Hardwax Oil The Differences Explained | The Best Type of Hardwax Oil

Hardwax Oil The Differences Explained

Hardwax Oil The Differences Explained, because not all hardwax oils are created equal!

The words “Hardwax oil” have become a generic term for all types of wood floor oil, there are a few differences you need to consider or fully understand before you take the plunge and oil your floor.

Hardwax Oil Application

Lets take the brand leader, Osmo, because everyone knows it. Many others are the same, the application involves brushing on or rolling a coat of oil. Wait for 8 hours, apply another coat. Easy enough. I hear of some people putting 3,4,5 coats on to give a good “build”. This tells us, there is a surface wear layer on top of the wood. Which is fine if its a hard durable finish that will resist the day to day wear and tear, but its a blend of oil & wax. Not the most durable finish as a surface top coat, not as durable as a waterbase lacquer. 

Penetrating Hardwax Oil Application

Another type of hardwax oil is a bit different, I would actually class it as a “penetrating oil”. The hardwax oils we sell, Loba 2k Impact Oil and Floor ServiceĀ® Hardwax Oil range come under this bracket of oils. They are either a 1 or 2 coat application, but the process is the same. Apply a coat of oil with a trowel, brush or roller. Allow to soak into the wood or “penetrate” usually about 30 minutes. Then, remove all excess oil with a floor buffer. If it needs a second coat, leave it overnight and repeat the process. 

The difference with a penetrating oil is that there is nothing left on the surface, no “build layer”. The hardwax oil becomes part of the wood structure. Nothing to scratch, nothing to wear. We find these type of finishes to be much more durable. Particularly the 2k finishes, ie, Loba 2k Impact OilOvermat Floor Service 2K Oil.  Also, you can be much more creative with colours with penetrating hardwax oils.

Hardwax Oil The Differences Explained

A 2K Hardwax oil in a two tone effect. Floor Service 2k shown here with Prime Old Grey reactive stains.

2K Hardwax Oil…Durable, Fast Curing

 When we finish wood floors in busy restaurants, bars, pubs, hotels and shops, we recommend 2K penetrating hardwax oils. Our experience over the years coating such establishments have found these type of finishes to be more durable. Easier to maintain. Easier to repair damaged areas. If it was a surface build type of hardwax, these relatively soft finishes quickly wear out, leaving ingrained dirt in the wood fibres. The product comes in 2 tins, you have to mix a hardener into the oil (hence 2K), this makes it cure faster, is more durable, the floor can be in use quicker.

Cleaning & Maintenance of Oiled Floors

Of course, with any type of hardwax oil floor, regular maintenance is important. Dependent on the amount of traffic that crosses the floor, will tell you how often to maintain it. For the average family home, regular vacuuming, dry mopping and a clean with a proprietary wood floor cleaner, not something like Flash, CIF of strong detergents. Once or twice a year, give the floor a maintenance oil coat. If its a commercial environment, it may be 3 or 4 times a year.  Simply spray a maintenance oil on the floor and buff it in to “feed” the hardwax oil. This will give you a long lasting floor that will look good all year round.

Penetrating Oils

There’s another sub section of penetrating oils, and they’re true penetrating oils. These are a blend of oil, no waxes. Ideal for end-grain flooring, penetrating oils don’t have the durability of hardwax oil, they are however a beautiful finish.