Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It?
There is a lot of contradictory information out there regarding oiled floors and the use of floor oils and hardwax oils. While some people cannot recommend it enough, others literally hate it. So if you are planning to buy a new oiled floor or maybe you are considering restoring and sealing your old wooden floor with some kind of floor oil, should you do it?
Floor oil is a naturally manufactured floor and wood surface sealer. Most floor oils or hardwax floor oils are manufactured from a blend of organic oils mixed up with some kind of hardener and enhancer to make it more durable and to help it dry faster. A few years back most floor oils were clear, but over the past few years a full industry has developed around this particular product and nowadays you can buy any color floor oil you can imagine. Some floor oil can take 12 hours to dry while other types of floor oils can take up to 24 hours to dry. This is a negative point for the floor oil industry, because most people do not have 48 hours to wait for the sealer to fully dry. Assuming that the floor will be sealed with 2 coats of floor oil.
A floor oil will penetrate the floor fully and will seal the wood surface. Most quality floor oils are matt looking with very low sheen levels. The idea of a floor oil is to maintain the natural look of the wood without glazing. A floor oil allows the wood to ventilate and prevents the wood from staining from day to day traffic, spills & other types of liquids. You do not need to be a flooring contractor to be able to apply a floor oil but a bit of common sense is required. Most floor oils will require at least 12-24 hours drying time per coat and has to be sealed with at least 2 coats. A great advantage of the floor oil is that it can be refreshed locally, in particular areas without having to do the whole floor. If your living room or your hall gets traffic damage faster than the rest of the house, you can recoat that particular area with another coat of oil. If done regularly and if done right, in principle you should have beautiful floors for up to 10 years. But this is where the issue with oiled floors starts. The misunderstanding of the “maintenance” routine and the poor quality oiled floor cleaners.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? Floor Oil V Hardwax Oil
Most people are not aware of the difference between hard wax oils and floor oils. When you walk into a flooring shop or if you visit a website that sells wood care products, you are presented with a wide range of products that are all amazing. But very few shop assistants can tell you why you should buy hardwax oil instead of floor oil or the other way around.
Floor Oil maintains the natural appearance of the wood “without glazing the wood”. The floor oil soaks into the wood without creating that varnish like protective coat. So if you are looking for a heavy duty sealer that maintains your floor as new, go for a floor oil.
Hardwax Oil provides the classic advantages of the floor oil but it can look like lacquer. It creates a slight glazing over the top of the floor. While some people love it, others hate it. If it looks like a lacquer and behaves like a lacquer why not use a lacquer instead? Well, hardwax oils are creating less fumes and are less polluting than the old solvent based floor lacquers. But the new water based floor lacquers are way superior in look and durability than the hardwax oils.
There you are. This is the difference between the floor oil and hardwax oil. Both need regular refreshing and both types of floor oils are cleaned and maintained similarly. The durability of each product is pretty similar as well.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | Maintenance
Unlike the varnish, the floor oil requires a bit more care, better cleaning products and better cleaning tools. All oiled floors, regardless of brand, color & traffic, will HAVE to be refreshed at least once per year. The oil is likely to evaporate and wear off over time. By refreshing it, you will restore the protection and you will prevent water damage to the floor. Also, using oiled floor cleaners (Carver, Bona or Tover) is essential. The oil can be washed away with heavy duty alkaline floor cleaners or strong degreasers. If you are doing all of the above, then you should not have any issues with your oiled floors for many years. But most people ignore the maintenance & the regular refreshing and then they end up with tired, patchy and old looking oiled floors.
The floor owner is not aware what type of sealant is on the floor. When you buy a 10k car, you are likely to do your homework and find out if the car is diesel, petrol or electric. You are also likely to keep an eye on the servicing dates to make sure that the car runs smoothly. But most people don’t seem to care about spending 10k on a premium quality oiled floor and then not spending another 100 or 200 euros to buy proper cleaning products and refreshers. So the first mistake is the worst one. By not knowing what type of floor you own, you cannot know what cleaning products to buy to properly maintain it.
