Oak Floor Maintenance – Top Tips for Finishing Oak


Oak floors are hugely popular, no surprise when the wood is so beautiful, durable and easy to work with. This week we thought it’d be useful to take a look at Oak floor maintenance, exploring how to tackle warped boards, fill gaps and finishing Oak flooring to gleaming perfection.

How to maintain an Oak floor

Before we look at the real thing, here’s some information about Oak laminate flooring, a product with an 8mm or so ‘skin’ of Oak glued to a core of HDF, AKA High Density Fibreboard. It’s Oak… but at the same time it isn’t.

About Oak laminate flooring

Oak laminate is made using advanced DPL (Direct Pressure method) technology, where the various layers are assembled first then squashed together into the right position. The best quality laminate flooring looks so good it’s hard to tell the difference between it and 100% Oak boards.

Laminates are scratch and mark-resistant, warm, durable and very easy to maintain. There’s an excellent guide on the UK Flooring Direct website. Some Oak laminates are guaranteed for as long as 25 years, and occasionally there’s a lifetime guarantee. But like all wood products, it’s all down to good ongoing maintenance.

One very important thing to remember: before you do anything at all to your Oak flooring, find out whether it’s laminate or solid wood. Over sanding can potentially ruin laminate finishes. Solid wood floors, on the other hand, respond beautifully to sanding.

Plastic Laminate Flooring v Engineered Oak Laminate Flooring

Which type of laminate flooring do you have, real wood or plastic? Plastic or photographic laminate floors are also popular. Their quality varies greatly with the cheapest versions being nothing more than a photographic image of wood glued and then sealed onto a core or base, usually made of compressed paper or wood fibreboard.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have high quality synthetic wood, made from very hard and durable plastic coatings. These are quality graded and tend to be anything from 0.5mm to 2mm thick. The advantage of plastic laminate flooring is it’s completely waterproof, making it perfect for use in bathrooms and other high moisture areas. The disadvantage of plastic laminates is that although minor scratches, dents and gouges can be repaired with a wax filler stick, much the same as a wood repair, they can’t be sanded and refinished like a solid Oak or an engineered Oak floor can.

About re-finishing a solid Oak floor

Oak flooring maintenance and refinishing can be hard work. But if you’re fortunate enough to have a smart, real Oak floor, it’s the only real way to return it to its original glory. So gird your loins and prepare for the long haul! Here’s how…

Getting rid of curling and warping

If your floor has been wet and dried several times, or is very old, it might have warped or curled. No problem – solid oak planks are almost always thick enough to take a really good, thorough, aggressive sanding to mitigate the effects of warping and curling. Be confident, have courage and sand ’til it’s suitably flat.

If it’s severely wonky, you can make diagonal passes with the drum sander, using a very coarse paper, until the levels look right. Just bear in mind that one of the charms of real wood is its natural finish. If you want smooth 100% perfection, you might be better off choosing a laminate in the first place.

Filling gaps in a wooden floor

You can use Oak dust collected from sanding to fill the gaps in your floor. You mix the fine dust generated during the floor sanding process with a wood filler gel to create a paste, which you work into the gaps a bit like grouting tiles. Here’s a video showing you how…

They’re using pine dust to fill gaps in a Pine floor, but it works exactly the same way with Oak.

You can also buy special filling products, for example a colour matched filler, which you simply squeeze into the gaps before cleaning off any excess. Bona Gap Master comes in 14 colours and is specially designed for the purpose.

Sanding to perfection

  • If the floor is waxed or polished with a wood floor polish, use a wax and polish remover first to remove them otherwise it will very quickly clog up any sanding belts or discs.
  • Fill any gaps and cracks before you start sanding, simply because it’s easier to fill the old finish than it is to fill the wood after it has been sanded and keeps the sanding required to a minimum.
  • You usually need a couple of machines: a drum sander for the main floor area and an edger for the edges.
  • Unless the floor is very uneven, has many layers of varnish or has the thick black tar-like substance around the edges of the room, try to avoid sandpaper coarser than 60 grit or less, which can cause deep scratches. The more coarse the first sand, the more passes you will need to do with progressively finer sanding grits.
  • If your floor is level and the finish comes off with ease, you might only need to do two passes: one with 80 grit and one with 100.
  • Because small scratches in oak blend in with the grain and are usually taken care of by your final finish, there’s often no need to finish off with 120 grit paper. The floor might be smooth enough with an 80 grit finish. Applying Meths to a test areas is a good way of highlighting any sanding imperfections and indicates if further sanding is required. The purple colour of the meths will show up any pig tails (sanding swirls) in the wood before it evaporates, returning the wood to its bare sanded state. If a non-solvent approach is preferred, water can be used but this will swell the grain which will then require a further light sanding.
  • The amount of wood that a drum sander will remove from the surface of the wood depends on a number of factors, including the type of machine being used, the grit and type of sanding belt, the type of wood being sanded, i.e. Pine, Oak or another wood species, and the number of passes being made with the sander.
  • The edger will take care of hard-to-reach areas around the edge, although you will probably need to get down and dirty with a floor scraper and mini-hand sander for the really fiddly bits.

