Advice: Choosing a finish for your floor

Choosing a finish for your floor

After fitting and sanding a solid hardwood floor, the next step is to seal it. This is done for a number of reasons:

  • To enhance the colour and the grain of the wood.
  • To help protect the wood from stains and dirty marks.
  • To help prevent insect and bug attack.

Lacquer or wax?

When it comes to choosing a finish for your floor, you will discover that there are numerous brands and products available with a variety of ingredients, visual effects, advantages and price tags.

Floor finishes can be broken down into two main types:

Lacquers / varnishes
These are solvent-based liquids that result in a hard impervious finish. They commonly give the floor a glossier appearance but with modern manufacturing techniques they are now also available in matt and satin finishes. Hard finishes are very durable and in the short term require very little in the way of maintenance. The disadvantage, however, is that these finishes cannot normally be touched up and will require a full strip and re-seal within 5 – 10  years, depending on traffic.

Wax / oils
These are finishes made from a blend of natural ingredients that form a soft finish on the floor. This type of finish does not seal the floor as well as a hard lacquer and may scratch more easily, but over time the natural oils penetrate deep into the floorboards, feeding and protecting the wood. The main advantage of a waxed floor is that it can be continually refreshed and maintained and waxed floors actually improve over time.

To make the process easier we have selected three tried and tested products from well established brands.

Granwax Classical Silk Satin
Type Advantages Disadvantages Specification
Water based polyurethane. (lacquer) Easy to apply. Cannot be easily repaired.  Container size 5 litres
Rapid drying time. Will need a re-finishing in 5-10 years.  Cover 70M2 / 5 litres
Non-yellowing formulation. Will need a re-finishing in 5-10 years.  Coats 2 – 4
Low solvent content. Solvent based.
Extremely hardwearing.
Excellent stain resistance.
Low initial maintenance.
Available in silk finish.
Granwax Granglaze Satin
Type Advantages Disadvantages Specification
Oil-based polyurethane.
(oil and lacquer mix)
Easy to apply.
Traditional appearance.
Less discoloration than pure oil.
Penetrates deeply like natural oil.
Fast drying time.
Very hardwearing.
Low initial maintenance.
Available in satin finish.
Comparatively cheaper.
Cannot be easily repaired.
Will need re-finishing in 5-10 years.
Solvent based.
Container size 5 litres
Cover 70M2 / 5 litres
Coats 2 – 4
Fiddies Hardwax Oil
Type Advantages Disadvantages Specification
Wax oil blend. 100% natural.
Allows wood to breathe.
Traditional appearance.
Penetrates deeply.
Easily maintainable.
Improves over time.
Available in small containers.
Excellent coverage.
Comparatively difficult to apply.
Higher initial maintenance.
Does not seal the floor as well.
Container size 2.5 litres and 1litre
Cover 100M2 / 5 litres
Coats 2