There are many choices of timber finishes. Which should you choose?
Finish categories, In general finishes can be divided into 3 different types: surface finish, composition finish, flexible/ penetrating finish.
1. Surface finish:
Surface finishes work as shields that stick to the surface of your timber, like a thin, clear plastic film.
- The most typical and common type of finish found in Victoria.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- The most durable of all types of finish
- Water resistant.
- Has various sheen choices, such as satin, gloss, matt to choose from.
- Able to combine with many different colours.
- Nearly impossible to repair deep scratches and dents.
- Some finishes has high VOC, but water based finish has lower VOC rating.
- Whenever the timber shifts, moves, the surface finish can split along cracks.
Item types: Solvent based polyurethane, water based polyurethane.
2. Composite Finish
Composition finishes are a combination of surface finish and a penetrating finish. Combining both oil and polyurethane finishes, it can be a useful versatile option.
- Combines the benefit of a surface finish.
- Allows subtle movement within the timber without cracking as severely as a surface finish.
- It is more durable than using a penetrating finish such as using only oil/ wax finish.
- Allows for spot touch ups with wax for small scratch and dents.
- Provides multiple finishes- such as satin, matt finishes.
- The colour of the timber does darken, yellow over time.
- Certain places of high traffic will require additional maintenances and care.
- Not as hard/ durable as a top/surface finish.
3. Flexible Finish – Penetrating Finish
Penetrating finishes are oils/ waxes that penetrate into the timber to provide a water resistant and generally results in a matt finish.
- Most penetrating finishes are non-toxic and hypo-allergenic.
- There are no edge bonding/ cracking issues as there is no surface finish.
- Minor scratches and dents are easily fixes with additional oil/ wax applied and buffed.
- Maintenance is possible generally and can be done DIY with a buffer machine.
- Surface is matt and soft to touch, and able to express timber grain much better than a surface finish.
- There is no various sheen type, with matt being the only option.
- Since there is no protective surface layer, damage and scratches are more frequent and visible under heavy traffic.
- Although maintenance is possible, if left without care, deep scratches can darken over time.
- Can be a more expensive option than other surface/ composition finish types.
Hope you have understood a general overview of different timber types and the pros and cons of each timber type.
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