oak floor unfinished
Written by Silver Lining Floor Care

Best Finish on Oak Floors

When it comes to oak floors, there is no universal solution that suits everyone. We understand that each individual is unique, with different preferences and requirements. As trusted professionals, our clients frequently seek our guidance on the best course of action. While we can’t offer a one-size-fits-all answer, we aim to equip you with comprehensive information, empowering you to make an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs.

Enhancing the Appearance of Your Oak Wooden Floors

The visual appeal of your floors is frequently a top priority. Just as individuals have their unique fashion preferences, the same applies to flooring aesthetics. Some may favour a casual combination of blue jeans and a shirt, while others may prefer a vibrant Hawaiian style. It’s important to note that there is no definitive “better” or “worse” choice in this matter. Ultimately, it boils down to personal preferences that only you can determine.

Choosing the Colour of Your Oak Floor

The initial decision revolves around whether you prefer to maintain the natural tone of your existing oak floor or opt for a darker or lighter shade. If you desire a natural look, we recommend a “clear” finish. However, it’s important to note that a clear finish tends to darken sanded wooden floors.

Choosing Primers for Oak Flooring

Clear/natural colour

When it comes to priming oak floors, you have various options to consider. Clear/natural colour primers are the basic choices available. Depending on your preference, you can select from oil-based, water-based, or alcohol-based primers, each with its distinct characteristics.

Oil-based primers emphasise the colour and structure of the wood, providing a rich appearance. Water-based primers offer a clean and subtle look, while alcohol-based primers are known for their fast drying time and good colour enhancement.

Eco-friendly choice.

For those seeking an eco-friendly finish, there is the option of a water-based Pall-X Zero Base primer, which is completely VOC-free. It provides a more environmentally conscious choice for your oak flooring. This primer finished with 2 coats of Pall-X Zero will give the most durable finish out of all.

It’s important to note that all of the above primers have different application methods and may result in slight visual differences. Additionally, they will darken the wood to some extent. To get an idea of the shade you can expect on your wood floor, you can perform a simple test by spilling some clean “clear” water on a freshly sanded area of the floor. This will give you a preview of the final colour outcome.

Pigmented Primers for Oak Flooring

If your preference is to maintain the appearance of a sanded floor, a pigmented primer such as Pall-X 330 can be used. To further enhance the natural look of the oak and achieve a more pronounced oak effect, you have the option of applying the OAK version of Pall-X 330.

Raw wood effect

For those seeking a raw wood effect, we recommend using Pall-X 330 PURE or, for a slightly whitened appearance, 330 WHITE. Typically, this type of finish is sealed with two coats of white pigmented lacquer, such as Pall-X PURE, to preserve the desired aesthetic.

Alternatively, you can achieve a “raw” wood effect using an oil finish, specifically Magic Oil PURE or WHITE. These oil finishes provide a similar appearance to raw wood while offering their unique benefits.

Staining Oak Floors

Oak floors are trendy and lend themselves beautifully to staining. Oak has large pores that readily absorb and distribute the stain evenly. Ash and chestnut, which also possess larger pores, can be stained with ease. However, woods with smaller pores like birch or maple do not stain as effectively.

When it comes to staining oak floors, we highly recommend the Pall-X 333 range, which consists of oil-based stains. These stains are specifically designed to enhance the natural beauty of oak flooring. The entire Pall-X 333 range can be finished with either lacquers or oil, providing you with flexibility in choosing the final protective coating for your stained oak floor.

The Durability of 2k Pall-X 333 Stains

The Pall-X 333 range stands out as a two-component stain, which offers enhanced durability compared to other oils or lacquers available in the market. The presence of a second component facilitates stronger and more connections between atoms, resulting in a denser and more resistant surface that is harder to penetrate. This characteristic contributes to the overall longevity and robustness of the Pall-X 333 range as a stain option for your oak floors.

Staining the Floor White

When it comes to staining the floor white, it’s important to note that white pigment is generally the least durable among pigments. Despite this, it remains a highly desired look for many. To preserve the white pigment, we typically recommend sealing it under two coats of lacquer to provide good protection.

To achieve a white finish on your floors, there are two options available. The first option is to use 330 WHITE, which provides a white finish with a certain level of subtlety. However, if you desire a more pronounced white effect, you can opt for an oil-based product Pall-X 333 WHITE. This particular variant delivers a stronger and more distinct white appearance.

For further information and details specifically about whitewashed wooden floors, we have a dedicated article that delves into this topic separately. This article provides comprehensive guidance and insights on achieving the desired whitewashed look for your wooden floors.

Protecting white pigment

To safeguard the white pigment, we suggest applying two coats of a two-component lacquer in high-traffic areas and commercial environments. However, in areas with less foot traffic, such as bedrooms or lightly used homes, a two-component oil can suffice. It’s worth noting that oiled floors require regular care and maintenance, but the benefits are well worth it as they can maintain their appearance for an extended period before requiring oak floor sanding again.

For further guidance on maintaining your wood floors that have been sanded, stained white, and lacquered, we recommend referring to our detailed instructions.

