Varnish or oil? Coloured or clear? Or perhaps a brushed surface with delicate streaks of coloured stain? It is not at all easy to decide about the floor finish. It is good to know what to take into consideration and what are the characteristics of the most popular and most interesting kinds of finish.
ASPECT I: VARNISH
Wooden floors refined with varnish of different gloss levels (matt or semi-matt) continue to enjoy the greatest popularity. However, we must bear in mind that the term ‘varnish’ may denote substances of various characteristics and properties.
ECO or not?
While choosing a varnished floor, check if it is covered with an ecological varnish based on acrylic resin, or with a traditional solvent-borne one. The chosen kind of varnish determines a mechanism of surface coating hardening. In the first case it is hardened by exposure to UV radiation. The process is both very fast and safe. After the hardening process has been completed, the user is presented with ready-to-install floor boards which do not emit any organic solvents, and which are totally hypoallergenic. That is the kind of floors that Baltic Wood offers.
In the case of traditional solvent-borne varnishes, which are also available on the market, and which are used for manual varnishing of raw wood, the process of surface coating hardening consists in vaporizing the solvent from the previously applied varnish layer. The process usually lasts a few days, during which the room is not fit for use, and an extra inconvenience is the unpleasant, acrid smell which fills the room and poses a danger to health. Even after the characteristic smell has disappeared, the harmful organic substances still and for a long time affect the persons in the room.
Those who are seeking unusual solutions should focus their attention on floors additionally covered with stain. Wood is refined with this coloured preservative in the process of surface finishing, and then – with the aid of special brushes – the stain is evenly spread around the surface of the wood, thus impregnating it. The further technological process is identical with the varnishing process. Applying subsequent coats of varnish protects the wood surface against colour fading, which happens due to wear and tear. A selection of stains is impressive – from cream, through grey, cinnamon, chocolate brown, to dark graphite.
Power of durability
One of the most frequently named advantages of varnish is its durability. For those who are particularly demanding, Baltic Wood has prepared a floor refinement with a varnish of higher abrasion resistance. This is attested by the result of 7800 revolutions obtained in the Taber test, which testifies to the 2.5 times higher resistance of the varnish coat. In addition, a special Baltic Wood varnish has two times higher resistance to liquid absorption and staining. A floor with such a finish will perform well in interiors with really high traffic.
ASPECT II: OIL
Apart from floors finished with varnish, the ones finished with oil are also popular. However, hardly anyone knows that this generic name may mean a blend of linseed oil, sunflower oil, thistle oil, soybean oil with an admixture of waxes of various plants (e.g. Carnauba, Candelilla).
This method of surface refining, known for many centuries, has a whole range of advantages. Oiled floors are frienfly, easy to keep clean and maintain in good condition. The agent penetrates deep into the wood, impregnating and preserving it. Importantly, any scratches or chips even in a large element can be fixed single-handedly by sandpapering the damaged area and covering it with a new coat of oil.
An oil-based refinement is also friendly to allergy sufferers. Thanks to it the surface is antistatic, and does not absorb dust. Also, it is less slippery and warm to the touch. Oil-covered floors are capable of free “breathing” – the wood easily evaporates an excess of moisture.
In harmony with nature
It is noteworthy that the market also offers wooden floors covered with ecological, natural oil. If a Baltic Wood floor is finished with ECO oil, it is hardened in the process of oxidation, and not UV radiation exposure. Because of the traditional way in which the oil dries up, the process is time-consuming. The floor is dry after 12 hours, but it becomes completely hardened only after 2 weeks.
Colour is important
Bear in mind that the oil we use for refining the surface of the wooden floor, does not necessarily have to be clear. Apart from the clear agent that enhances the natural colour of wood, the producers also offer coloured oils of such hues as white, grey, porcelain and antique. The latter is particularly presentable on the floors in the 1-strip board pattern, lending the wood a rustic character with intense brown colour as well as enhancing the grain structure and pattern.
ASPECT III: BRUSHED
Enthusiasts of innovative solutions might want to direct their attention to the wooden floors whose surfaces have been subjected to the brushing process, whereby the top layer of the wood is brushed and the softest parts of the annual growth rings are removed. Thus, the natural structure of the wood comes to be emphasized. Not only is it more visible, but it is also clearly perceptible to the touch.
In addtion, any scratches are less visible on such floors, and their surfaces are non-slippery. Thanks to the brushing process the floor becomes more durable and more resistant to damage. Furthermore, since the surface is not perfectly smooth, it takes on a characteristic and original look. The market also offers brushed floors finished with coloured stains, which cover the whole surface, or mark it only with decorative streaks. These extraordinary highlights on floors in the full-plank pattern lend the room a sophisticated character
ASPECT IV: DISTRESSED
Manually distressed oak floors are a solution for those who place a high value on originality. Timeless Collection from Baltic Wood is a proposal that caters to this need. It comprises 10 oak floors whose artisitically distressed surfaces are made by human hand. Thus, each board constitutes an individual story of memories and emotions.
Meticulous work of the human hand delights with elaborate effects, inter alia, the planing and brushing, characteristic notches, the “woodworm” effect and the fine, 4-sided and handcrafted bevel. It is also enchanting for its rustic selection and fashionable colour scheme. The hues of the available ECO oils range from slightly white, amber, to mystical and nearly black.