Our expert guide to natural wood flooring finishes
When choosing engineered or solid wood floors always consider the long-term benefits such as durability and the return on your investment (wood floors can add value to a property). Oak flooring in particular is always a good choice for use within both contemporary and classic interiors and with so many different finishes to choose from it also offers exceptional flexibility in terms of style.
UK’s leading flooring experts Ecora make choosing wood flooring simple and at their London showroom you will find one of the UK’s most inspiring collection of natural wood floors. Sales Director Jeandrè du Toit explains “Manufacturing techniques within the wood flooring industry have improved dramatically and to reflect this we have increased the variety of wood floors, textures, styles and shades offered to meet the diverse requirements of both trade and private buyers. We often mix and match finishing techniques to achieve a bespoke look such as fuming and brushing which add depth and texture to a wood floor accentuating the natural beauty of the grain”
Brushed - Brushing usually takes place as part of the manufacturing process. The surface of the planks are roller brushed to remove some of the softer growth rings from the grain, this gives a textured surface that gently highlights the natural grain structure.
Distressed - Distressing is typically achieved by hand finishing or by tumbling the planks in large tanks, which gives the timber a randomly marked appearance. Another distressing method includes the use of machines that scrape and punch the planks as they go through a conveyor belt system. This method will usually show a repeating pattern of distresses that may look less natural.
Hand-Scraped - Previously this effect was achieved entirely by hand but could leave an uneven surface texture, now, machines are used in conjunction with hand scraping techniques for a rustic finish.
Smoked (Fuming) - Ammonia fuming is a traditional process used for darkening and enriching the colour of oak by oxidation. The physical change in appearance is subject to the tannin and other natural content held within the structure of the timber and its interaction with the treatment.
Thermo-Treated (Carbonising) - In thermo-treating, the boards are heated to a high temperature causing the colour to darken. This method of darkening wood is environmentally friendly as there are no chemicals used during this process; it simply uses heat and steam. The process brings out and accentuates the grain characteristics of the flooring, and unlike a stain, thermo-treatment changes the colour, creating a deep rich hue running through the entire core of the wood.
Lacquered - Lacquer is a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation to produce a hard, durable, protective finish or film in any sheen level from matt to gloss.
Natural Oil & Hard Waxoils - In the domestic market, hard wax-oils and UV oils have become more widespread. They are transparent penetrating substances, usually based on vegetable oils and natural waxes. These oils penetrate into the core of the wood for long-lasting protection, while preserving the wood's natural beauty and elasticity.
Examples of wood finishes available at Ecora…
1.Oak White - Oiled, 2. Oak Brendon White – brushed, 3. Oak Hampstead White – surface planed.