Is it better to have lacquered or oiled floor? How to choose between pre-finished and unfinished wooden floor? These are main questions to ask before you select the floor for you house. One of the things that people often leave unconsidered until just before ordering is the finish they’ll choose for their new floor. How to choose the best option?

The difference between pre-finished and unfinished floor

No matter what flooring species you choose – you will certainly have to consider whether the floor should be finished or unfinished. Finishing the floor provides that protective layer, sort of the top coat that seals your floor against stains, wear and tear and moisture. It also highlights natural beauty and characteristics of the floor.

Pre-finished floor
That protective cover is applied at the manufacturer factory under controlled environment that allow proper curing and drying. Those conditions also preventing the finish from getting dust, hair and other foreign particles. It is very hard to control this during on-site application of the finish. When the floor is pre-finished you get additional option of choosing plank with slight bevelling or square edge, which makes individual flooring boards more noticeable.

Unfinished floor
The name suggests unfinished floor leaves factory untreated. When you purchase unfinished wood flooring you can expect planks that are made of bare timber. It allows home owner to have the floor finished on site, after installation. That process gives maximum flexibility when it comes to selecting grades and species available. Unfinished wood flooring allows the home owner to select custom stains that can match or compliment the colour of existing floor. They are also available in different sizes and wide range of thickness which is perfect if you want to match up against levels of the floor that is already installed in your home.

The difference between oil and lacquer

Lacquer is a varnish like liquid that sits on the surface of the natural wooden floorboard. Thicker than oil, the lacquer liquid remains on the surface. End result is strong, smooth and slightly shiny look.

Lacquer is recommended in areas that have higher foot traffic, areas that might  experience wet conditions and if you want to give the floor a slight glossy look. Lacquered floors (including matt lacquered) need very little maintenance; you simply sweep or vacuum and then very slight damp mop with eco-friendly floor cleaner.

Unlike lacquer finishes which only provide protection from above, oil finishes provide protection from both the inside and outside. The oil penetrates deeply into the wood providing long-term protection while also leaving a protective layer on the surface to protect the floor. Scratches on your floor tend to be less visible on oiled floors. The cleaning and maintenance is easy but natural oiled floors do require more maintenance; once installed it is recommended that another coat of oil is immediately applied. Heavy scratches and scuffs can be lightly sanded and a natural oil can be applied over the affected area. When it comes to maintenance, natural oiled wood floors do require oiling from time to time. Typically once a year will do.

If you are looking to retain the natural look of the floor than oil, particularly brushed effect oil finish is recommended.