Natural oil finishes for hardwood floors
For most clients looking for discount hardwood floors, their natural inclination would be to use an oil-modified polyurethane for their finish. This is done with good reason, as oil-modified polyurethanes are not only the most popular but also the most easily accessible and common type of finish. Lately, there has been a surge in popularity for natural oil finishes on the hardwood floor market, according to Hardwood Floors Magazine. Clients and contractors alike may not be that familiar with the nuances to these natural oil finishes.
Natural oil finishes generally fall into four different categories. The first is simply a natural-based oil, where the main ingredient is exactly that. Usually this means that it's derived from either sunflower, safflower, soja or tung oils. These oils all contain non-natural dryers so worrying about your wood finishes drying will not be a problem.
Another popular type of natural oil finish is hybrid oils, usually based on some kind of vegetable oil. In manufacturing, these oils are combined with an alkyd resin, which creates quicker drying and better durability on the hardwood.
Finally, there are hard wax oils and UV hard wax oils. Regular hard wax oils contain a natural vegetable-based oil that's combined with a similarly natural-based wax such as carnauba wax. Meanwhile, UV hard wax oil is a similar product but contains additives that react to UV light and cures the wood faster. UV oil is mainly used on prefinished lines.
The biggest advantage to using natural oils over polyurethanes is that while polyurethanes are designed to make the hardwood shinier and glossier, natural oil finishes penetrate deeply into the wood, instead of just coating the surface. This enhances the durable nature of wood and provides for a longer-lasting product. Additionally, these oil finishes are naturally more environmentally-friendly than polyurethanes. While polyurethanes emit a high level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), as well as a harsh chemical scent upon application, natural oils emit zero VOCs and have a considerably tamer smell.
While users of natural oils will find the need for more regular and routine maintenance, the benefits will be immediately noticeable. Recommending a natural oil finish for your clients' Wilson maple floors from Columbia will ensure that they are happy with the look and feel of their products, while their consciences are put at ease.