Though homeowners have the option to order their reclaimed wood flooring pre-finished from the factory, there are many advantages for waiting to finish them on-site, including being able to choose the best type of finish for their needs.
The two main types of reclaimed wood floor finishes are penetrating finishes (oil and waxes that are absorbed into the wood and provide protection from within) and film-forming finishes (aka surface sealants, create a protective coating against moisture and dirt on top of the wood).
When choosing a finish for reclaimed wood flooring, homeowners have to consider many different factors. Along with the duration of the finish and how often it needs to be reapplied, those who have a reclaimed wood floor may also want to think about how eco-friendly or traditional a finish is.
Oil Finishes for Reclaimed Wood Floors
Oil finishes are the best option for those who are very conscious of sustainable practices and have chosen reclaimed wood flooring for its low impact on the environment. Not only is oil one of the most popular finishes for both virgin and reclaimed wood, but quality oil finishes contain no VOCs that harm the environment and are plant-based.
If you are willing to put in the necessary work, oil finishes continue to look better and better every year after applying to your floors. It does require regular buffing and touch-ups to continue looking its best, which can be a plus as some other finishes do not allow repairs and therefore they begin to look worse over time. Homeowners also seem to prefer the low sheen of oil finishes, especially on antique or rustic wood flooring.
-Teak oil. Being formulated for denser woods, teak oil can penetrate deeply into the pores of your flooring and can create a rich, warm glow. It is one of the most effective finishes you can apply to a reclaimed wood floor.
-Woca. With a natural appearance and a coating that can make scratch repair easier, Woca is one of the best-wearing finishes for your floor. As a vegetable-based “hardening” oil, it harden wood as it penetrates.
Wax Finishes for Reclaimed Wood Floors
Not only is wax the oldest and most traditional finish used for wood floors, but it is also very practical, budget-friendly, long-lasting, easy to apply and quick to dry, and allows for easy repairs.
Water can stain wax finishes on reclaimed wood flooring, so make sure to wipe up moisture immediately. Just like oil, wax coatings also require the occasional buffing and reapplication.
-Polyx. This finish surpasses the durability of other wax finishes. Known as “the original hardwax-oil,” it has been proven to be as tough as polyurethane and it still is a natural, repairable, low-toxic finish that works well with reclaimed wood flooring.
Polyurethane Finishes for Reclaimed Wood Floors
Polyurethane finishes are great for reclaimed wood floors in high-traffic areas. This type of finish creates a layer on top of the wood which provides superior resistance to water and other stains. These finishes are also very long-lasting and are low-maintenance.
Polyurethane finishes are either oil-based or water-based. The oil-based coatings provide greater protection but dry slowly. They are also made from petroleum, meaning that they are not eco-friendly. Water-based finishes dry more quickly and are a more sustainable option for reclaimed wood flooring.
-StreetShoe Super Matte. This water-based product from Basic Coatings is a low-VOC finish (very eco-friendly). It is the fastest-curing polyurethane finish in today’s market and dries quickly, allowing for multiple coats to be applied in a single day.
-Minwax DuraSeal. Available at home improvement stores everywhere this finish is easy to work with and creates beautiful outcomes as it brings out the rich grain of the wood flooring before sealing the top.