Choosing an appropriate finish
Depending on the type and age of timber, the look you wish, potential environmental conditions, and purpose (commercial, residential, and other); we would be happy to recommend a finish for the timber.
In general, finishes can be divided into three different types.
With pros and cons attributed to both material property and aesthetic choices.
Oils and wax type finish penetrate the surface of the timber, protecting the wood from within.
Oil modified polyurethane finish has the strength of both oil and polyurethane finishes. It provides reasonable wear resistance while allowing subtle movement within the timber
Flexible Finish – Penetrating Oil
Most penetrating finishes are non-toxic and hypo-allergenic.
There are no issues with edge bonding, cracking.
Minor repairs and scratch masking can be made without sanding the floor again.
Finish sheen level-
Penetrating oils are absorbed into the fibres and thus generally results in matt/ satin finishes.
If you touch the timber, since it is a soft finish, the timber grain and textures will be felt to the touch.
An all-natural oil wood floor finish. VOC free and completely non-toxic product of extraordinary durability.
Available colour ranges more than 30 colour finishes and can be applied in a single coating.
All monocoats are easily maintained and provide a subtle lustre that reveals and complements, rather than conceals, the natural timber grain and patina in the wood.
Monocoat finishes adheres with the first microns of wood by molecular bonding. As a result, Monocoat Natural Oil can cover an average 400 sq. ft. of floor per litre. In addition, because of molecular bonding, no surface film can form, and no variable saturation can occur. Not only is a second coat not required, the finished wood will not accept a second coat. The same action protects against overlaps and colour variance and causes the process to complete in one coat.
Monocoat natural oil finish bonding technology allows local touch up of damaged areas or scratches, because only the free wood fibres will take the touch-up coating. The finished margins next to the scratched or damaged area will not accept new coats. After 10 minutes, just wipe away superfluous oil. There is no overlapping or additional density build-up at the margins.
Loba Impact oil
A durable two component hard oil for wood floors. Based on 100% natural vegetable oils, HS 2K Impact Oil and contains no solvents, water or waxes. Available in transparent and 10 designer colours for a beautiful satin sheen. HS 2K Impact Oil fortifies and protects from within.
For high traffic commercial areas.
Suitable for wood floors.
100% solids – solvent free
Natural satin appearance
Excellent water resistance, also suitable for bathrooms, kitchens and other rooms exposed to high humidity
Increased anti-slip class R10 according to BGR 181 and DIN 51130.
Easy and ergonomic application
Time-saving application in 1 day
Very low consumption
Available in transparent and 10 designer colours for a beautiful satin sheen.
A natural alkyd based, high solid oil which achieves a great quality finish and also environmentally friendly.
A versatile hard oil with high durability- able to be used in yoga studios, gyms, homes, where high, bare-feet traffic is expected. Although durable, it is also comfortable to walk on.
Synteko Natural oil is 100% VOC free, penetrates into the timber surface. It does have a cure time period and hardens on the surface in addition to adding strength within the wooden fibres resulting a very high wear resistant finish but also becomes a part of the timber.
A distinguishing feature of Synteko Natural compared to other penetrating surface oils is that it is close to 100% solids. This results in a very high quality floor finish but also environmentally friendly compared to other floor finish types.
Synteko Natural oil finish provides excellent surface protection, easy to maintain, feels comfortable to bare feet, wear resistant and also, if maintenance correctly, will prevent the wooden floor from ever having to be re-sanded back.
No additional protective sealant/ coating is required to ensure the health and longevity of the timber.
Composite finishes -
Oil modified polyurethane finish has the strength of both oil and polyurethane finishes. It provides reasonable wear resistance while allowing subtle movement within the timber- avoiding edge bonding and splitting.
Feast Watson Alkathane- Semi flexible finish
Composed of a penetrating finish and surface finish, it combines the benefits of both Tung oil and polyurethane for your timber. As such, more durable than using Tung oil separately, easy to spot repair and less likely to have issues such as edge bonding typical of polyurethane finishes.
The oil based Alkyds and urethanes adds to provide a good finish with reasonably good abrasion wear resistance.
The outcome can provide a satin, semi-gloss appearance and will darken over time.
Certain places can require more frequent maintenance, especially areas with regular traffic.
Fine scuffs, scratches which has not compromised the overall surface finish can be mended with Tung oil and can be recoated without sanding it all the way back to bare timber.
Treatex Hard Wax Oil
A combination of oil, wax comprised of natural raw material such as linseed oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, beeswax, carnauba wax and candelilla wax.
This is a premium product available in gloss, satin and matt. It is a hard wearing, non-toxic and parts that are worn can be spot repaired.
Hard wax oil is an engineered finish with ingredients derived from plants and naturally occurring waxes. Plus highly refined mineral spirits to allow ease of application.
This is a remarkable finish that offers excellent durability and renewability with a very rich, lustrous finish, adding additional contrast and richness to existing timber grains.
This finish will not crack, blister or flake. As it is not a physical film such as polyurethane- it has microscopic pores that allow moisture to pass through without causing visible damage to the finish.
Due to this porous property, it is recommended to be used in areas of high humidity, such as kitchen, beach side homes, property in humid zones.
It meets German standard to resist stains from wine, cola, coffee, tea and fruit juices.
Spot repairs are easy. There is no need to sand back existing Treatex. For minor repairs, just scuff the damaged area with a fine steel wool, coat with a liquid wax cleaner and buff lightly till the cleaner is dry. If the damage is extensive, use hard was oil.
