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Oil VS Polyurethane Finished Wood Floors

Whether you have traditional oak hardwood floors or engineered hardwood floors, selecting the best floor finish is critical. Many factors should be considered when choosing the finish, such as durability, appearance, scratch resistance, etc.

When talking about finishes for wood floors, polyurethane (both water-based and oil-based) is among the most popular choices. But recently, oil finished wood floors have made a comeback. With the increased demand for reclaimed wood floors, oiled finishes have also gained popularity.

But what makes both the finishes different from each other? Let’s find out.

Polyurethane Finished Wood Floor

Polyurethane is a varnish like coat applied on top of a wood floor. It creates a layer on the surface and prevents against excessive wear.

  • Are highly-durable and water-resistant
  • Needs to be refinished every 7-12 years
  • Acts as a raincoat and provides protection to the floor
  • Adds several layers of coating seals to the surface and protects against moisture and damage
  • Tends to scratch more easily
  • Can’t be spot-repaired, requires sanding and recoating of the entire floor
  • Products required for cleaning polyurethane finished wood floors are not expensive
  • Ideal for rooms with high or heavy footfall
  • Comes in gloss, high gloss and matt finishes
  • Can be wiped easily; spills don’t seep into the body of the floor

Oil Finished Wood Floor

Oil finish is comparable to moisturisers on skin. It penetrates the wood floor and gives a richer look to the floor.

  • Gives a natural, matt look
  • Slightly higher level of maintenance is required on a regular basis
  • Needs to be re-oiled every 3-5 years
  • Doesn’t create a layer on the surface; incorporates itself into the wood
  • Nourishes the wood with more oil
  • Can be treated locally if the damage is in a particular location
  • Provides protection both on the surface and into the core area
  • Comes with a brushed effect to highlight the grains of the wood
  • Easy application and refinishing
  • Cost of products used for cleaning oil finished wood floors is slightly high

Both polyurethane finished wood floors and oil finished wood floors have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for durability, then polyurethane finish is suitable for you. If you want beauty and easy application, then oil finish is your best bet. Oil finished wood floors can be refreshed from time to time, whereas polyurethane finished wood floors require complete removal and reapplication. Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

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