Oak wood floor. What finish - Varnish, Lacquer or Oil

(16 Posts)
kelf1 Thu 15-Oct-20 23:24:57


I have just bought a house and have pulled back old carpets to find an oak floor in good condition with a dark discoloured 1960s varnish on it. Having sanded a small area it is revealed to be a light oak simply discoloured by the varnish. We have considered whether to carpet over it again but it is in such good condition we have decided to go with the wood floor (but could easily change our mind again if we hear something negative).

We are looking to have it sanded and finished but are not sure what to finish it with - Varnish, Lacquer or oil. We want something that keeps the wood as light in colour as possible and will not crack and will resist going darker over time. We also want a satin or matt finish.

We would welcome and advice from experience on

a) If you would or would not carpet over the wood flooring (we have never had wood floor before)
b) Whether to use varnish (polyurethane or water based?) , lacquer or oil (easier to repair scratches?)
c) Any specify materials used to finish a floor which you would recommend or not.

Many thanks in advance for you assistance

OP’s posts: |
kelf1 Fri 16-Oct-20 17:18:18


Any opinions?

OP’s posts: |
Decorhate Fri 16-Oct-20 17:24:31

I’d go for a very matt clear varnish

Catycity Fri 16-Oct-20 17:45:35

Oil all the way. That's what my flooring guy recommended too. Easier to sand down and re-oil later on apparently.

NotMeNoNo Fri 16-Oct-20 18:33:59

Osmo Polyx oil is excellent for oak floors. it can be patch repaired just by recoating, no sanding back needed. It is a hardwax oil which is waterproof. www.wood-finishes-direct.com/product/osmo-polyx-oil

Smallgoon Fri 16-Oct-20 18:37:07

I used the osmo polyx oil in my floor in the satin finish. Applied it myself, was easy enough and very happy with the results.

mmmammma Fri 16-Oct-20 18:46:51

Another vote for Osmo polyx hardwax oil, have it on floors and some furniture (managed to clean my son's biro pen drawings off it!). If you're after a light finish you could look at the white oil.


oreosoreosoreos Fri 16-Oct-20 19:02:49

Another vote for the Osmo oil! Goes on lovely and wears so well. We sanded back oak floors and used the clear in one room, and a light coating of the white tint in another, and both look lovely!

One thing to bear in mind is that, depending on the age of the house, wood floors can be cold. We live in a 1930’s cottage which was terribly draughty (virtually no insulation). As part of the renovation DH took the floors up, insulated underneath them, re-laid them, sanded back and then coated with the oil. Definitely a labour of love, but so worth it!

kelf1 Sat 17-Oct-20 19:25:35

Thanks for the responses. To be honest I am really surprised. I would have been certain clear varnish would have won the day!

When renewing an oiled floor does it need resanding or just a new coat(s) of oil?

OP’s posts: |
NotMeNoNo Sat 17-Oct-20 22:03:26

Once it's been set up with 2/3 coats of Osmo oil you just touch up on any bits that need it. It's all on the web site. With floors you do get spots of frequent wear so do make sure to re oil before dirt gets scuffed in (which will then need sanding).

KoalaRabbit Sat 17-Oct-20 22:07:37

We used clear varnish which was recommended by our builder and lasted fine for 10 years.

biddybird Sun 18-Oct-20 17:36:15

My friend had an oiled floor which looked lovely, but had to be sanded and re-oiled every few years. It's a big job and makes a huge mess.
After a few rounds of this they decided to varnish it.

areallthenamesusedup Sun 18-Oct-20 17:38:11

we have both....varnish much easier...won't oil again.

kelf1 Sun 18-Oct-20 23:53:25

Why is varnish much easier?

I understood that you could resand a small patch (say, from a scratch) with oil but with varnish it either had to remain or resand the whole floor.

I was surprised some people said oil the floor as from what I know, if there is little traffic and little chance of a scratch then vanish is better but oil is easier to keep to a good standard as full resanding is not necessary.

But this is why you ask peoples opinion and experience on here.

Thanks for all you input. Please feel free to add anything else you feel may be relevant.

OP’s posts: |
NotMeNoNo Mon 19-Oct-20 08:03:03

Hardwax oil like Osmo is a particularly durable kind of oil but you can look up reviews/ info yourself. A lot of oak flooring suppliers recommend it.

Singingsausage Mon 19-Oct-20 16:19:09

I have oil and would never have it again, it needs way too much maintenance, we have never done this so the floor is pretty scratched and worn in places. It now needs a complete refurbishment which will be costly. A friend had varnished at the same time (10 years) ago and still looks pretty much like new. So it depends really if you are happy to re-oil every 6 months to a year.

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