Solid and engineered wood flooring- finishes explained

Solid and engineered wood flooring- finishes explained

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to finishes on wooden flooring: brushed, oiled, unfinished, lacquered… but what exactly are the differences between them and how do you decide which is best for you? We’ve whittled them together, so you’ve got all the information in front of you…


This effect is created by wire being used to pull out the softer spring wood exposing the harder wood. This in turn creates a beautiful, textured surface, which is advantageous as it can disguise scratches. It also adds to the authentic appeal of the floor, great if you’re looking for that rustic look, something growing ever more popular. It is also strategic if you want a more naturalistic authentic surface, as opposed to something too glossy. It can be applied to lacquered and an oiled finish, and is an option on both solid and engineered wood products.


An oiled finish provides your wooden floor with surface protection as well as a defence against anything that might penetrate it beyond the surface. It keeps the wood’s glorious natural premise without it being completely exposed. Generally speaking, it’ll give you a smooth matt finish.

Although it requires a little more cleaning and upkeep than other choices of finishes; because of the penetrating protection, it’ll provide you with a longer lasting flooring with more resistance to stains and scratches.

Lacquered/ High Gloss and Chalk

This is similar to a modern varnish, which sits on top of the wood as opposed to oil which seeps past the surface. This finish is perfect if you’re wanting a clean cut, smooth aspect to your flooring. For this reason, it’s ideal in heavy footfall rooms where you’re desiring that grand, glossy look.

The varnish makes lacquered somewhat water resistant, however we wouldn’t recommend allowing large abundances of water coming into contact with it.

If you are wanting to go one step further and dazzle your guests with a floor which gleams in the light, then you may also want to consider a High Gloss finish.  Not only does it provide a stunning polished look, but also has an added layer of protection as a result.

The disadvantage of lacquered flooring is that it is more likely to show scratches than its competition. Because of this, it may need sanding down and refinishing more often than other finishes.

It is also possible to get matt lacquered finish, however it is worth being aware that there will still be a slight shine, so if you’re wanting something with no gloss, then look at products with an oiled finish instead.

Hand Scraped

If you’re after a flooring with an added bit of character and rustic appeal, then hand scraped is perfect. The planks are made no differently, however the surface has been scraped by hand before a lacquered or oil finish is applied. This means that no two planks are the same, creating an interesting variation of pattern as well as giving it a rustic charm. It comes in difference widths, lengths, thicknesses, type of wood and colour, meaning you can select what exactly it is you’re after.


This one speaks for itself, it is simply the raw exposed wood. This is not something that you’d lay down as it is, as raw wood will stain and wear away a lot quicker than one with a finished applied. People often opt for this flooring if they are wanting to apply the finish themselves.

Invisible Oiled

A relatively new concept in the flooring world, this is ideal if you’re wanting all the protection of an oiled finish but without compromising that authentic rustic look. Behind the scenes the oil is working its magic, penetrating the wood and protecting your flooring from the wear and tear of everyday life.

It’s always a good feeling when you have your heart set on a particular finish, however understanding the story behind it will help protect your flooring so you can enjoy it for years to come, worry free.


This is where the wood has been purposely aged in order to achieve a worn appearance. An interesting process, imperfections are added to the surface to increase charisma and character. This look is very popular in rustic homes, as its honest, realistic appeal charms any rustic interior perfectly.


If you’re looking for a fresh, clean airy look to your wooden flooring then this finish is ideal. Adding a whitewashed coat, consisting of a mix of white paint and water will create a shabby chic interior. Or even if you’re ready for a change in colour scheme or want to mix things up a bit.


This is where oak flooring has been treated to alter its colour, usually making it darker. However, the top layer can become slightly pale or faded as a result of this process, increasing the rustic appeal. It involves putting the oak in an environment which ammonia is introduced into the atmosphere, this in turn changes the colour.

This is great if you’re looking for more traditional décor or even striving for that industrial appearance, something very on trend this year!


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