Ignoring the maintenance or refreshing. You bought a natural floor sealer without a lot of chemicals. So your floor oil is manufactured from a blend of natural oils (usually olive oil). Those oils will be affected by the heat, cold, chemicals, and humidity. Over a 12 months period, the floor is likely to lose some of its sealer. All you need to do is just top up the floor oil once in a while. Recoat the floor before going to bed in the evening and by the time you wake up, the floor is dry and ready for use. It really is that simple. But some people just don’t do it and then the floor loses its protection and water marks appear all over the floor. When the black dots are clearly visible, it is already too late. The water has damaged the wood and the stains cannot be removed without having to sand the floor.
Cheap cleaning products. Washing a beautiful oiled floor with a strong cleaning product is like washing your fancy car with bleach. Yes, it will clean it nicely but it will wash away the paint as well. Use proper oiled floor cleaners from well established brands. A quick wash with Carver Deterol, Tover Deteroil or Bona Oiled Floor Cleaner and your floor looks like new again. Have a second flat mopping system just for the oiled floor. It is not good to use the same mop head for kitchen floors and then oiled floors. The grease and the food residue from the floor will just be moved around the house. Use a flat mopping system when possible to avoid over soaking the floor.
Scrubbing. Never take a green catering scourer or any type of scourer to scrub the stains on the oil floor. By doing so, you will remove the natural patina and the floor will be left patchy. Any visible stains can be treated with a proper oiled floor cleaner and a flat mopping head. You can buy a flat mopping head with a built-in scrubber to lightly scrub the whole floor, not just a particular spot.
Not having protective covers on the furniture and chair legs. Friction marks caused by the furniture legs can be lethal for oiled floors and generally all types of wooden floors sealed with all kinds of sealer. A deep scratch on the top of the floor will change the look of your floor for good. So to make sure that it does not happen to your own floor, cover all the furniture & chair legs with protective covers. A set of about 25 covers cost below 10 euro but it could save you thousands of euros.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | So, Should You Get An Oiled Floor?
The question is not if an oiled floor is or is not suitable for residential and commercial traffic. The question is if you are the most suitable person to own an oiled floor. Before being brought to the market, any oiled floor has to comply with a number of resistance tests and it has to be suitable for all kinds of use. So the floors are capable of taking all that traffic, but to be able to do so for very long periods of time, the owner of the floor has to be prepared to put up the work required.
Yes – If you are the type of person that loves to clean and loves to learn about new and innovative cleaning products. If you are the type of person that gets involved and pays attention to details. If you have the finances in place to buy the best cleaning products. If you are likely to respect the refreshing recommendations and maintenance.
No – If you just think that all floors are the same and it is there to do a job. If your finances are tight and you are unlikely to ever buy proper oil floor cleaners and maintainers. If you are looking for a tough carefree floor.
Millions of people all over the planet have had oiled floors for years and the floors are still in amazing condition. An oiled floor is definitely more delicate than a varnished one but the way it looks and the way it allows the wood to ventilate naturally makes it worth it every penny.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | Refreshing
Refreshing an oiled floor is not rocket science. Basically all you need to do is to top up the oil on your floor. As the oil protection wears off, you add some more. That’s it. You do not need to do it all at once and you do not need expensive tools to be able to do it on your own. Of course, if the finances are in place, you can easily hire a local floor cleaning company to do it for you. But it can be done by anyone with a bit of common sense.
