Now you have your beautiful new flooring all that remains is to select the type of finishing you want. There are various options to choose from, depending upon personal taste, type of room and the amount of traffic. Obviously you want your floor finishing to look good as well as being robust. A good finish completes the look of any floor, so whatever type of wood flooring you have, take some time in picking the finishing that’s best suited to your home.
Laminate or engineered wood
This type of flooring is pre-sealed prior to purchase and will not require further finishing. If you are installing laminate or engineered wood flooring in high traffic areas such as kitchens and busy hallways you can opt to seal the floor again once it has been installed to give it an extra layer of protection.
The sealing process
By applying a protective shield on your floor you are not only helping to preserve the wood, but a good finishing veneer makes daily maintenance easier too. In kitchens a spill-resistant finish is essential to stop liquids seeping through the boards and causing damage to the wood joists below.
Choose from a clear or coloured finish to give your floor a sheen that will polish up beautifully. Popular in bedrooms and drawing rooms, a smooth varnished effect is not altogether practical for halls, kitchens or bathrooms as its highly polished shine when buffed can be a slipping hazard in a busy, functional space.
Oil-based lacquers are generally excellent for use on high traffic flooring, and a well-maintained lacquer floor can look good for years. Whilst lacquer with an oil base may suffer discolouration over time, water-based lacquers avoid this problem, although these tend to be a little less robust. The good news is that a lacquer finish is easy to work with if you need to spot-fix light scratch marks.
Probably the best finishing for a natural look, oil penetrates into the floorboards and hardens to a solid finish so that when you run your fingertips across the boards you will still feel the wood grain. Oil tends to make wood floors become darker over the years, but with an oil coating it is generally easier to spot and repair small scratches and scuff marks.
If you fancy a change of colour then try a woodstain. There are a huge selection of colours and shades on the market today from every shade of wood to bright and bold primary colours to transform your floor into something else entirely. If you opt to go a few shades lighter or darker, woodstain can do this too. Once the staining has been applied (and of course is thoroughly dry) we recommend that you apply a finishing such as lacquer or varnish to protect the colour.
On the plus side, woodstain is a cheap and cheerful way to completely transform old floorboards into something completely different. However, if you are unsure of any aspect of woodstaining then bring in a professional company to do this for you. A botched stain job means complete removal of the veneer and re-sanding before stain can be reapplied, so it really is quicker (and cheaper!) to let the wood floor specialists handle the woodstaining for you.
Sanding first, finishing second
No matter what style of finishing you go for, remember that completely removing the old surface and re-sanding the boards is absolutely essential for a successful job. No matter how good you think your flooring looks now, never be tempted to cut corners and apply new finishing on top of the old.
If you are not sure on how to carry out floor finishing yourself then don’t be afraid to call a professional wood flooring company for a no-obligation estimate. You may well save yourself time and money. If in doubt, call the floor sanding experts team out!