Frequent Wooden Finishes for Furnishings & Flooring

Final up to date on June sixth, 2022 at 09:47 am

Past their capabilities to create biodiverse ecosystems and switch greenhouse gases into clear oxygen, bushes additionally present one of the vital versatile supplies on the planet- wooden. Along with being utilized by carpenters and builders for framing homes, wooden is probably mostly used for furnishings and flooring, right here within the US and world wide.

When correctly maintained, wooden lasts an extended time- generations. However a part of sustaining wooden means including a end. Utilizing a end on wooden furnishings and flooring helps modulate the humidity content material of the wooden. When wooden dries out an excessive amount of, it’s susceptible to cracking and splitting, so it’s essential to seal within the applicable moisture content material.

There are many choices for ending wooden, however in terms of furnishings and flooring, most merchandise fall into one among these classes: oils, varnishes, polyurethanes, lacquers, and waxes.

Oils Finishes

Oil finishes are generally used on wooden furnishings and kitchen utensils, and typically on wood flooring. Usually talking, oil finishes are eco-friendly, food-safe, and non-toxic. They’re additionally simple to restore and produce a extra textured grain sample than many options. They are usually thought-about a extra conventional end, as oils have been used as wooden finishes for 1000’s of years.

Nevertheless, oil finishes usually don’t provide the identical stage of safety and sturdiness that you simply’d discover with a lacquer or varnish. They’re not as water-proof as another finishes, and oil finishes are additionally extra vulnerable to dents and scratches as a result of the wooden doesn’t have a thick onerous coating on prime to soak up these impacts, as a varnish or lacquer would possibly do. Due to their poor water resistance, oil finishes are sometimes mixed with waxes so as to add a layer of safety.

A few of the commonest oil finishes used on wooden furnishings and flooring are:

  • Linseed Oil
  • Tung Oil
  • Mineral Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Teak Oil
  • Danish Oil (that is truly a commerce identify that applies to many several types of finishes, often an oil and polish mix)

Learn extra about widespread oil finishes for wooden furnishings and flooring.


Wax finishes sit on the floor of the wooden and provide gentle resistance to water and scratches. They’re additionally usually vulnerable to warmth injury, usually within the type of rings beneath a cup of scorching espresso or tea. One other hindrence to waxes is that they are going to put on over time and necessitate periodically refinishing, because it merely will get rubbed off.

Though waxes aren’t usually utilized in solidarity, they’re often utilized in mixture with oil finishes. For instance, Tried & True sells a polymerized linseed oil and beeswax end below the commerce identify “Unique Wooden End.” Wax finishes can go overtop every other end as an added layer of safety, however different finishes shouldn’t be utilized on prime of a wax.

A few of the commonest varieties of waxes used for ending wooden furnishings and flooring embrace:

  • Carnauba Wax
  • Bee’s Wax
  • Paraffin Wax

Be taught extra in regards to the benefits and downsides to utilizing wax as a wooden end.


Though “varnish” is usually used as a catch-all time period for wooden finishes, there may be truly an accepted definition for what constitutes a varnish and what doesn’t. Varnish finishes are resin-based finishes that dry to a tough movie that coats the floor of the wooden. Varnishes are usually probably the most sturdy sort of wooden finish- drying to a really sturdy onerous coat that’s often proof against water and scratches. Conventional varnish dries to a transparent end, though most staining end merchandise fall into this class as properly. Varnishes are widespread for each indoor and out of doors use, on each furnishings and flooring.

Learn extra about varnish finishes right here.


Like varnishes, polyurethanes kind a tough movie that coats the floor of the wooden. That is in distinction to grease finishes, which seep into the grain and saturate the wooden. Polyurethane finishes are often brushed onto wooden and dry to a tough plastic-like movie. These finishes are usually durable- scratch and water-proof, in addition to low upkeep. They’re very fashionable finishes for indoor wooden flooring, they usually’re additionally used usually on wooden furnishings.

Nevertheless, poly finishes usually have a yellowing impact as they age, which makes them extra suited to darker woods. You in all probability wouldn’t need to use it as a end in an outside surroundings, as some sort of varnish is often the higher selection for safeguarding in opposition to the weather.

There are a number of varieties of polyurethane, together with oil and water primarily based, and it’s price researching extra about which of those is greatest fitted to any given undertaking.

Be taught extra about utilizing polyurethane as a wooden end.


Craftsman applying Greenguard Certified lacquer to an entertainment center
A craftsman at Copeland Furnishings making use of a Greenguard Licensed lacquer end to an leisure heart.

Lacquer is a contemporary wooden end that’s generally used on excessive finish furnishings, however not often on flooring. It’s quick drying, impervious to water, and maintains its transparency because it ages. Lacquer finishes are widespread as a result of they don’t yellow with age, shield properly in opposition to liquids, and require little or no upkeep.

Lacquers are similar to a varnish or urethane, however are often sprayed on quite than utilized with a brush or hand-rubbed material. Like varnish and urethanes, and in distinction to grease finishes, lacquer types a movie on prime of the wooden grain quite than saturating it. The use and development of lacquer finishes has made shellac largely irrelevant for the reason that mid 1900’s.

There are a number of completely different varieties of lacquer, and though all lacquer finishes share a few of the key traits talked about above, there are some key variations between them as properly.

Learn extra about lacquer as a wooden end.

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