What are the pros and cons of an "oil" finish?

Old 03-12-08, 10:45 AM
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What are the pros and cons of an "oil" finish?

Before I give the go-ahead to the installer to use an "oil" finish on an engineered floor, I'd be interested to hear the pros and cons of going this route. I realize oil is a more lengthy process and has odor issues, but I believe those will be tolerable. Thanks.
Old 03-18-08, 05:59 PM
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What type of oil finish? Just oil? Oil and wax?

If I had my druthers, I'd certainly go with oil finish. For instance, Waterlox tung oil finish penetrates the wood where it forms a bond. The wood has a natural look, rather than the plastic look of the poly finishes that scratch. If poly gets scratched, spot repairs are noticeable. The whole floor has to be repaired. Not with the tung oil finish. Simply touch up. You will never have to sand and refinish as with poly. And, it can be waxed. The problem with wax finish is that water makes white spots, so when you stomp indoors with snowy boots there can be a problem. But, wax and steel wool buffs out the spots.

There are many posts where posters complain that their floor finish is not glossy enough. Glossy sheen tends to show scratches and imperfections more. The matte or satin sheen tends to show fewer scratches. Waterlox has different sheen choices.

The Waterlox is an oil/varnish blend that makes it water resistant and better than a plain oil finish. Critics complain that the oil/varnish blends are more difficult and expensive to apply (Actually, they are self-leveling and have a longer working time.) Scratches show, but touch up is easy. But, if waxed, ability to touch up is lost. They claim it takes 5-6 coats of oil/varnish with a 2 week cure time for each coat before steel wooling and recoating. They claim a recoat every 2-4 years or so is required. And, fumes are toxic. (woodfloordoctor.com)

Every floor finish has its pros and cons. Tung oil vs. poly? Tung oil can be repaired. Poly can not without a complete refinishing. You can try the tung oil first. You can always coat with oil-based poly after fully cured. (Do not wax if planning on using poly as it will not adhere.) Oil will have to be cured for several months before applying poly.

Go to http://www.waterlox.com/desktopmodul...aspx?TabID=424 to see products and read details and specs. You did not state what product your floor finisher would be using, but perhaps this info will be helpful.

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