The next choice relates to how the floor will be treated; with oil or polyurethane. Oil is increasing in popularity because of its natural qualities and matt finish. “Polyurethane is available in matt, satin matt and gloss, but even with the matt finish, when the light hits it you still see a slight sheen,” Alan says.
The other main difference between the two finishes is that oil improves with age. “What puts a lot of people off oil is the misconception that it is high maintenance. It does require a moisturising cleaning solution to be mopped on every four to six weeks, but other than that there is no additional maintenance.”
Oil is also easier to touch up, but at the same time is easier to mark than polyurethane. “If it does get scratched or marked though, it can easily be touched up. Polyurethane doesn’t mark as easily but if it does get scratched, there are limited ways to patch it up and the only way to get rid of some scratches is to sand it back and re-coat the whole floor. Polyurethane also starts off at its best and slowly deteriorates.”
Oil, unlike polyurethane penetrates the timber so you are walking on the timber itself, while polyurethane is a coating that sits on top of the timber rather than soaking into it. “Because of this, it has a smoother feel than oil, but really, it’s up to what people prefer and how they will use it.”
For hard-use areas or situations where dogs or children are involved, Alan recommends the unfinished brushed and bevelled boards with an oil finish because it is easily repairable if it is marked or scratched. “The texture created by the brushed and bevelled look also makes it difficult to see any imperfections, and the oil finish enables easy touch ups, whereas with polyurethane, once it’s scratched you’re stuck with those marks until you’re ready to redo the entire floor.”
In wet areas, engineered timber can be, and is often being, installed in rooms such as laundries and bathrooms. “While it can be installed in these areas, it must be noted that due to the wet environment, the flooring can be prone to some movement.”
Visit Di Legno on ArchiPro here to find out more about how engineered timber works and what option is best for your next project.