Oiled Floor Maintenance | Maintenance Oil
If you walk into a flooring shop and ask about different types of finishes, you are unlikely to hear about the regular maintenance that oiled or waxed floors require. You will learn about how natural an oiled floor looks, how the finish allows the wood to breath and maybe a number of other facts about hardwax oils and floor oils. While some salesmen may give you a hint or two about the maintenance, most of them will never explain to you in detail what is involved, how it is done and how often. You will find out within a few months and then it is too late because your floor is already damaged. Here are a number of facts about oiled floors :
Do oiled/waxed floors look natural? Of course they do. Nothing preserves the natural finish of the wood like floor oil. But, there are a number of water based floor lacquers that provide pretty much the same results without the regular maintenance.
Do oiled/waxed floors require regular refreshing? You bet! Every year or twice per year, depending on traffic, you will need to refresh your oiled floors. A natural floor oil or a hardwax oil wash off over time and it will leave the fibre of the wood exposed. Leaving the wood without protection is a risky thing. Discolorations, water damage & staining will appear all over the floor. But if you respect the maintenance routine, then you will have beautiful floors for years to come.
Can I wash oiled floors with multi floor cleaners? No way. An oiled floor is pretty sensitive. The last thing you want to do is to use a strong degreaser or an alkaline floor cleaner to maintain or clean your oiled floors. You need to use proper oiled floor cleaners and maintainers. A proper oil floor cleaner will safely remove the dirt without affecting the finish of the wood.
Can I refresh my own floors? Of course you can. There are a number of easy to use oiled floor refreshers from all the well established manufacturers of wood floor finishes. Most brands have a professional oiled floor refresher or a maintenance oil for professional use and they all also have a spray refresher for domestic use. Very easy to use and no fancy tools are required.
Do I need to use a refresher from the same brand as the original floor oil? Not really. Most maintenance oils are compatible with all floor oils or hardwax oils. All manufacturers will recommend their own products but you can use Bona, Tover, Carver Maintenance Oil over most types of oiled floors. Not all maintenance oils are 100% the same, but they all do pretty much the same job. Rebuilding the coat of oil.
How long does it take for a refresher/maintenance oil to fully dry? We have completed thousands of oiled floor refreshing jobs and we can estimate that all refreshers will be fully dry within 3-4 hours if applied right. Most people will apply a coat of refresher in the evening while allowing the floor to dry overnight.
Are the refreshers/maintenance oils toxic? No. The refresher is basically a floor oil with a hardener to help it dry faster. A normal floor oil takes 24 hours to fully dry. The refresher will dry much faster, it will not release toxic fumes & it is not harmful for your skin. But it is recommended to work in well ventilated areas and to protect your hands.
Can I get a coloured maintenance oil? Yes. While most maintenance oils are clear and matt, some brands have grey & white refreshers as well. Pretty much the same thing as the clear one but with a slight hint of a colour.
Can I scrub particular areas if it gets dirty? No. Use a flat mop to clean your floors and do not use steel scourers or catering scourers to scrub your floors. Your floor has built a patina that will wash off if you scrub it with an abrasive tool and you will end up with patchy floors.
Does the same process apply to commercial & domestic floors? 100%. Very dirty floors will require a deep clean before refreshing. Use a proper heavy duty wood floor cleaner to remove impregnated dirt and grease from the wood before refreshing it. You can do 1 or two coats of refresher.
We are not saying that oiled floors or waxed floors are not a good option. We want you to ask yourself if you are willing to put in all the work required to maintain your oiled floors to keep them in great condition? Are you prepared to invest in proper oiled floor cleaners, flat mops and maintenance oils? Are you happy to apply 1 coat of refresher every 6 months? Yes? Great! Go for oiled floors. But if you are a busy person, with a few kids, some pets and little time for maintenance, do not invest your money in oiled floors. You will regret it.
Over the past number of years we have dealt with hundreds of cases of people that were not even aware that their floors were oiled, never mind not knowing the maintenance stuff. These cases can end up in court when huge amounts of money is spent on unique oiled floors & then the maintenance is ignored. Who is to blame? The shop will pass the floor to the contractor, the home owner will blame the shop, the contractor will blame the homeowner and years of trouble will follow.
If you buy the floor on your own, read the recommendations on the pack. Most oiled floors have spent years in storage or in large warehouses and even if it is brand new for you, the wood could be years old. You should refresh your oiled floor after it is installed regardless of what the contractor tells you. If you buy your own floor, it is your job to educate yourself about the maintenance required.
If you hire a contractor to buy and install oiled floors (not a floor provided by you), then the contractor has a duty to inform you about the maintenance routine. Any decent flooring contractor will be happy to do so.
Oiled Floor Maintenance | Maintenance Oil | Natural Looking
Yes, an oiled floor can retain the natural look of the wood without glazing it. An oiled floor will allow the wood to breath and while it does not provide amazing anti scratch protection, it provides full protection against humidity. Not all oiled floors are 100% natural. Some floor oils or hardwax oils can increase the sheen on your floor while some high traffic hardwax oils can slightly glaze it. Natural oils or animal fats have been used to seal wooden floors for hundreds of years. It was cheap, efficient and easy to apply. Of course, the technology has progressed over the years and no one uses animal fat any longer, but all floor oils contain pretty much the same original composition with some enhancers added to it to increase durability, speed up drying time & colour it.
