Back to Flooring Products
Benefits of The Oil & Hardwax-Oils
Hardwax oils are a relatively new product on the floor finishing market. Naturally, people become curious about them. Are they durable? Are they easy to maintain or repair? How good are they compared to lacquers and penetrating oils? Is there anything that makes them stand out?
We want to make one thing clear – Everyone has an opinion. Nothing is ever black or white. We can only give you ours and let you decide for yourselves what works best for you. First things first, let’s take a quick look at lacquers and penetrating oils and see what makes hardware finishes any different from the rest.
Lacquers currently are the most resilient floor finish on the market. They are also the most popular. Why? They work by forming a protective film on top of the floor. This coating is not only tough but requires little maintenance. The downsides are that the finish is relatively easy to scratch and the coating can grant the floor a bit unnatural, ‘plastic’ look.
Penetrating oils soak into the core of the wood, enhance its grain and grant the floor a warmer, more natural appearance. They are harder to scratch than lacquer and repairing them is very easy. The disadvantages are that penetrating oils tend to turn yellow with age which makes them unsuitable for some lighter floor stains. More importantly, oils can never match the level of protection provided by lacquers and require frequent maintenance.
And last, but not least, we have hard wax oils. The core philosophy behind them is to provide the best of both worlds. The product is supposed to soak into the wood like penetrating oil and form a protective finish on top just like a lacquer. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
The concept is good but the execution is lacking. If you compare the finish formed by a hard wax oil and that of a polyurethane lacquer, there is no question – the lacquer is far more durable. The hard wax film will also wear easily in high traffic areas, unlike a lacquer. Lacquers can also offer decent resistance against liquid spills where hard waxes are easily marked by them.
Still, it is not all bad, Hardwaxes share some of the advantages of oils and much like them are easy to spot repair. They are also said to provide a more natural look than lacquer but it is a matter of opinion. Naturally, oily wood species like rosewood will work pretty well with both hardware and penetrating oils. Overall, we think that hard wax is weaker than lacquer but similar or even better than a modern oil. Again, this is our personal opinion. This doesn’t mean it is necessarily true for you.
These Are What We Recommend
Hardwax oils have their place on the market. Despite their weaknesses, in general, we find that the Bona Carl's range of oils and Osmo professional hardware products are superior to the rest of their kind and we often use them in our wood floor restoration projects.
These popular Hardwax / Oil products have the following advantages:
- Penetrates deeply into the wood to enhance and maintain its beauty and elasticity;
- Extreme water-repelling properties, no water-marks;
- Will not get cracked, flaked, peel off or blister;
- Micro-porous sealing;
- Stain-resistance to wine, beer, cola, coffee, tea, fruit juices, milk and water-based solutions
- Contains no biocides or preservatives; well-suited for children (playground)
- Easy cleaning and maintenance with Osmo Colour Wash & Care or Bona Carl's Cleaner
- Easy renovation; allows quick restoration of small areas without repair-marks; single coat application is possible
- Environmentally friendly - a specially formulated blend of purified, natural oils and waxes coming from renewable resources
The waxed floor looks much different from a varnished surface. Is there any practical advantage?
- Waxed floors look nice, with more of a surface sheen than gloss.
- Waxed floors can be re-waxed multiple times
- Waxed floors can be buffed until the exact sheen level that you require has been achieved
- Waxed floors allow "patch-work", while varnished floors have to be re-sanded and re-finished entirely