Hardwood floors: varnished or pre-oiled?

Hardwood floors: varnished or pre-oiled?

Hardwood floors are very popular in Québec homes, largely because of the fact that they’re timeless and suit every decoration style. For a long time, you would mostly find varnished floors on the market. This finish type was perceived as more resistant compared to the old techniques. However, these days, we’re seeing a new trend appear in the field of hardwood flooring: the pre-oiled floor.

Which is the better of the two? Each one has its own pros and cons, so we’ll give you the facts so that you’re better prepared to make a choice.



Varnished hardwood floors

In the past, most hardwood floors were covered with layers of varnish. You had to reapply the varnish periodically, and, since the product was quite smelly, the occupants of the house had to leave the room and sometimes even the house for a few days. Many new products have been developed to mitigate this situation, though, so the process has now been made much simpler.

Water-based varnishes let you properly protect the hardwood floor against scratches. You can also choose the finish that suits you best: semi-gloss, satin, or ultra-matte.

The less advantageous aspect of varnish is related to the fact that you have to reapply a new layer when it becomes damaged, and that this process can be relatively complex. You have to sand the surface, clean up the mess generated by the sanding, and then apply a new layer of product.



Pre-oiled hardwood floors

Even if the pre-oiled floor trend seems to have appeared recently, by doing our research, we realize that – in fact – this technique was very common in the past. Pre-oiled hardwood floors are returning to the spotlight at the same time that people are seeking to make choices more focused on environmental conservation.

On this level, one of the main advantages of this type of floor is the fact that oil – especially that derived from natural sources – is more eco-friendly than varnish, even if the new varnishes are made from less toxic products than before.

Among the other features of pre-oiled hardwood, it should be noted that this material needs to be maintained more often than varnish, but the maintenance techniques are very simple. Day to day, you should clean the surface with a broom, vacuum cleaner, or damp cloth. Eventually, if necessary, a layer of oil should be reapplied without needing to sand first.

In general, this type of flooring has a longer lifespan than varnished hardwood. It’s also very resistant to variations in temperature, as well as to the general wear and tear that we put our floors through. In addition, oil hides imperfections in the wood better, providing a more even surface.

In terms of drawbacks, there’s the fact that the oiled surface is considered duller than that of varnish. In some people’s eyes, that might be considered a disadvantage.



Choosing between the two types of hardwood floors

Varnished and pre-oiled hardwood floors each have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Those looking for a bright finish will go for varnished floors, while those who want to minimize the impact that their floor will have on the environment will instead choose pre-oiled wood. The current trend shows steady progress in the two camps, both of which seek to offer quality products to consumers.