There are several types of finishes to apply on wood flooring. Wooden floors can last for a long time if they are treated and taken care properly. There are some woods that are naturally more resistant to deterioration and weathering than other types, however in general, the hardwood flooring can last longer than the softwood flooring. Some types of hardwood such as teak, is oily and resinous and makes it hard to absorb finishes and stains.
Decorative finishes are meant to beautify the appearance of the floor surface; they do not provide much protective purpose. It is also wise to test a section of the wood you are going to apply the finish on before proceeding with the whole floor, as some wood types are not as absorbent as others and may not achieve the effect that you want.
Flooring paint is hardwearing and provides one of the best coverage that comes in a wide range of ready-made colours. Use a wood primer to clean the wooden surface before applying oil-based top coat paint on your floorboards.
Wood stains come in different shades, including matching woody colours. One thing to note when applying wood stains is that the wood stain finish does not cover or obscure or conceal the grains but rather it sinks into the grains, at times making the grains darker. If the idea is to accentuate the grain characteristics of the wood, then using wood stain is fine. Wood stains come in both water-based and spirit-based forms.
Wood can be darken using smoked and flamed finishes to it to create a darker, enriched tone to your flooring.
Bleaching wood can be done through using various wood bleaching products available in the market, or by rubbing gesso or other types of white pigment into the wood grains. Bleaching lightens the natural wood colour by a few tones, and is often done by first stripping off the hardwood surface to bare wood by scrubbing it with a cleaning solution, and then let it dry before applying the bleaching pigment. You may also want to try making your own bleaching agent by adding two parts of chlorine bleach to three parts of liquid laundry detergent.
Many types of wood, especially softwoods, are prone to dampness and rotting due to climate exposure. Wooden surfaces that are left untreated can be subjected to moisture penetration and subsequently damage, leading to rotting and decay. When your contractor comes with the parquet flooring for installation, they would have already treated and applied finishes to the wood. However, for long term maintenance, you will still need to know how to take some preventive measures of protecting your hardwood floor from deteriorating.
Before applying hardwood floor wax on your wooden floor, always sweep, mop and scrub the floor to rid of all dust and dirt. There are waxing tools in the market that come with wax applicators. If you do not have a wax applicator, using a cotton cloth or sponge will do the same. The first few layers of wax that are applied will tend to be absorbed by the wood, so it takes until a layer that is visibly dry before you can call it done. Leave intervals of at least one and a half to two hours for drying in between each layering of wax. Maintain the gloss and shine of the hardwood floor by buffing periodically.
Oiling is one of the most traditional finishes to hardwood floors. Drying oils such as tung oil and teak oil is used to improve the character and water resistance of the wood. They act as varnish and hardens when dried up. The coating these oils left behind gives protection to the wood against scratches and water seepage. If gloss is not the intended look, you may increase the solvent content to oil portion to give the wood surface a matt finish.
Varnishes and Wood Seals
Varnishes and wood seals usually contains polyurethane and are solvent based. Over time, they can give wood a slight yellow tint as they age. Mulitple layers of coating will be required to optimize protection to the floor. Hardwood floors that have been varnished have to be stripped first prior to revarnishing to give an uniform and good shine to the floor surface.
To avoid the hassle of maintaining hardwood flooring, some have turned to vinyl or resilient flooring in Singapore as they require lesser maintenance yet able to simulate the appearance of wood flooring.
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