Oil vs Lacquer: What are the differences? Which is better?

Lacquer is a bit like a modern-day varnish, it sits on the top of the wood and doesn’t sink in as oil does. The protection offered by lacquered wood finish is arguably the toughest of all and it really intended for areas where you expect high to heavy footfall. That said because lacquer sits on top of the wood, when it is worn away with wear and tear, the bare wood is left exposed and susceptible to damage. Although, one of the best things about lacquer finished wood flooring is that spills if wiped up reasonably quickly, won’t seep into the body of your floor. The main downside when you choose a lacquer is that it can scuff and scratch more easily than an oiled finish, so it’s doubly important to invest in really great doormats and sweep or vacuum regularly. Refinishing should be done every 7-10 years.

Oil is the modern day equivalent to the old-fashioned wax option, providing both surface protection as well as deep penetrating protection. Although oiled wood floors may require slightly more maintenance on an ongoing basis when compared to lacquered wood floors, it tends to need fewer major interventions because the protection goes deeper than just the surface. Unlike the lacquered finish, when the top layer of oil finish gets worn away, there is still a level of protection underneath. Of course, if you protect it with good doormats, and sweep or vacuum it regularly and give it a light mopping, it’ll stand the test of time nicely. *Reconditioning should be done every 6-8 months depending on traffic.

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