When it comes to floor sanding and restoration, one of the most important steps is the finishing process. This is where different products are applied to enhance the wood’s aesthetic and to protect it from mechanical and chemical damage. There are many different finishing products out there with each bearing its fair share of pros and cons. These include wax, shellac, lacquer and many others. However, floor varnish and floor lacquer are arguably the two most popular options. Below is a comprehensive review of each finishing product. By the end, you should be able to distinguish the two, not only in terms of composition and aesthetic effects, but also in terms of where best to apply.
What is it? Lacquer is essentially an upgrade of another finishing product known as shellac. Shellac itself is a resin extracted from bugs and processed to make different products including wood polish. Floor lacquer for wooden floors is made by dissolving the shellac resin in ethanol. Once it is applied, it dries forming a hard layer over the wood that offers both protection and aesthetic appeal.
When and where do you use it? One of the best things about floor lacquer is its brilliant glossy finish. It also enhances the wood’s natural beauty by highlighting grain patterns and the colour itself. This is perfect when you are going for a more modern look on your wood. Therefore, floor lacquer is best applied indoors, on old reclaimed wood and on antique furniture that desperately needs a new lease on life.
Application technique Floor lacquer can be applied in many different ways. These include:
- Using a roller
This is perfect when you are working on large spaces. In this case, you may choose to first pour the lacquer onto the floor and roll over the surface until evenly distributed. You may also choose to coat the roller with the finishing product first. The two options are viable and successful because of the light and low density nature of the product.
- Using a hand brush This method on the other hand is ideal when working on floors small rooms. It is also ideal for high precision application along floor corners as well as on furniture.
- Using a high pressure spray system Floor lacquer is one of the few finishing products out there that can be applied by spraying. This technique is perfect if you want a glossier and more even finish.
Pros – Extremely glossy finish for great aesthetics. – It can be used on other wood creations not just your floor. – It is light and easy to apply. – It does not interfere with the wood’s natural colouring.
Cons – It is more prone to fading, chipping and cracking than most other finishing products especially with outdoor application.
What is it? Before going into details about this type of finishing product, there is one myth that needs to be debunked. There is a popular assumption among people that floor varnish is an alternative term used to refer to wood finishing products. This could not be further from the truth. Varnish is an individual type of finishing with its own unique formula, application and benefits. Floor varnish refers to finishing material composed of plant oil extract, a thinner like turpentine and resin. When it comes to wooden floor restoration, spar varnish is one of the most popular options. It consists of tung oil, phenolic resins and turpentine.
When and where do you use it? One of the main benefits of spar floor varnish is the weather resistance that it offers. This makes it perfect for use on outdoor wooden flooring. It is also great for indoor spaces constantly exposed to water including bathrooms and kitchens. Another important benefit of this finishing product is the flexibility it affords the wood. This prevents things like cracking in the event that the floor constantly under pressure. As a result, you stand to gain a lot when you choose floor varnish for things like basketball courts, hospital floors and even living room flooring where there is constant foot traffic. This property also makes it perfect for application on softer and more flexible soft wooden flooring panels.
Application technique When applying floor varnish, one of the most important things to take into consideration is its thickness and high density. This affects not only how you will apply it but also how long you will have to wait for it to dry. As far as application is concerned, rollers and flat wide based applicators are the best way to go. These ensure that the product is spread out evenly over the entire floor surface. They also minimize chances of bubbling and trapping of debris that ruins the overall effect. Hand brushes are also used to reach tight spots including corners for perfect application. Once the varnish is applied, you are required to wait a certain amount of time before accessing the room and moving furniture back in. It takes anywhere between 6 hours to a full day depending on the varnish brand and the number of coats applied. To be on the safe side, all you need to do is to ask your floor sanding and restoration crew for advice.
Pros – It is flexible and thus ideal for wood panels constantly in motion or under pressure. – It is durable. – It offers weather resistance against water, wind and sunshine for the wood. – It is low-maintenance with refinishing sessions being few and far between.
Cons – It has a sort of dull and cloudy finish that does very little for your floor’s aesthetics. – It takes long to apply and dry. Final verdict
After all is said and done, the two options have a lot to offer you as the home or building owner. The important things to consider are the look you are going for as well as the location of the reworked wood. With varnish, you are free to apply it both indoors and outdoors. The only setback is that it offers functionality than aesthetic benefits. However, if you are willing to settle for a minimalistic look you will have extremely durable finishing to enjoy for a very long time. With lacquer on the other hand, indoor application is the best way to go whether it is on your living room wooden panels or antique furniture. With all this information, it should be easy for you to choose the perfect finishing product for your upcoming floor restoration work for results that will exceed your expectations.