Finishing your oak wood floor

After you have determined the colour tone of your oak floors, the next step is to consider how to protect and finish them. As mentioned earlier, you have the option to safeguard your oak floor with either oil or lacquer.

Oiling Oak Flooring

oak floors oiled

An oil finish is an excellent choice for oak floors if you want to enhance the richness of the wood grain and achieve a natural matte appearance. We specifically use 2-component oils like Magic Oil Ergo, as I mentioned earlier, which offer enhanced durability and protection. It’s important to note that applying oil to floors requires careful preparation, and we highly recommend seeking professional assistance rather than attempting a do-it-yourself approach. Achieving flawless sanding is crucial, as the oil will accentuate any imperfections. If you’re determined to achieve an oil finish, it’s best to leave it in the hands of experienced professionals. For more information on how to maintain sanded and oiled wood floors, please refer to our detailed guidelines.



Lacquer Finish

oak floor lacquered

When it comes to a lacquer finish, it typically involves applying one coat of primer (as mentioned earlier) followed by two coats of lacquer. Sufficient drying time is necessary between each coat, but if you wait too long, a quick scuff with a mesh pad or multiple for better adhesion is recommended.

Gloss or Matte

You have various options regarding the sheen of the lacquer. You can choose from gloss, satin, matte, or ultra-matte finishes. It’s important to consider that the glossier the look, the more noticeable scratches will be on the floor. For more information on the differences between gloss and matte finishes, please refer to our detailed guide.

2 component or 1 component lacquer?

When it comes to lacquers, they can be either one-component (1k) or two-component (2k). As you probably know, the 2k lacquers tend to be more durable. For a domestic environment, a 1k lacquer like Pall-X 96 will suffice. While there are more budget-friendly options available for lacquers, we pride ourselves on providing a premium service that exclusively utilizes high-quality products.

In our wood floor refinishing projects, we typically work with the following lacquers:

  • Pall-X 96: This is a premium, domestic, and Blue Angel Certified water-based lacquer.
  • Pall-X 98: Designed for high-traffic areas, this commercial-grade, two-component water-based lacquer offers exceptional protection, durability, and a beautiful finish.
  • Pall-X Pure: If you’re aiming for a stunning bare-wood effect and a natural, nude look, this specialized two-component lacquer is ideal. It enhances the natural beauty of the wood while providing excellent protection and longevity.
  • Pall-X Zero: Offering an ultra-matte finish, Pall-X Zero is the most eco-friendly option. As a commercial-grade, two-component water-based lacquer, it prioritizes sustainability without compromising on performance. It is solvent-free and VOC-free, creating a healthier indoor environment. It is the most durable lacquer of all.

Feel free to explore more about our recommended lacquers and their specific features for your oak wood floor finishing needs.

Maintenance of sanded and finished oak floors

Principles of Cleaning

Maintenance is key when it comes to keeping your oak wood floor looking beautiful and performing well for years to come. By following some basic cleaning principles, you can ensure its longevity. It’s important to understand the distinction between maintenance cleaning and deep cleaning. Find out what CHAT stands for.

Maintenance vs Deep Cleaning

Daily maintenance of oak floors

Maintenance cleaning involves regular upkeep and consists of routine tasks such as sweeping or vacuuming to remove loose dirt and debris. Additionally, using a damp mop with a mild cleaning solution specifically formulated for wood floors can help maintain their shine and cleanliness. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any cleaning products you use.

For maintenance cleaning, floors can benefit from re-coating for additional protection.

On oiled floors, we recommend using Pallmann Magic Oil Care. This specialised product helps to nourish and rejuvenate the wood, maintaining its natural lustre and enhancing the protective oil finish.

On lacquered floors, we recommend using Pallmann Finish Care. This product is specifically formulated to clean and maintain lacquered surfaces, helping to remove dirt, grime, and smudges while leaving a streak-free finish.

By using these dedicated maintenance products, you can ensure that your oiled or lacquered floor stays in optimal condition, extending its lifespan and preserving its beauty.

Periodical deep cleaning

Deep cleaning, on the other hand, involves more thorough and occasional cleaning to tackle stubborn stains, ingrained dirt, or grime buildup. This may involve using specialised wood floor cleaners or engaging professional services for a deeper clean.

It is crucial to recognise when regular cleaning is no longer sufficient and more extensive measures are required. In such cases, sanding the floor down again becomes necessary. Deep cleaning periodically and reapplying a protective coating can help prolong the need for sanding.

For oiled floors, it is recommended to use a maintenance oil to replenish the protective layer and maintain the overall condition of the wood.

For lacquered floors, a bonding agent such as Pall-X 350 is often used during the maintenance process. This helps ensure proper adhesion of subsequent layers. Following the application of the bonding agent, one coat of any 2-component lacquer is typically applied to provide additional protection and enhance the floor’s appearance.


By incorporating these deep cleaning and maintenance practices, you can extend the life of your floors and minimise the frequency of full sanding and refinishing, ensuring their long-lasting beauty and performance. Love your floor, and it will love you back, providing you with a stunning and well-maintained surface for many years to come.

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