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Discover the differences between lacquered and oiled flooring.

Written by: Yarl Christie

Published on: December 09, 2019

What is the Difference Between Lacquered and Oiled Flooring?

When you’re choosing the right flooring for your home or business, there are a lot of factors to consider. One thing which often causes confusion, is the difference between the various finishes available.

Engineered wooden flooring and solid wood floors come with a range of finish options, with two of the most common being lacquered and oiled. So, what is the difference between a lacquered and an oiled floor? Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know.

What is Lacquered Flooring?

When a floor is advertised as having a lacquered finish, it’s basically like a layer of varnish added to its surface. This not only protects the surface, but it gives it a nice shine too.

Lacquered Vs Oiled Wood Flooring - Kahrs European Naturals Siena Oak Satin Lacquer 153N38EK50KW 0

There are different types of lacquered finishes, such as matt, gloss and high gloss. Even if you opt for a matt lacquer finish, it’s still going to provide a beautiful shine.

What is Oiled Flooring?

Oiled flooring has more of a waxy finish. The manufacturer uses a hard-wax oil on the surface of the wood, again protecting its surface. This type of finish produces a more natural looking surface, and it isn’t as shiny.

You’ll also find you can invest in either UV oiled or natural oiled finishes. With UV oiled floors, they are dried using UV lights, speeding up its drying process. Consequently, you won’t need to apply another layer of oil to the floor once it’s been installed. It also protects the floor against fading over time if the floor has a UV filter. Natural oiled surfaces on the other hand, typically need to be given another coat of oil right after it’s been installed.

Oil Vs Lacquer Wood Flooring - Lusso UV Oiled European Oak Herringbone Engineered Wood Flooring 125 x 15/3mm

You can also find brushed oiled finishes. This means the surface of the floor has been brushed to reveal the harsher grains of wood underneath. This adds to the natural look of the wood, creating the most authentic finish.

Which is Waterproof?

Neither lacquered nor oiled floors are fully waterproof. However, lacquered floors do offer more water resistance than oiled varieties. That being said, you should never install a lacquered floor in a high-moisture setting such as the bathroom. Over time, water damage will occur, causing the floor to warp. If you are looking for a suitable floor for a bathroom then we suggest vinyl, LVT or SPC flooring.

Comparing Durability

There is some debate as to which type of finish is tougher. Lacquer is thought to be the toughest surface coating available, making these floors extra-durable. However, oiled finishes can also provide excellent durability.

With a lacquered floor, the coating only sits on top of the surface, whereas with an oiled coating, the oil seeps into the underlayers of the wood too. This means if it becomes scratched, the wood below will still be protected. Speaking of scratches, lacquer floors are more prone to scratching than oiled finishes.

Comparing Maintenance

In terms of maintenance, oiled floors do need slightly more intensive maintenance than lacquered ones. There’s the fact you’ll potentially need to add another layer of oil once the floor has been installed to consider. If you choose a natural oiled finish, you’ll also need to reapply the oil once a year to keep it looking its best.

Cleaning Oiled or Lacquered Wood Flooring

Lacquered floors tend to be more water resistant than oiled floors. Maintenance wise, they will need to be sanded and re-finished, but this only really needs to be done once every 5-10 years.

Room Suitability

Lacquered and oiled floors are suitable for most areas of the home, though they shouldn’t be installed in moisture prone areas. Where you can install them will also depend upon whether you have invested in an engineered or solid wood floor.

As lacquered floors are more prone to scratches, oiled floors would be better suited to high-traffic family areas.

Comparing Insulation

If you invest in an engineered wood lacquered or oiled floor, they can usually be installed with underfloor heating. However, solid wood floors cannot be installed with underfloor heating systems regardless of which type of finish they feature, as it will cause them to warp.

Lacquered & Oiled Effects & Styles

You can purchase lacquered and oiled floors in a wide range of effects and styles. These include brushed, Handscraped, parquet, and Herringbone designs. Lacquered surfaces are shinier and there are different types of lacquer that can be used. Oiled floors provide a more natural finish.

Oiled Vs Lacquered Wood Flooring - Atkinson & Kirby Marlborough PAR3008 Engineered Wood Flooring 100mm20mm

Comparison Table

Lacquered Wood Flooring Oiled Wood Flooring
Construction Engineered or solid wood Engineered or solid wood
Waterproof No No
Durability Excellent Excellent
Effects Shiny Natural
Room Suitability Kitchen, basement, conservatory, lounge, dining room, hallway, bedroom Kitchen, basement, conservatory, lounge, dining room, hallway, bedroom

Lacquered Vs Oiled Flooring Conclusion

Whether you invest in lacquered or oiled flooring, it really depends upon your visual preferences, how much maintenance you want to put in, and how much foot traffic it’s going to be exposed to. It’s important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of both types of finishes before choosing the right one for your home.

Further Browsing

You can shop online for oiled engineered wood flooring here
You can shop online for lacquered engineered wood flooring here
You can shop online for oiled solid wood flooring here
You can shop online for lacquered solid wood flooring here

About The Author

Yarl Christie

Yarl is the Managing Director of Stories Flooring. started his career in the flooring industry by becoming a floor fitter at the age of 18 (2004). Yarl finally decided to move with the times and set up an online flooring store (Flooring Yorkshire, 2018). He works closely with the business managers and resource team to source new products from wholesalers, which in turn brings down the sale price. This enables Stories Flooring to be one of the leading UK flooring retailers.