How to re-stain your Oak floor

Now for the fun bit! This is where your floor suddenly starts to look really beautiful.

Oak accepts stains really well because it’s naturally pale. You can apply most good quality Oak stains with a rag. Oil and water-based finishes are both great to use on Oak – it’s entirely up to you. The best way to avoid making nasty streaks, bubbles and brush marks is to use a floor finish applicator, which makes it easy to follow the grain.

You usually need just 1 or 2 coats of floor stain, with a light sand or denib in between coats, ideally using a floor buffer and sanding screen. Remember to let each coat dry fully before applying the next, and remove any dust using a vacuum cleaner so it doesn’t mess up the next coat.

What about varnishing a solid Oak floor?

Polyurethane varnishes, such as Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish, are a popular finishing touch because they are available in a range of sheens from Matt through to High Gloss and deliver a lovely deep finish and a fine lustre. Most modern water-based varnishes give a clear finish, unlike the super-shiny ‘toffee apple’ look of past decades. Depending on the on-pack instructions, you can either use a sheep’s wool or microfibre application tool. Most varnish products recommend a minimum of two coats, others may recommend more than two. Whatever you do, follow the instructions to the letter – the last thing you need is to have to sand it all off and start again.

When choosing a wood floor varnish for Oak flooring, take care to pick one that is suitable for the task at hand. Is it for a domestic or commercial property? Is it for somewhere where there is heavy foot traffic and heavy wear such as a pub, restaurant or perhaps a community hall? Is there a requirement for anti-slip properties on interior steps or entrance hallways?

What if your floor has water damage?

Dark, unsightly stains are a sign of water damage, often just a matter of long-term seepage and involving moisture rather than actual flooding. When the finish is old and damaged, the moisture penetrates the wood. The only sensible way to get rid of the stains is to sand the old finish off then bleach the wood back to its original shade. The most popular wood bleaching agents are hydrogen peroxide and oxalic acid, both of which are easy to find. It’s worth noting that wood dust containing bleach is toxic, so it’s important to wear a dust musk or other breathing apparatus.

What about a wax finish?

Many modern hardwood floors come with a polyurethane or urethane/acrylic topcoat which protects the wood, in which case it shouldn’t need to be waxed.

If you love a wax finish, your floor will look great. But regular maintenance is important, since waxes don’t offer the same durability as a varnish or hard wax oil. They tend to be a better choice on older woods or floor boards, where fine scratches and so on are less noticeable. On a new floor, a scratch in wax can stand out like a sore thumb.

Hardwood floor wax is free from silicone, lemon oil, ammonia, bleach, vinegar and Tung oil, all of which can stain the wood or discolour it. Make sure you get proper hardwood floor wax. There’s a choice of wax types. Paste wax tends to require more hard work, while liquid wax needs a bit less elbow grease. And there are some very important caveats:

  • It’s not ideal to use wax on raw, natural planks if you plan to varnish at a later date. Waxes can be removed at a later date but it requires a ‘Wax and Polish Remover’ and lots of elbow grease. Waxes are commonly used to stain floors different colours and to maintain the colour and appearance of very old waxed floors.
  • Make sure distressed or reclaimed wood floors have been properly prepared before applying floor wax.

Your first job is to remove the existing wax finish, which you can do using wax and polish remover. Just grab a mop, some rags and prepare for some hard yet satisfying work. Again, it’s really important to follow the instructions to the letter. A sander can be used but the wax will melt with the friction and will quickly clog the paper meaning more sandpaper will be required.

You don’t have to stain the stripped surface before you wax, but you can if you like. It’s an aesthetic decision rather than a practical one. The floor can first be stained with a water-based wood stain then waxed with a clear wax or alternatively, it can be waxed with a coloured wax to both colour and protect the timber in one process.