- Remove all the furniture from the area
- Clean the floor with a heavy duty oiled floor cleaner
- Allow about 1 hour to dry and ventilate
- Apply one thin coat of maintenance oil
- Do not walk on the floor for 3-5 hours
- Put the furniture back and the job is completed
You do not need to soak the floor with refreshing oil. A thin coat of oil over the pre-existing finish will do the job. The new oil will penetrate the top of your floor and it will bond with the old oil. You can also refresh on spots and particular areas. The most important thing is to do it regularly and not to wait until the floor shows water marks.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | Hiring A Contractor
All maintenance oils are very easy to use and there is no need to use heavy duty floor cleaning equipment & buffers to be able to use it. Of course, a refreshed oiled floor will look a bit better and the maintenance oil will cover a bit more if a low speed floor buffer is used, but most people do not own a buffer. The information listed above is only relevant if the floor is treated regularly and the floor is in great shape. But if the floor was neglected for years, it is badly stained, patchy, scratched & dull, a specialist touch is required. A floor cleaning & restoration company would use a blend of products to remove badly impregnated dirt and residue. Special fans and air blowers will be used to dry the floor faster and more coats of refresher will be applied in a shorter period of time. So if you are assessing your floor and it does not look great, maybe you should consider using the services of a professional floor restoration company. Bear in mind that some wooden floors cannot be refreshed any longer. If the floor has too many watermarks and if the wood is too scratched to make any sense to refresh it, then the floor has to be sanded and then re-oiled. All the imperfections will be removed with heavy duty floor sanding machines and a new coat of oil will be applied. Some wooden floors can be sanded a number of times while some floors can only be sanded once. Hardwood floors can be restored many times over but the semi solid wooden floors or the engineered wooden floors have a limited number of sanding due to its limited thickness.
A floor refinishing contractor will charge per square meter. The final price will depend on condition, size, furniture, access & job complexity. Always ask for a free no obligation estimate.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | What Maintenance Oil Is The Best?
There are a number of brands out there. While some are very expensive, some are more affordable and really good quality. While most manufacturers of hardwax oils and floor oils are recommending their own brand, that is not essential. You can use a maintenance oil from Carver to refresh a floor oil from Bona or Tover. It will work 100%.
Carver Carsol Maintenance Oil – We can highly recommend this maintenance oil as one of the best ever. The product is manufactured in Italy and it is highly appreciated all over the world. It is very affordable, it is thick, it penetrates fast, it dries quickly and it is very easy to apply. Carver Carsol Maintenance Oil is compatible with all types of oiled and waxed floors.
Tover Rinovoil Maintenance Oil – Another professional quality Italian maintenance oil. The product is very affordable and amazingly easy to use. The new Tover Rinovoil Maintenance Oil is available in clear and white finish. It is sold in 1 L bottles and it covers around 30 to 50 sq meters per L.
Bona Hard Wax Refresher – This premium maintenance oil is a bit more expensive than the others and it is a bit more complicated to apply. But when done right, it looks outstanding. The new Bona Hard Wax Refresher is highly appreciated by the professional floor polishing industry. It covers a large area and it provides superior protection.
All these maintenance oils are doing pretty much the same job but in a different way. For the first two products, Carver Carsol Maintenance Oil & Tover Rinovoil Maintenance Oil you do not need a floor buffer. But to apply the new formula Bona Hard Wax Refresher right, the product has to be buffed in. After the oil has penetrated the wood, it might not look 100% even. A quick buff with a white pad or some kind of oiling pad will level up all imperfections and it will help the refresher to dry faster.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | How To Clean Oiled Floors
This is the tricky one for most people and where the trouble starts for most oiled floor owners. After buying a new home from a builder or an estate agent, you just want to enjoy it. But within a few months, you will notice that your beautiful wooden floor looks patchy, dull and tired. How is that possible? After all, you have paid alot of money for thehouse and you were told that only the best finishes were used.
No one told you that your wooden floors were sealed with floor oil. No one told you how to maintain it, how to refresh it and how to restore it. If your wooden floor has not yet reached the point of no return, follow these instructions:
- Buy a professional oiled floor cleaner and maintainer. You can buy a ready to use formula like the amazing Bona Oiled Floor Cleaner Spray or you can buy a concentrated formula like Carver Deterol, Tover Deteroil, Bona Soap or Bona Cleaner. You can also use a flat mopping system from Bona. The amazing Bona Oiled Floor Spray Mop is the world’s No 1 spray mop for oiled floors for a number of good reasons.
