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Match The Finish To The Project Requirement

Craig Pawson on wood finishes

THE natural beauty of wood is what provides a high-quality feel when it is specified for commercial environments. Hotels, restaurants and shops use it to accentuate their desired impression.

Wood flooring is typically seen as a long-term investment, rather than a cheap-fix flooring solution. This makes it important to specify the correct finish that will provide additional protection within high- traffic areas to ensure that the wood remains in its best possible condition, both visually and structurally. Inthecommercialenvironment, flooring is at a higher risk of spillages and dirt, which often cannot be rectified immediately. This justifies a more intense solution to deliver protection, but when combined with the additional footfall, a harder, more durable surface finish is essential.

I advise using an oil or wax- based finish, as this protects the wood from inside and out. Oil- finishes are easily absorbed into the wood’s surface, strengthening its qualities, whilst allowing the wood to breathe and retain its elasticity. In contrast, wax finishes lay on the surface of the wood which gives the wood brilliant water resisance.

Althoughmanyoilandwax finishes are readily available, most are designed to enhance and protect wood in the domestic environment. Opt for a finish designed for professional application, as it offers more protection with increased resistance.

With today’s businesses requiring as little down-time as possible, look for a finish that dries quickly. This allows the finish to be applied during least disruptive times, or overnight. Typical drying times are four hours with two coats, and curing after 12 hours, and complete resilience after 24- hours. It is essential to communicate this to the client to ensure they do not damage the floorwhilstitisstilldrying.

Calculate how many coats the flooring requires, and how much time this takes to implement. A finish with a quick drying time, but allowing the second application once the first is dry could be counter-intuitive. Some finishes, despite a longer drying time, may permit immediate application of the second layer. Discuss this with your supplier so you can give a more accurate estimate of the time required to apply such a finish.

In conclusion, it is important to understand the demands of the flooring before specifying the finish. Opt for a hard-wearing choice to provide the best results, investing in quality over a cheaper short-livedalternative.

Craig Pawson is Osmo’s wood and finishes specialist

T: 01296 481220

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at