Waxing usually involves several layers. It depends on the manufacturer’s instructions, but you almost always have to apply the wax in thin layers, with regular back and forwards strokes at an angle to the joints. When you do it this way you fill the gaps between the planks with wax, which can help prevent noisy creaking.

If you like a deep shine, fit a buffing pad to your sander… or just apply more elbow grease. The more you polish, the more it’ll shine.

What about cleaning Oak floors?

Cleaning Oak floors correctly is the best way to preserve the finish and to keep them looking in tip top condition for longer. The easiest way to protect a floor finish is to dry sweep or vacuum treated floors on a regular basis, especially if located near an entrance and exit point such as a front or back door. Tiny particles of dirt and grit that are walked in from outside can act as an abrasive on wooden flooring, scratching the floor finish and wearing it away over time. Regular sweeping and vacuuming greatly reduces the potential for this surface debris to cause damage.

Cleaning Oak and other wooden floors with a dedicated wood floor cleaner will help to remove surface scuffs and marks. Wooden floor cleaners are specially formulated to be pH-balanced and non-abrasive so they’ll clean the floor without wearing away the finish.

Need help? We’re always pleased to provide expert advice

Like all wood projects, maintaining Oak flooring comes with risks. If you’re a beginner or first timer and could do with some solid, sensible, expert advice, feel free to give us a call. We’ll be delighted to help you pick exactly the right products for the job in hand and provide insights into exactly how to use them to their best effect.


  1. My house was built in 26. It has the original oak hardwood floors throughout. I have about a 5×5′ area that has water damage. I’ve read alot about properly sanding and my question is how to match and protect it. The current floors are not real shiny. Guess they’ve dulled over the years.

    Whats your recommendation for matching the stain (they’re a golden oak color) and a final non glossy protective covering?

    Thanks, Gregg

    • Hello Gregg,

      Thank you for getting in touch, I often get asked about matching one surface with another and my answer is always the same, it is difficult, but not impossible. How close you are able to get can very much depend on the woods themselves. More often than not I also start with a water based stain such as the Manns Classic Pine Stain if you have pine or pale soft wood floors and Manns Classic Oak Stain for Oak floors. the colours with in these two ranges are designed specifically for Pine and Oak in mind, however there is no reason why they can not also be used on most wood types, just expect a different colour result.

      These stains are so versatile, they can be applied in a number of coats to intensify the colour, they can be intermixed to create a new colour and they can have water added to reduce tone or lighten the colour. So you have a lot of scope with these to match what you want. I would recommend looking at the colour swatch, rather than the name of the colour when choosing as we all know Light oak in one brand can be very different to light oak in another.

      There are samples of this product and so you can play around a little to find the desired colour. Your test area should also include the top coat protective finish, and the reason for this is that is will darken the colour slightly. So a matt varnish applied to the stain will make it look as if wet. The Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish is a great option to be applied over the top of the stain and is available in a matt finish and in sample sizes for those test areas.

      If you have a look at these and see if you think the might suit your needs and should you have any questions please do not hesitate to get back in touch via our contact us page.

      All the best Samantha.

  2. Good day to you, I have found your guidance very useful but have one other dilemma for you and would really appreciate your help. We have an old French farmhouse which has a selection of mix and match old Oak and possibly Chestnut boards varying in depth from 21cm to 25cm. The floor isn’t perfectly even but that’s not our main concern. The boards have come from various sources and some are treated and some are not. Our plan was to strip them back and have them all roughly the same colour but this is proving difficult, because of the various boards, and maybe because of absorbency, as some of the wood appears harder. It’s been 3 days of hard work so far and we feel at a but of a loose end, any advice would be gratefully received. Many thanks Paul

    • Good Afternoon Paul,

      Matching up floor boards that are a different species of wood a different age and had different stories over the years will be very difficult to do and for many it is easier to embrace the natural differences as a feature.

      As you say the wood will accept colours in very different ways and one stain can look vastly different when applied to different wood types or even the same wood types that have aged differently or sanded differently, there are so many variable in play.

      The alternative will be the get a number of samples from a stain range such as the Manns Classic Pine Stain as see how they can work to bring your colours closer together, test areas would need to included the finishing varnish too as this will also impact on the colour.

