When it comes to engineered wood floors, beauty is not just skin deep. While it is important to check the robustness of the floor, it is equally important to mull over the kind of finish you wish to go for.
Each style of finish lends its own unique visual appearance to the wood, as well as different levels of protection. Choosing a particular finish therefore, purely depends on your aesthetics and overall needs.
In this handy guide, we have put together the perfect finish available for engineered wood floors. We hope it helps you find the look you want to achieve.
The different types of finishes
While previously, two types of finishes, mainly oils and lacquers, were in demand – today you have a wider choice to suit every taste and décor.
As a finish, oils have been around for thousands of years. An oiled floor accentuates the natural beauty of the wood patterns, the swirls and grains, and maintains the authenticity of the wood. It gives an organic matt look, which gains more character as the wood ages.
In this case, natural oils like linseed or jojoba are applied evenly on the floors. The oil is then allowed to soak in and bond with the wood for an extra layer of protection. The best thing about oiled floors is that it never needs to be sanded and only regular applications of oil is necessary to bring the lustre back.
If you wish to go for a glossy, smooth look, lacquer would be your natural choice. This type of finish is very varnish-like and acts as a hardwearing layer on top of the wood surface – which gives your floor added protection. Since it has a high sheen, a lacquered floor reflects light and makes a room appear brighter and bigger.
Considering longevity and performance of the floor has become all too important, UV oils and lacquers are becoming much sought-after finishes. The oil, in this case, is exposed to high-intensity UV lights, which cures the oil quickly. This type of finish, however, gives a slightly shiny, silky appearance, unlike the matt appearance of natural oils. A UV oiled floor combines the advantages of a lacquered floor in terms of protection and the looks of an oiled floor, with an extra layer of protection from sunlight.
Just like in the case of oil, the lacquer will be exposed to high-capacity UV lights. This finish gives a high-gloss, shiny look to your floor and prevents the wood from fading with daily exposure to the sun’s rays.
For those who like a vintage, old-world look, the distressed finish is a good bet. In this case, the wood surface is intentionally ‘distressed’ by either brushing or hand scraping to create an old, worn-out look. This process includes adding wormholes or wearing out a plank’s edges.
The wonderfully textured, sensory appeal of this type of finish is undeniable.
For those who desire a rustic, farmhouse aesthetic, a brushed floor makes all the difference. The planks are brushed gently with a steel comb or hard wire brush, which helps in removing the softer wood fibres and emphasizing the harder ones. This results in a sumptuous, textured and aged appearance, highlighting the natural beauty of the grain. A pleasant, tactile and earthy sensation is what you get with a brushed engineered wood floor.
So many of us love the natural look and feel of real wood. A hand scraped finish amplifies this natural look by adding extra definition and texture to the wood surface. Hand scraping is done to make the wood appear old and worn – adding extra charm and character to the wood.
If your décor is all about antique furniture and period pieces, this type of engineered wood flooring finish would complement the space perfectly.
Also known as fuming, smoking is a finishing process that makes the wood appear darker, thus bringing out the grain patterns. This process gives the planks added intensity and lush details, since no two boards will sport the same colour. Classy, sophisticated decors will be elevated further with this kind of flooring.
As the term suggests, an invisible finish means that the floor doesn’t appear to be oiled or lacquered, while in fact, it is. This is a great option for those who wish to have an unfinished, raw appearance on their floors, but want the protection that oils or lacquer offers.
White washed or bleached
For those leaning towards a minimalistic style, a white washed engineered wood finish works perfectly well. The wood is thoroughly brushed before being washed with a white stain, which exudes a clean and pristine look.
If you wish to go the DIY route, you could opt for unfinished engineered wood floors. Which simply means you get the raw material with no finish on top. The advantage of choosing a no-finish floor is that you get a wider choice of colours, textures and designs to choose from. This also allows you to experiment and choose the type of finish you wish to go for eventually.