Which is better: oiled or lacquered engineered wood flooring?

Which is better: oiled or lacquered engineered wood flooring?

Request Your FREE 52-page Tapi Flooring Guide
Need to know more about carpets and smooth flooring? We're making inspiring flooring reassuringly simple.
Get Your Free Guide

One of the features of wood flooring you may not have considered until you’ve ordered it is the finish that you want your flooring to have. After all, there’s a few different options for wooden flooring to choose between – oiled, lacquered, unfinished – it may become a little overwhelming. Well, have no fear, the Tapi guides are here to help!

Here at Tapi, you don’t need to worry about which finish to choose from, as our flooring comes pre-finished before we deliver it to your door to be fitted, but if you’re working with different flooring, check out our top tips below. We’ll take you through the differences between oiled and lacquered flooring and the process for both, as well as which finish will work best in different areas of the home, whether you’re planning on putting engineered wood into your living room or bedroom,or you're interested in kitchen engineered wood flooring and more. 

What’s the difference between oiled and lacquered flooring finishes?

Oiled and lacquered finishes are both ways in which your flooring can be finished, but they have distinctly different benefits and looks. Here are the definitions of both, as well as what both can potentially look like on engineered wood flooring:

Oiled flooring

Oiled flooring finish is when flooring oil soaks into the wood, accentuating its natural colour and wood rings, giving your flooring a more intense look. The oil penetrates deep into the core of the wood, but doesn’t fill up any of the pores, so the wood can still breathe properly. Oiled flooring finish on engineered wood looks matte, and if you apply a wax varnish, it can give it a slight satin finish too.

The greatest advantage of oiled flooring is you can make very quick spot repairs to areas with minor damage, such as a scuff or a mark. Simply sand that part of the floor down and reapply the oil – this is a great time saver as you don’t need to re-finish the entire floor, especially if it's in a more complicated pattern like herringbone engineered wood. Oil also makes your floor anti-static, which means it won’t collect dust quickly.

Oiled floors do need to be re-finished as regularly as every six months, however, and needs to be cleaned very regularly with specialist products so as not to soak up any of the oil in the wooden boards. It’s worth noting that cleaning with water will eventually lift the oil surface, and you may need to re-finish your floors even more regularly!

Lacquered flooring

A lacquered flooring finish acts like a varnish. It sits on top of the wood but doesn’t sink into the board like oil finishes do. Lacquered finishes often have much more of a shine than oiled finishes - typically, gym floors and dance halls were finished with lacquer because the finish was so strong and could hold up against the impact of hundreds of feet.

This option is the longer-lasting of the two – you should only need to re-finish lacquered flooring every 10-15 years at most, in comparison to oiled floors. It also stands up best against spills and stains, as they won’t reach the wooden boards through the tough lacquer if wiped up quickly.

This doesn’t mean this finish needs to be cleaned any less though – lacquered flooring tends to show scratches and scuffs easier than oiled flooring because of its glossy finish, but they both need the same level of cleaning and care to keep it in great condition.

Which finish is better for different rooms in your home?

Now that you know the difference between the two, you can determine which finish you’d prefer in your space. If you’d like more guidance on how each finish would work in different rooms of your house, check out our recommendations below:

Lacquered vs oiled floor: living room

Your living room floor is not as likely to see lots of busy feet passing over it as your hallway, so opting for an oiled finish here will serve to highlight the beautiful, engineered wood floors in your space. An oiled finish will also help to preserve the make-up of your engineered wood top layer, which is made of solid wood, as it seeps into every layer. It will also help to preserve the authenticity of the look and feel of the wood.

Lacquered vs oiled floor: hallway

Your hallway is one of the busiest areas in your home, with many feet passing through at all times of the day, and often with shoes on, shopping bags being dumped, and visitors being greeted. Therefore, this area of the home needs flooring that can handle all that action, so opting for a lacquered floor finish can help to protect your engineered wood flooring. It’s also much easier to keep flooring in this area of the home well maintained and clean, as it only requires a sweep with a soft brush and a clean with a lightly damp mop.

Real Customer Home
Instagram @claire_witt

Lacquered vs oiled floor: dining room

Your dining room is another area of the home that could get very busy, with daily meals, homework, home working, chores and daily occurrences happening around your dining table. Lacquered finish floors can cope with the impact of lots of feet passing through the room, but oiled floor finish can hide chair scrape marks better, so it really depends on which you are more concerned about. We’d opt for lacquered floor to keep your floor protected for longer, as scrape marks are inevitable in dining rooms with wooden floors, so you may as well aim to protect your floor with a rug and the lacquered finish.

Lacquered vs oiled floor: bedroom

It’s highly unlikely there will be many people walking around your bedroom, and especially not in shoes, so in this area of the home you can feel more at ease with using oiled floor finish on engineered wood flooring. The effect will be much more luxurious, and you’ll be able to feel the genuine wood underneath your feet too, which some people prefer on bare feet than feeling the smooth finish of lacquered floors.

How to choose between lacquered or oiled engineered wood at Tapi

There are lots of options to choose from, whether you prefer classic oak engineered wood or a subtle grey engineered wood – yes, you can get coloured stains that will further enhance the grain of the wood! If you’re uncertain about whether engineered wood is right for you, check out our engineered wood buying guide to find out more. Alternatively, head on over to our Ideas Hub for tons more inspiration, including the different types of flooring finishes, and how to style engineered wood in your kitchen.

Why not pop down to your local Tapi store with a free store appointment to speak to our floorologists about our services and look into new flooring options with us too? Alternatively, you can even book a free home appointment for our team to come to you to check out your space and let you know what flooring finish would work best.

Post author


Published: 06-03-2023