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The Pros and Cons of Oiled vs. Lacquered Wood Floors

The Pros and Cons of Oiled vs. Lacquered Wood Floors

As a wood floor contractor, you play a crucial role in guiding your clients to make the best decisions for their wood flooring needs. Two popular choices for wood floors are oiled and lacquered finishes, each with its unique set of advantages and disadvantages. This blog will provide you with the pros and cons of oiled vs lacquered wood floors, a straightforward and engaging comparison to equip you with the necessary information to assist your clients effectively.


The Pros and Cons of Oiled Wood Floors:

The Pros:

  1. Natural Beauty:

Oiled wood floors bring out the inherent beauty of the wood, showcasing its natural grains and patterns. The oil seeps into the wood, highlighting its warm and authentic appearance, making it an excellent choice for clients who appreciate a rustic and timeless ambience.

  1. Ease of Repair:

One significant advantage of oiled wood floors is their ease of repair. You can often resolve minor scratches and imperfections by applying additional oil to the affected areas, blending them seamlessly with the rest of the floor. This aspect appeals to clients seeking a hassle-free solution to maintain their floors' appearance.

  1. Environmentally Friendly:

Many wood oils available today are eco-friendly and non-toxic, appealing to environmentally conscious clients. These oils allow the wood to breathe, creating a healthier indoor environment.

  1. Matte Finish:

Oiled wood floors offer a natural, matte finish that adds to the floor's charm. The lack of a glossy appearance gives any space a comfortable and inviting feel.

  1. Customizable Colours:

Oiled wood floors provide an opportunity for clients to customize the colour of their floors. They can choose from various oils, some of which can deepen the wood's natural hue, while others may create a lighter or more aged look.

  1. Rich Patina Over Time:

Oiled wood floors develop a rich patina as they age, enhancing their character and unique appeal. This ageing process adds depth and personality to the floor, giving it a distinct charm.


The Cons:

  1. Regular Maintenance:

It's essential to inform your clients that oiled wood floors require more frequent maintenance compared to lacquered ones. To keep the floor looking its best, they need to invest time and effort in reapplying oil periodically. Clients who are willing to commit to this maintenance routine will appreciate the beauty of oiled wood floors.

  1. Susceptibility to Stains:

Oiled floors are more susceptible to stains since they lack the protective layer of lacquer. Clients with young children or pets may need to be extra cautious or consider other options if they expect heavy foot traffic or potential spills.

  1. Drying Time:

After applying oil, the floor needs adequate drying time before you can use it. Clients should be aware of this drying period, which may inconvenience them.
  1. Initial Colour Change:

When applying oil to wood floors, there might be a slight initial colour change, which could be different from the client's expectations. It's essential to clarify that the colour will evolve over time as the oil cures and the wood develops its patina.

  1. Limited Moisture Resistance:

Oiled wood floors offer some moisture resistance but are still more vulnerable to water damage than lacquered floors. Clients should be cautious not to allow standing water on the floor and should promptly clean up spills.

  1. Reapplication Frequency:

The frequency of oil reapplication will depend on things like foot traffic, exposure to sunlight, and the type of oil used. Clients need to be aware of the reapplication schedule to maintain the floor's appearance effectively.



The Pros and Cons of Lacquered Wood Floors:

 The Pros:

  1. Durable Protection:

Lacquered wood floors offer an exceptionally durable protective layer that shields the wood from scratches, spills, stains, and general wear and tear. The tough lacquer coating acts as a barrier, making them highly suitable for areas with heavy foot traffic, such as hallways, kitchens, and living rooms. Clients can rest assured that their floors will maintain their appearance for years to come.

  1. Low Maintenance:

One of the biggest advantages of lacquered wood floors is their low maintenance requirements. Unlike oiled floors that necessitate periodic reapplication, lacquered floors typically only need regular sweeping and occasional mopping to keep them clean and looking their best. This low-maintenance aspect makes lacquered wood floors an attractive option for clients with busy lifestyles or those who prefer fuss-free floor care.

  1. Versatile Finishes:

Lacquered wood floors offer a wide range of finish options, including gloss, semi-gloss, and satin. Clients can choose the level of sheen that best complements their interior design and personal preferences. From a sleek and contemporary high-gloss finish to a more subtle satin sheen, the versatility of lacquered floors allows clients to create the desired ambience in their spaces.

  1. Enhanced Colour and Depth:

The glossy finish of lacquered wood floors enhances the colour and depth of the wood, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room. This depth amplification can make the space feel more inviting and spacious, making lacquered floors an excellent choice for both small and large areas.

  1. Easy to Clean:

Lacquered wood floors are exceptionally easy to clean, thanks to the smooth, non-porous surface of the lacquer. You can effortlessly wipe spills and stains away, reducing the risk of permanent damage to the wood. This aspect is particularly advantageous for clients with children or pets, as well as commercial spaces where quick and efficient cleaning is essential.

  1. Quick Drying and Curing:

Lacquered floors generally have quicker drying and curing times compared to oiled floors. This means clients can use their newly installed floors sooner, reducing inconvenience and downtime during installation.

  1. Resistance to Moisture:

The lacquer coating provides a degree of moisture resistance to the wood, making lacquered floors more suitable for humid environments or spaces prone to occasional spills. However, it's essential to advise clients not to let standing water remain on the floor for extended periods to prevent any potential damage.


The Cons:

  1. Susceptible to Scratches:

Despite offering a protective layer, lacquered wood floors are not entirely scratch proof. Heavy furniture, pet claws, or abrasive materials can still cause scratches on the surface, which may be more visible due to the glossy finish.

  1. Difficult to Repair:

Unlike oiled wood floors that you can easily repair by applying additional oil, fixing scratches or damages on lacquered floors can be more challenging. Repairing the finish often requires professional assistance, which may be an inconvenience for some clients.

  1. Vulnerable to UV Damage:

The glossy finish of lacquered wood floors can make them vulnerable to UV damage over time. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can lead to fading or discolouration of the wood, especially in areas near windows or under direct sunlight.

  1. Potential Yellowing:

Some lacquers may have the tendency to yellow over time, particularly in areas with minimal natural light. This yellowing effect can alter the wood's original appearance and may not be reversible.

  1. Lack of Natural Feel:

Unlike oiled wood floors that bring out the natural texture of the wood, lacquered floors can feel smoother and less authentic due to the protective layer. This aspect might not appeal to clients seeking a more rustic or organic aesthetic.

  1. Recoating Challenges:

When it comes to refinishing or recoating lacquered floors, there are certain challenges. Unlike oiled floors that can be re-oiled, recoating lacquered floors may involve more intensive processes, such as sanding and reapplication of the lacquer, which could be costlier and more time-consuming.



As a wood floor contractor, you must present your clients with all the relevant information, empowering them to make informed decisions. Oiled wood floors offer a unique and authentic charm with easy repair options but require regular maintenance and are more susceptible to stains. On the other hand, lacquered wood floors provide durability, low maintenance, and faster drying times, making them ideal for high-traffic areas.

Choosing between oiled and lacquered wood floors will ultimately depend on your client's preferences, lifestyle, and willingness to commit to maintenance routines. By presenting this comparison in simple terms, you can guide your clients towards the best flooring option that aligns with their needs and vision for their spaces.

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