ultraviolet light protection it will not darken with age.
Buy polyurethane over wood tone stains if you want rich colors and a deeper top coat that will resist scratches and scuffing more than oil.
Don’t buy this flooring if you want a floor that will look more natural and show the marks of time and use without looking damaged.
Maintenance: Polyurethane is a no wax finish. Simply vacuum, “Swiffer” or damp mop as required to maintain a perfect finish. You can use common floor cleaning products (non-silicone based, non-ammonia based). We’ve found the “Bruce Hardwood Floor Cleaner” available at Home Depot, COSTCO, etc to be a good product.
Repairs: All polyurethanes are “wear coats” that eventually need to be refinished. (depends entirely on traffic, not time)
A bit of the stain will make minor scratches or even deep cuts almost disappear. (we provide a small can of the stain with your flooring)
However, polyurethane is not easily spot repaired. Although, because there is a natural separation between planks (unlike a standard hardwood floor), you can refinish individual planks or the planks in high traffic areas without re-doing the whole floor.
The polyurethane we use is water based and can be easily recoated in a few hours without sanding (if you don’t let it wear through to bare wood before recoating). The recoated surface can take light foot traffic in a few hours and furniture can be replaced within 24 hours.
The antique Super Matte over wood toned stains is a close approximation of our oil over stain. It will not change color or darken substantially over time.
A Word on “Dogs”
They will dent and scratch any wood floor and leave a trail of hair, water and debris wherever they roam. It’s just a fact of life that we dog lovers accept as part of the deal. (We have a yellow lab (Our shop dog “Bea”) so we live with this every day)
Here is how we would rank our finishes re dogs:
1. Oil without stain and weathered finishes will show scratches less than polyurethane finishes and are the easiest to repair.
2. Our polyurethane is as tough as any finish on the market but dogs can eventually dent the wood and scratch the finish over time. How long it holds up depends on how active the dog is and maintenance like keeping nails trimmed. Polyurethane cannot be spot repaired
3. Oil over solid stain will scratch easier than any other finish we offer. It can be spot repaired but takes some time to learn how to do it well. When this floor does scuff and scratch it looks really old, a trait many customers like.
So we can recommend our oiled or polyurethaned planks (1 &2) with reasonable confidence. And #3 only if the considerable marking dogs will add appeals to you.
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