      I don’t know that I have been much help but of you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  3. Hive a customer with an engineered oak floor which is looking tatty, I was hoping to sand the varnish finish off and reapply a durable finish, what would you recommend? It’s in the lounge of a prpoery.

    • Good Afternoon Thomas,

      Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. As you are sanding back the floor this opens up your options for a new finish. There are two main products that you can consider for a floor finish, the first is a varnish, this is long lasting, hard wearing and a more durable finish that seals by drying on the surface of the wood.

      The second option is a Hard Wax Oil that soaks into the surface to give a more natural look and feel to the wood. It does not last as long as a varnish but is far easier to maintain and repair over time.

      I would recommend the Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish as a good, non yellowing water based floor varnish that comes in four sheen levels.

      And for the Oiled finish the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil this is two coat product with easy application, it dries hard and gives good protection to the wood, nourishing it at the same time. For maintenance and to keep up the levels of protection you can apply a fresh coat of oil when you feel the wood needs it. This could be one, two three or more years down the line depending on how much the floor gets used, but essentially no stripping back required.

      If you take a look at both products and feel free to get back to me with any questions you may have.

      Always try a test area first.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  4. I have solid oak flooring laid 10 years ago (not sure now what type) it looks lovely
    But it creaks something awful! Concrete floor underneath. Is there anything we can
    Do to stop the noise?

    • Hello Jean,

      How annoying, I think you will be better getting some advice from a flooring contractor directly as we specialise in just the finishes. I hope you manage to get it resolved, I can only imagine how annoying it is.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  5. hello there
    I wonder if you can advise me. We have a solid oak block wooden floor in our hall and dining room. The finish in the dining room is still ok, but the hall floor, especially by the door, is mostly non-existent. I know the previous owners of the house used to borrow a polisher from a local school, which was used to polish the school PE hall. I want to make it all beautiful again, but don’t know how! I have washed it, and was shocked by the amount of dirt on it, but now it needs ‘sealing’. I use inverted commas because I have no idea if this is the right word, or indeed how to go about it. Can you advise?
    Thanks so much.

    • Hello Helen,

      Thank you for getting in touch, you have come to the right place. It sound like a traditional floor polish has been used in the past and buffed in to give some shine. This gives a great look to the floor but offers little protection.

      If you would like to continue with this, try an alternative floor polish, the good thing is that many polishes can be applied over most types of wooden floor, including oiled, varnished, solid or engineered and can be buffed up to a good shine. Care must be taken however as buffed, polished floors can be slippery.

      The alternative will be to remove all the existing finish and bring the wood back to a bare state. This will need to be done by sanding the floor, but it allows you to use a much more durable finish such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil, which still leaves the floor looking and feeling very natural but offers a better level of protection for general traffic and wear and tear.

      If you have a look at the advised products and some of our videos on our YouTube Channel. This will help and if you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to let me know. Or feel free to call and speak to one of our friendly advisers on 01303 213 838.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  6. I recently had an enginered oak floor installed 20mm thick 6mm top layer smoked and oiled finish. It’s installed in both the kitchen and living room. Unfortunately it is taking on marks in the kitchen and the flooring installer is proving difficult to get hold of. I think it might need a top coat to stop the kitchen stains from settling in as even a drip of water is leaving a slight mark if not wiped up quickly. Please can you tell me what is the best product to use that will resist kitchen stains but still keep the colour/ finish of the floor that we originally bought. We are ideally looking for a matt finish. Many thanks.

    • Hello Maria,

      Thank you for your enquiry. The first thing to establish is exactly what is on the floor. Oil, wax or lacquer ? This will determine what I can recommend moving forward to offer extra protection for your flooring. There is a small test that you can do which will help to determine which it is and this is to put a small drop of oil on the surface of the wood and leave for 30 minutes to an hour. If the oil remains unmoved then you have a varnish or lacquer. If the oil soaks in or moves then you are likely to have an oil surface and depending on how much it moves will also show if the wood will accept a further coat of oil to give protection.

      If you are able to carry out this test and get back to me via email wood@finishes.direct and I can advice from there. Or if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  7. Is there any advantage to varnishing both sides of oak floor boards? Something from my art materials knowledge suggests the same treatment on both sides adds stability against warping. However, someone said the oak does need to breathe so sealing it all round not such a good idea. I’d appreciate your views on this.

    • Hello Ben,

      It would be fair to say that treating both sides will have its benefits and its problems, if you use a varnish. The best option for treating both sides will be to use a microporous finish, such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. This is a durable seal that will repel moisture. It will also allow any trapped moisture to come out of the wood, although that does not mean that it can be applied to damp wood.

