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Widespread Wooden Finishes for Furnishings & Flooring

Past their capabilities to create biodiverse ecosystems and switch greenhouse gases into clear oxygen, timber additionally present one of the vital versatile supplies on the planet- wooden. Along with being utilized by carpenters and builders for framing homes, wooden is probably mostly used for furnishings and flooring, right here within the US and world wide.

When correctly maintained, wooden lasts an extended time- generations. However a part of sustaining wooden means including a end. Utilizing a end on wooden furnishings and flooring helps modulate the humidity content material of the wooden. When wooden dries out an excessive amount of, it’s susceptible to cracking and splitting, so it’s essential to seal within the applicable moisture content material.

There are many choices for ending wooden, however in the case of furnishings and flooring, most merchandise fall into one in every of these classes: oils, varnishes, polyurethanes, lacquers, and waxes.

Oils Finishes

Oil finishes are generally used on wooden furnishings and kitchen utensils, and generally on wooden flooring. Typically talking, oil finishes are eco-friendly, food-safe, and non-toxic. They’re additionally straightforward to restore and produce a extra textured grain sample than many alternate options. They are typically thought of a extra conventional end, as oils have been used as wooden finishes for 1000’s of years.

Nonetheless, oil finishes typically don’t provide the identical degree of safety and sturdiness that you just’d discover with a lacquer or varnish. They’re not as waterproof as another finishes, and oil finishes are additionally extra prone to dents and scratches as a result of the wooden doesn’t have a thick arduous coating on prime to soak up these impacts, as a varnish or lacquer may do. Due to their poor water resistance, oil finishes are sometimes mixed with waxes so as to add a layer of safety.

Among the commonest oil finishes used on wooden furnishings and flooring are:

  • Linseed Oil
  • Tung Oil
  • Mineral Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Teak Oil
  • Danish Oil (that is really a commerce title that applies to many various kinds of finishes, normally an oil and polish mix)

Learn extra about common oil finishes for wood furniture and flooring.


Wax finishes sit on the floor of the wooden and provide gentle resistance to water and scratches. They’re additionally typically prone to warmth injury, usually within the type of rings beneath a cup of scorching espresso or tea. One other hindrence to waxes is that they may put on over time and necessitate periodically refinishing, because it merely will get rubbed off.

Though waxes aren’t usually utilized in solidarity, they’re continuously utilized in mixture with oil finishes. For instance, Tried & True sells a polymerized linseed oil and beeswax end underneath the commerce title “Unique Wooden End.” Wax finishes can go overtop some other end as an added layer of safety, however different finishes shouldn’t be utilized on prime of a wax.

Among the commonest sorts of waxes used for ending wooden furnishings and flooring embrace:

  • Carnauba Wax
  • Bee’s Wax
  • Paraffin Wax

Study extra concerning the advantages and disadvantages to using wax as a wood finish.


Though “varnish” is commonly used as a catch-all time period for wooden finishes, there’s really an accepted definition for what constitutes a varnish and what doesn’t. Varnish finishes are resin-based finishes that dry to a tough movie that coats the floor of the wooden. Varnishes are usually essentially the most sturdy kind of wooden finish- drying to a really sturdy arduous coat that’s normally proof against water and scratches. Conventional varnish dries to a transparent end, though most staining end merchandise fall into this class as nicely. Varnishes are widespread for each indoor and out of doors use, on each furnishings and flooring.

Learn extra about varnish finishes here.


Like varnishes, polyurethanes kind a tough movie that coats the floor of the wooden. That is in distinction to grease finishes, which seep into the grain and saturate the wooden. Polyurethane finishes are normally brushed onto wooden and dry to a tough plastic-like movie. These finishes are typically durable- scratch and waterproof, in addition to low upkeep. They’re very talked-about finishes for indoor wooden flooring, and so they’re additionally used usually on wooden furnishings.

Nonetheless, poly finishes usually have a yellowing impact as they age, which makes them extra suited to darker woods. You in all probability wouldn’t need to use it as a end in an out of doors surroundings, as some kind of varnish is normally the higher selection for safeguarding towards the weather.

There are a number of sorts of polyurethane, together with oil and water primarily based, and it’s value researching extra about which of those is finest fitted to any given challenge.

Study extra about using polyurethane as a wood finish.


Craftsman applying Greenguard Certified lacquer to an entertainment center
A craftsman at Copeland Furniture making use of a Greenguard Certified lacquer end to an leisure heart.

Lacquer is a contemporary wooden end that’s generally used on excessive finish furnishings, however not normally on flooring. It’s quick drying, impervious to water, and maintains its transparency because it ages. Lacquer finishes are widespread as a result of they don’t yellow with age, defend nicely towards liquids, and require little or no upkeep.

Lacquers are similar to a varnish or urethane, however are normally sprayed on quite than utilized with a brush or hand-rubbed material. Like varnish and urethanes, and in distinction to grease finishes, lacquer kinds a movie on prime of the wooden grain quite than saturating it. The use and development of lacquer finishes has made shellac largely irrelevant for the reason that mid 1900’s.

There are a number of totally different sorts of lacquer, and though all lacquer finishes share a number of the key traits talked about above, there are some key variations between them as nicely.

Learn extra about lacquer as a wood finish.

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