- If you have decided to go for a ready to use oiled floor cleaner, all you have to do is to spray the whole floor with it, allow a few seconds of contact, then lightly scrub the floor with a flat mopping system. Move up and down with the fiber of the wood. Do it once per day. If you have decided to go for a concentrated oiled floor cleaner, then prepare a bucket with warm water, dilute the product (usually 1-2 caps of product per 10 L of water), soak your mop head in it, wring the mop head until it feels wet but it is not dripping water, and wash your floor going along with the fiber of the wood. As the mop head dries, wet it again. Do it every day.
- Buy a quality refresher and refresh your oiled floors once or twice per year.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | Spot Cleaning
A major mistake that most oiled floor owners make is to scrub the floor when it gets dirty. Unlike the varnish, the floor oil is a bit more sensitive. Even if your floor is brand new, it does not mean that your floor was manufactured and oiled exactly that week. In most cases, a floor spends a good few years in storage, then months and months being delivered from the other side of the world to you and so on. Your newly installed floor could be 5 years old. In this time, the oil has changed, it has dried a bit, and it has achieved a unique look. When you take a catering scourer or even worse, a stainless steel scourer, and start scrubbing the floor, you will remove that unique patina in spots.These spots will dry up brighter than the floor itself and there you are, the floor is damaged for good. Re-oiling it might make it a bit better but it will never be the same as it was when new.
A spill happens. Act fast. Take a kitchen towel, put it over the spill and try to extract as much liquid as you can. Then wash the floor a number of times with your oiled floor cleaner and a flat mop. Move up and down the fiber of the wood wood until the spill is less and less visible. Do not wait hours until you take action. In theory a sealed and fully refreshed oiled floor should not be bothered by a bit of red wine or some coffee, but why take a chance? The longer you wait to remove the stain, the deeper the liquid will penetrate the floor.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | New Oiled Floor Refreshing
As we mentioned above, your newly installed oiled floor is only new to you. That particular floor could be years old. So being so old and dry, it is in serious need of refreshing. Any decent flooring contractor should know to advise the customer about refreshing the floor before using it, but some contractors are not aware themselves or the job is subcontracted by so many contractors that no one even knows what sealer is on the floor.
But for your own peace of mind, refresh your oiled floor. Assume that your floor was sealed years ago and the sealer does not provide full protection. Before starting to use the floor, deep clean the floor with your professional oiled floor cleaner and then apply one thin coat of refresher. This step could be the difference between having beautiful wooden floors for years or having dull and tired wooden floors within a few weeks. Do not just assume that someone else has done it, do it yourself again. 1 L of Carver Carsol Maintenance Oil costs below 40 euros and it will cover up to 50 sq meters of floor.
Floor Oiling | Is It Worth It? | Oiled Floors In The Kitchen
While an oiled floor or even a varnished wooden floor looks natural, elegant and it creates a special coziness, we believe that those floors should not be fitted around the kitchen area or in utility rooms. 99% of the complaints regarding oiled floors are coming from people that cannot keep their wooden floor stain free in the kitchen area. How can you maintain a wooden floor stain free in an area with super high traffic, food spills, oil splashes from the cooker and water splashes from the sink? It is nearly impossible. So if you are the one re-designing the kitchen area but you love the feeling of wooden floors, we recommend that you tile or install a plastic floor around the cooker and sink area and install wooden floors in the living room and half the kitchen area where there is no cooking involved. Otherwise you will end up with dull and tired wooden floors pretty fast. Also, remember to install protectors on your chairs, sofas and whatever other types of furniture you are likely to move around the floor.
Our company sells a wide range of hardwax oils, floor oils, wood stains, varnishes, gap fillers, etc. We also own another company that fully restores all types of wooden floors. So we know wood floors. We provide free no obligation advice to thousands of residential and commercial floor owners. Our review regarding oiled floor is non biased and we do not advise against it or for it. It is entirely up to the owner of the property if they will follow our recommendations. We do not say that oiled floors are not good, quite the contrary. But not for everyone. The products recommended above as maintainers and refreshers are some of the best we have used and some of the most highly rated by our customers. There are other brands of maintenance oils and oiled floor cleaners probably as good as Carver, Tover & Bona, but we have never used it so we can’t have an opinion on it. The products recommended by us are market leaders but they have to be used right, with the recommended dilution rate and part of your routine maintenance.