For a long time, penetrating oils were the most popular finish for hardwood floors. Recently, polyurethane has completely overtaken penetrating oil as the preferred hardwood finish. However, penetrating oil is making something of a comeback. There are several reasons for this. 

The Fundamental Difference

There is a fundamental difference between oil and polyurethane. Polyurethane consists of solids dissolved in a liquid. The polyurethane is applied to the floor, where it dries and hardens, forming a solid layer of the wood. In a floor finished this way, you’re not actually walking on the wood itself. You’re walking on the layer of polyurethane. A penetrating oil will seep into the pores of the wood. Some newer oils even have hardening agents, so the oil finish can be as hard as a polyurethane while still allowing you to feel the actual wood. 

Reapplying the Finish

Since polyurethane is a layer on top of the wood, it will eventually wear down. It gets scratched, scuffed, and simply rubbed away. You’ll need to reapply it after a few years. Oil seeps into the wood; therefore, you won’t need to actually recoat your entire floor. If the oil is worn away in certain places, you can repair it by just cleaning the floor and then applying new oil. The oil wearing away means that it won’t be completely soaked into the pores of the wood; therefore, you can just refill those pores and let it dry. This can be done for problem spots on the floor, as opposed to sanding and refinishing the entire floor. 

The Natural Look

The look of oil is likely the main reason it is trending again. Rustic looks have become very popular in recent years, but polyurethane can somewhat undermine that rustic look. A layer of shiny polyurethane doesn’t look exactly natural. The oil will preserve the natural appearance of the wood. An oil without a hardening agent doesn’t protect the wood against scratching and denting very well. That could be a problem for some, but if you’re trying to achieve a rustic look, some natural wear and tear will look great. A hardening agent will prevent that from happening. So, there are oils for many different aesthetic choices. 

Trust an Experienced Denver Hardwood Company

Oils come in matte or satin finishes. Instead of a glossy finish, you can have a floor that is protected but still looks fairly unfinished. That’s a floor with all of the aesthetic appeal of a natural floor with the protection of a modern finish. At Denver Hardwood Floors, we’ve been doing floors for over 10 years! Contact us today to help with your hardwood refinishing project today!

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