An oiled wooden floor exudes a very special atmosphere in the room. But it needs care and a regular re-treatment. So that it stays with the perfect look, read what to look out for when re-oiling, in our guide to how to oil a wooden floor perfectly.
An oiled wooden floor often has the reputation of being inferior to its painted counterparts in terms of durability and hardness. That’s not true for a long time. Modern hard wax oils not only give the planks and mosaics the desired authentic feel, they also protect the wood as well as the alternatively used water-based paints.
They even have a decisive advantage: if, for example, the varnish layer is damaged at one point and water can penetrate there, an ugly spot soon forms. The penetrated water cannot dry out. If you want to repair the damage, you must remove the entire paint layer and completely re-seal the floor.
Oil a wooden floor perfectly: Oiled or painted?
When it comes to maintenance, oiled wooden floors need a bit more attention than lacquered ones. While in the latter the regular mist-damp wiping is sufficient, you should work with the care of oiled woods with special cleaning and care products. For hardwax oils, you will get wiping concentrates, which you can add to the cleaning water. For stains, use waxing agents that will easily regrow the wood without forming a film. Never use harsh cleaning agents!
If there is any damage to oiled floors, they can be repaired on the spot: scratches can simply be sanded out, and then the floor can only be re-oiled at this point. Water stains are less common in oiled soils, as the wood is still protected even when scratched. Here you can learn more about wood flooring, oiling and growing.
Hard wax oil, wood oil, wood varnish: What are you doing with the wood?
Wood oil, hard wax oil and water-based paints are the means used in a new treatment of wooden floors when you want to oil a wooden floor perfectly. All three have the task of protecting the wood from penetrating moisture and wear. But that works differently. While the paint is a laminating agent (it forms a protective and liquid-sealing film on the surface), the oils penetrate a few tenths of a millimeter deep into the wood. The pores are filled in this way, so dripping water on the floor can no longer penetrate the wood.
Hard wax oil: The wax in hard wax oil forms a film on the wood, the oil penetrates into the pores.
Wood oil: In normal wood oil, only the wood pores are filled, the protective film is missing.
Wood varnish: Wood varnishes form a continuous layer. If it is destroyed, you have to repaint everything.
Tip: If the wooden floor is sanded, you can give it a new color with oil immediately. In contrast to colorless oils, you must pay attention to the approaches here!
What to look for when sanding
In order to optimally prepare the wood for the subsequent oiling, it has to be sanded in a certain sequence. The coarse cut (24er grit) is followed by intermediate sanding (60 grit) and fine sanding (120 grit oil). The rough grinding removes traces and scratches and is carried out diagonally, the intermediate sanding at an angle between 10 and 15 °. The fine grinding then happens parallel to the planks.
1. Clean deeply
The use of at least three sanding cycles create a lot of the finest wood dust. This is especially true for the final finish, which is done with the single-disc machine and a sanding grid, as this type of machine usually has no dust bag. It is therefore all the more important to thoroughly vacuum the wooden floor before applying the oil to oil a wooden floor perfectly. If your vacuum cleaner has a brush, it is best to guide it in the direction of the grain. Please do not wipe the floor damp, the wood fibers would straighten up again and the sanding would have been in vain.
2. Stir oil thoroughly
Even in a very homogeneous seemingly hard wax oil, there are components of different mass. That is, when the can is long, the contents segregate, the heavier ingredients settle on the bottom of the can. To achieve an optimal and uniform result when applied, you must always thoroughly stir the oil before starting work. If your area to be oiled is large, you should do this again and again before filling the paint tray.
3. Keep the paint pans clean
Since color pans cost quite a few euros and hard wax oil can only be completely removed with solvent from a bath, we recommend the use of transparent plastic inserts for paint pans. Some manufacturers of hard wax oil offer both as a matching set. Excess oil can be easily filled back into the can. The last residue then dries after work and you can dispose of it as a whole in the plastic bin. This prevents impurities in the paint tray from getting into the oil layer on the wooden floor.
4. Remove lint on the roller
Similar to dust and impurities, the lint of the applicator roller can later unintentionally be found on the oiled wooden surface. This is almost inevitable with new rollers. While it is easy to moisten the rollers with wall paints, the lint on oil rollers can be removed with a painter’s crepe. Simply fix one end of the tape to the wall or floor, take the other end in your hand and then roll the roller over the adhesive side several times. All loose parts are removed.
5. The right pile length
Also from the oil manufacturer, you also get the optimal for the oiling application rollers. The rollers have just the right pile length for the work, because a too short pile absorbs too little oil, too long leaves streaks. In order to minimize unsightly approaches when applying the individual webs, the oil rollers at the two edges are kept slightly oblique. So you succeed perfect transitions and the amount of oil applied is just right.
6. The right dosage
The secret of a successful oil application is that the order quantity is just enough to wet the surface of the wood. Too much oil forms a slightly sticky film when drying, because not everything can penetrate the wood. To limit the amount applied, immerse the roller once in the oil and then roll it carefully on the corrugated surface. Thus, the roller is evenly wetted with oil and by the already mentioned correct pile height you always have the right amount of oil on the roller.
7. Structured application
The order of the oil on the wooden floor itself should be very structured. That is, you start in one corner of the room and put train next to train. In principle, they always work in the grain direction of the wood and not in two directions as with wall paints. As soon as the whole rolled wood is not wetted, refuel with oil. Ideally, this produces a uniform, slightly shiny oil film on the wood. If bumps occur, finish them in the burr direction within 30 minutes. After drying for 8-10 hours, apply the second coat as well.
8. The extra treatment
It is not absolutely necessary, but as the icing on the cake you can also use a single-disc machine to massage the applied oil into the wood after waiting for about 10-15 minutes. The surface becomes so particularly velvety, the uniformity of the oil application even better. After the second application of the oil and the drying time of 10 hours you can enter the area, but it is best to leave it for a few days. You should not cover it for ten days, for example through carpets. Then you have a beautiful and very resilient wooden floor that defies all influences.
9. Be careful with color
As always, when you work with colors of all kinds, the result shows with all its facets, that is, errors. For colored oils, you must therefore pay special attention to the approaches, because they are more pronounced. Again, you need two operations, the first is colored, the second but transparent. If you oiled twice, the color would become stronger and the wood grain would disappear more and more. The drying time between the two operations is at least 24 hours.
10. Love your roller
Also microfiber rollers cost money, and so you should treat them carefully. Some manufacturers offer a so-called fresh box. In it, the ink rollers store clean and the airtight closure, they are also the next day still usable. The Fresh-Box also prevents the oil from igniting itself. This danger basically exists with all oil-soaked work equipment. Therefore, the role should either be stored outdoors or in an airtight box.
For an oiled wooden floor, there is something important to consider: care, care, care. Therefore, you should also resort to special cleaning agents when cleaning the floor.
Gerhardt Richter is a writer and a trainer at trade technical colleges, specializing in carpentry, plumbing, mechanics and construction.