Why use oil to finish hardwood floors?
Oiling is necessary to increase the lifespan of your flooring. A floor that has not been oiled absorbs more dirt and is more susceptible to damage. Damaged floors with scratches, scuff marks, and light spots are not pleasing to the eye.
Wood oil does not form a layer on top of the flooring, instead it penetrates deeply into the wood and protects it from stains and regular wear and tear. Compared with varnished floors, oiled floors require more maintenance. Depending on the level of use or traffic, wood floors finished with oil require a maintenance coat to be applied once a year in high traffic areas, or every two or three years in domestic areas.
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Know your flooring
Before you run to the store to buy maintenance products, you need to know what type of flooring you have. It is relatively easy to figure out whether you have wood floors or another type of flooring. However, it may not be completely obvious right away whether your hardwood floors have been varnished or oiled.
Once you have established that you are dealing with oiled parquet, you need to figure out how it has been maintained in the past. This means that you need to find out whether the floor was maintained with oil or hard wax oil.
KEEP IN MIND: If the floor was previously oiled, you cannot use hard wax oil, and vice versa, if the floor was previously waxed, you cannot use oil for maintenance!
Oil and hard wax oil are very different products that cannot be used interchangeably. The floor will not absorb the new product. In addition, oils and hard wax oils from different brands may also not work well together. For this reason, it is important to consistently use the same product to maintain your wood floors.
- Hard wax oil is an artificial substance. The advantages of using hard wax oil include cheaper price, faster drying time, and easier application – it can be applied by hand.
- Oil is a natural substance. While using oil ensures a more beautiful end result, compared to hard wax oil it is more expensive, has a longer drying time, is more difficult to apply and requires special equipment.
How often should maintenance oiling be carried out?
When it comes to using oil and hard wax oil, we are talking about two different maintenance routines. Maintenance oiling is somewhat easier. In the case of maintenance oiling, the floor needs to be deep cleaned and then the maintenance oil can be applied. In the case of thorough oiling, the floor must first be sanded instead of deep cleaned. This is the only difference. Everything else is the same.
At home, parquet should be oiled every two years. If the floor is in very good condition, then every three years is sufficient. However, a thorough oiling with sanding should be undertaken every five to seven years. A professional can immediately tell if oiling is needed.
Even if you are diligent with maintenance oiling, you cannot prevent the need for thorough oiling. At some point, it has to be done. At the same time, there is no need to go overboard with it as the noble solid wood layer of modern parquet is relatively thin and cannot withstand frequent sanding.
What is more, whenever you sand your floor, you are basically giving it a restart. After sanding, it is up to you to decide whether you want to use oil or hard wax oil for maintenance until the next sanding.
How are floors oiled?
Whether you have to move out for the duration of oiling depends on the circumstances. One thing is clear: the floor has to be completely empty for maintenance. No cupboard or chair can stay in place, otherwise you will not get an even result. Once you have emptied the rooms, you cannot use them for two days because the floor needs to dry. Both after cleaning and after oiling.
If you have several rooms, you can tackle each one individually.
After you have emptied the room, the skirting boards or walls (if there are no skirting boards) need to be taped off. This should be done to avoid any stains, oil and hard wax oil splatter cannot be removed afterwards. If you spill any oil or wax during the process, it should promptly be cleaned with a cloth.
First, the floor is deep cleaned. Once the floor has been prepared, you can start the oiling process. Hard wax oil can conveniently be applied with a rectangular microfibre mop. This allows you to easily apply the product to the corners of the room. The motion is similar to that used in PVC floor waxing – a sweeping motion, working in the direction of the grain. Keep an eye on how fast the floor absorbs the product. If the product is quickly absorbed, you need to apply one or even two more coats after the first one has dried.
A mop cannot be used for oiling. For oiling, you need a special machine – a buffer (which you can rent). The machine has a buffer pad that rotates and buffs the product into the floor. Since the machine cannot reach the corners, these parts should be oiled by hand.
With oiling, it is also important to keep an eye on how quickly the floor absorbs the product. Apply more oil as needed. Once the oil has been applied, the buffer should be fitted with a clean buffer pad and the floor needs to be buffed one more time to remove any excess oil.
Oiled vs. varnished floors
To many, a varnished parquet may seem like the better choice: there is no need for re-oiling or regular maintenance. However, it does not come without its problems.
When the varnish starts to wear off, the entire floor needs to be sanded before a new layer of varnish can be applied. Keep in mind that, when you sand your wooden floors, you can choose whether you want to use varnish, oil, or hard wax oil to finish it. Even old Soviet-era varnished parquet floors can be revived by sanding and applying a new coat of good-quality oil. The end result will look like an entirely new floor.
In terms of aesthetics, oiling is the best option. Even if it requires more maintenance, you can make your life easier by ordering TP Kinnisvarahooldus to do the oiling or hard wax oiling of your floors.