To ensure long lasting, beautiful finish- check for repairs on a regular basis and touch up small zones.
Surface Finish- Non flexible finish
Surface finishes shields timber by forming a protective film that looks like a clear plastic on the surface.
Predominantly MC (Moisture-cured) polyurethane, surface finishes are found on pre-finished floors and are the most popular finish product in Victoria.
They are durable, beautiful and water resistant and require very little maintenance. As there are various sheen levels to choose from, it is a flexible and versatile options.
Solvent Based Polyurethane
Non flexible finish
One of the most beneficial aspects of MC polyurethane, it is the hardest wearing and moisture resistant surface finish. As it is in effect- a large plastic film bonded to the timber surface.
However, after a certain time- the surface finish can yellow over time.
During its application, generally, it has a strong noxious odour and contains toxic elements. And the drying time for a new floor is roughly a few days.
One potential problem is edge bonding, splitting, cracking of the finish when the moisture content of the air is very low.
We can advise on how to prevent this issue.
Water Based Polyurethane
Non flexible finish
One of the most popular and common finishes that we at MyFlooring use in Victoria.
Due to many factors such as:
Environmentally friendlier option
Comes in a range of finish sheen: such as Matt/ Satin/ Gloss in general
No Yellowing/ discoloration as seen in MC/ Solvent based polyurethane. *Especially on white washed/ limed floors.
At MyFlooring we also tend to recommend commercial grade water based polyurethane as it is hard wearing and durable.
Less VOC than regular MC polyurethane and thus less odorous.
Potential issue of edge bonding does exist but we can also advise on how to reduce risk as much as possible.
Finish Pro/Con Summary
As timber is a natural fibre, in its lifetime, we can expect to see movements via environmental factors such as moisture, seasonal changes, humidity, air conditioning, etc. etc. In these cases we would recommend a flexible finish which flexes under the subtle movements.
If a hard finish is chosen a common issue of visible splits forming can occur.
For example, a new timber floor laid in winter, coated in an inflexible finish, may run the risk of surface finish splitting not only 6 months later during summer.
Solvent Based Polyurethane
Most durable, wear resistant finish
Gloss, Satin, Matt options available
Surface yellows overtime
Edge bonding is possible
Hazardous chemical and VOC present
Extensive curing time (Approx. 2 weeks)
Water Based Polyurethane
Does not yellow overtime
Range of finish options
Durable to wear
Non Toxic, Less VOC
Less change of edge bonding
Fast dry + Cure (Approx. 3 Days)
No need for client to vacate the premise
Cost more per unit than Solvent Polyurethane
Difficult to repair small damages
Oil Modified Polyurethane
Less toxic, less VOC.
No edge bonding.
No splitting of finish.
Deepens the visual beauty of the timber.
Easy to patch small damage.
More durable than 100% oil/ wax finishes.
Less wear resistant than MC Polyurethane.
Longer curing time req than Water based Polyurethane.
Natural Oil/ Wax finishes
Non-toxic, no hazardous ingredients.
More environmentally friendly option than polyurethane.
No splitting, no edge bonding.
Enhances the natural beauty of timber.
Easy to patch repair.
Able to maintain without sanding back timber.
Brings out natural timber grain to the touch.
Maintenance required (every 1-2 years).
Cannot achieve a Gloss finish- as it is not a film finish.
Can allow small dirt build up between timber grains.
What makes a floor finish more wear resistant than another? Very often the hardness of a finish is confused with the wear resistance, but these are 2 different things. A harder finish does not mean it is necessarily more wear resistant. For example, when comparing solvent-based finishes, a 2 pack finish whilst harder, does not have the wear resistance of a single pack moisture-cured finish. Even the method of measuring wear resistance can be misunderstood. The most common test method is by using a Taber Abraser machine, but numerous testing standards exist and this is where the confusion begins.
Of the different Taber Abraser testing standards, the grit feeder method(SIS 923509) provides the most realistic prediction of the performance of a floor finish. The reason is because this test best simulates 'real life' wear and tear.
Lower the mg/100revs the harder the surface and more resistant to wear.
Typical single pack moisture cured polyurethane
Typical 2 pack polyurethane
Typical Oil modified/Tung oil finish
Synteko Classic(Acid curing)
Ref Bona X
Guidance of finish selection
The Answers You Need
I want the cheapest finish
MC polyurethane gloss
I want the most durable finish
Waterbase polyurethane 2 part
I want a non-toxic finish
Water base polyurethane/Penetrating natural oil/Treatex hard wax oil
I want a non-yellowing finish
I want my floor colour to be as light as possible
I want my floor colour to have a rich, luxurious look
Oil modified PU /Tung oil/ Treatex wax/ Penetrating Oil
I want my floor to be look as matte as possible
Treatex wax oil Matt finish/ Penetrating oil finish
I want my floor to be limed and polished
I want my floor to be stained and polished
Oil modified polyurethane/ Treatex Wax/Combination of Oil modified and Water base polyurethane
I want my floor to be maintained without the need for sanding back in the future
Penetrating oil/ Treatex wax/ Tung oil.
I want my floor to be finishes as quickly as possible
Penetrating oil/Water base polyurethane
I have a restaurant with a timber floor and I want to keep it looking clean without resending again
Penetrating oil with wax finish and maintain with regular maintenance coat every 6 to 12 months depending on volume of traffic.