Oiled Floor Maintenance | Maintenance Oil | Refreshing The Oiled Floor
Oiled floors are getting bad publicity right now because people ignore the maintenance routine. Many people think that after spending many thousands to fit new wood floors, the job is completed and there is no more “essential” care required. Some shops are ignoring their duty of informing their customers about the essential maintenance, some flooring contractors “forget” to advise their customers about maintenance, afraid that if their customers find out about it, they might not buy it and some property owners are careless. Regardless of why the oiled floors are not getting refreshed & regardless of the amounts of money spent on it, 12 months on, the floor will look dull, patchy and scratched. If you own pets and if you have many kids, the damage will happen even faster. The oil will evaporate and it will leave the surface unprotected.
So what can you do? You need to refresh your oiled floors. How? We will explain to you below.
Refreshing – How To Do It Right
It is very likely that your oiled floor will wear off more in areas with high traffic. The corridors and the kitchen areas will start showing signs of traffic and it will start getting wetter faster. After a quick clean, you will notice that some areas take much longer to dry. That is a clear sign that the floor is not sealed any longer and the water penetrates too deep.
Assess your floor and see if the floor is dirty. If it is dirty, you will need to clean it nicely to remove all the impregnated dirt from inside the fibre of the wood. You want a highly effective product but you do not want to use an acidic product. Here is a list of heavy duty oiled floor cleaners that will remove the dirt without affecting the floor finish:
All these products are highly concentrated and 100% compatible with oiled floors. In a 5L bucket with warm water add about 3 caps of the product. Using a standard semi wet mop, start scrubbing the floor nicely going along the fibre of the wood. Do not over soak the floor. Repeat the operation a number of times until the floor looks clean. Allow a few hours to dry and you can start refreshing it.
What maintenance oil is the best? Well, it all depends on the condition of your floors and the level of protection you are looking for. A spray oil refresher will repair light dull patches while a proper thick maintenance oil will rebuild the glazing. We recommend:
Carver Carsol Maintenance Oil (very durable & easy to apply)
Tover Rinovoil Maintenance Oil (available in clear & white tint)
Bona Spray Refresher (for regular maintenance)
After the floor is fully dry, apply a bit of the product on the floor and use a flat mopping system + 1 short hair microfiber applicator pad to level up the refresher. The floor has to look wet but not over wet. Try to avoid other surfaces that you do not plan to refresh. Apply 1 coat and if you are not 100% happy with the results, apply one more. Same application rule applies to commercial & domestic oiled floor refreshing projects. 1L of maintenance oil should cover around 30-50 sq meters, varying from job to job.
Oiled Floor Maintenance | Maintenance Oil | Cleaning The Floor
There are a number of products that claim to be suitable for use on oiled floors as well but you should not use it. Try to use proper oiled floor cleaners and maintainers from well established brands. Products designed specifically for oiled floors. Bona Oiled Floor Spray Mop is the ideal solution for your oiled floors. All you need to maintain your floors in a package. But, if you want to use a standard mopping system, we will recommend some amazing oiled floor cleaners that will clean and refresh your oiled floors in one go:
Carver Deterol (coconut based) To Be Diluted
Tover Deteroil (coconut based) To Be Diluted
Bona Soap Cleaner – To Be Diluted
Bona OIled Floor Cleaner (1L or 2.5L) Ready to use, No dilution required
All the products listed above are premium products and known to prevent damage on oiled floors and increase the durability & protection.
Oiled Floor Maintenance | Maintenance Oil | DIY Refreshing
If you can or can’t refresh your own oiled floors is a question you have to ask yourself. There is not a lot of knowledge required to apply a refresher but some people are just not that handy with their hands. All we can tell you is that there are a number of videos available online showing you step by step the whole process. Watch it first and see if it is something that you could do. Otherwise you can hire a professional floor cleaning and floor refreshing company. The prices per square meter can vary depending on size, condition & job complexity.
Oiled Floor Maintenance | Maintenance Oil | Maintenance Oils By Brands
If you call X brand and ask them what maintenance oil is the most suitable one for their own floor oil, they will recommend their own brand of course. But the problem is that most people haven’t got a clue what type of floor oil or hardwax oil was used to seal their floors. Especially when you purchase unique or exotic floors. From our experience, we can definitely say that 99% of the maintenance oils are compatible with most floor oils and hardwax oils from all brands. If you know the brand of oil used to seal your floor, go for the same brand. But if you do not know it, do not worry, most people also don`t know it. You can safely use any of the refreshers listed above.
Having oiled or waxed wooden floors is an experience on its own. You will own a beautifully crafted wood floor that was sealed with a natural looking sealer. Anything that is unusual or very expensive, requires special care and maintenance. It is your duty as a property owner to educate yourself and find out ways to extend the life of your oiled floors for many years. Having oiled floors does not mean that you cannot use your floors as usual. It only means that you need to be more careful, pay more attention to maintenance and use better quality cleaning products.
Oiled Floor Maintenance | Maintenance Oil |