      Hard Wax Oil will not last as long as a varnish, however it benefits from being easier to maintain over time and it will not peel and flake. It gives a natural look and feel to the floor. Varnish will last longer and be a little more hard wearing, so it really depends on which finish will be of more benefit to you.

      I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  8. We have recently uncovered a solid oak floor in the hall. It must be about 80 yrs old but has been covered with carpeting all this time. It’s in quite good condition but and my builder has sanded it down, and put one layer of wax down. The colour is good but the hall has a lot of heavy traffic thru it. Whats the best way of keeping its look, and general maintenance. It seems so much easier to cover it with carpet again. Help.

    • Hello Mrs Bloom,

      A wax, although suitable for flooring is not something that we tend to recommend as it offers very minimal durability and protection, particularly in high traffic areas. For a much more durable finish I would recommend a Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. However you would need to remove the wax in order to apply an oil.

      The wax will prevent the oil from absorbing and a varnish from sticking to the surface. To remove the wax you can use White Spirit and a Finishing Pad and once back to bare wood you can apply the hard wax oil.

      We also have some very helpful videos on our YouTube Channel with product advice and hints and tips on application methods.

      If there is anything else I can help with please do not hesitate to let me know.

      Many Thanks Samantha.

  9. I have an engineered oak floor but in front of my seat I have worn away the colour and seal with my shoes what do you recommend I do to restore it as it is very noticeable
    Thank you

    • Hello Iris,

      Can you tell me what finish is currently on the floor ? Varnish or an Oil? Once I know this I may be able to help with recommending a suitable product to improve and repair the worn away area. Feel free to also send me a photo if you think it may help to wood@finishes.direct

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  10. Hello,

    I’m sanding down a solid oak T&G floor that I’ve re-laid just recently. it’s quite light anyway, but I want to create a lightly limed finish – have tried a patch of Osmo 3040 white oil but I’m concerned that I’m not going to get the finish I want because the grain will be too closed up and not show enough of the white…

    Are there any machines out there that I can use to open up the grain a bit?


    • Hello Tim,

      If you sand the floor to a 120/150 grit this is the recommended finish for applying an oil such as the Osmo Polyx Oil Tints this should leave the grain open enough for absorption. If you are able you could try some test areas of the 3040 on a area sanded at 120 and another on an area at 150 or 180 to see if there is a difference and which you prefer.

      For a slightly more intense white you could look at the Osmo Wood Wax Finish Transparent. This would need a coat of the Osmo Polyx Oil Raw for a durable finish.

      White finishes can be difficult to get right and test areas are key. Also take time to stir any products very very well. White pigment is the heaviest and will sink to the bottom quicker than other pigments and so continue to stir through out application. Feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

  11. Hi Sam, I have just made an open porch with European green oak. I love the fresh cut look of the wood, but already I a seeing the colour change. (Some was already weathered) What would you recommend as treatments to retain the colour before it goes too silver? Many thanks in advance.

    • Hello Lee,

      The difficulty with Green Oak is that it is not really meant to be treated or even needs to be necessarily, many people who have it installed like the natural silvering effect that you get with it. But you are not alone in wanting to keep its fresh natural colour.

      There are some clear oils with UV Filters in that you can apply and these will help to slow down the silvering, with regular maintenance. The Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra is a very popular choice and two thin coats are all that is required.

      Alternatively a Decking oil with UV Protection in it such as the Barrettine Decking Oil are good to use for your project. Coverage may vary due to the nature of the wood that you are applying it to.

      I hope that helps and if you have a read up on the products and let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

  12. I hope you can help – in fact having read Sam’s excellent replies, I’m sure you can!

    We had engineered oak flooring (pre-oiled and UVA treated) installed about 3 years agi. I realise it’s probably time to top up the treatment (I have until now simply been damp mopping with wooden floor soap).

    You often recommend Hard Wax. Will this help with the UVA protection?

    Thank you

    • Hi Maggie,

      Thank you for the kind words!! The Osmo Uviwax is a good product for you to look at. It is a durable and hard wearing finish that should be suitable for your flooring and is a Hard Wax Oil. As I do not know what you currently have on the floor a test area is strongly advised, but generally one oil will go over another without problem.

      If you have a read up on this product and then feel free to let me know if you have any further questions. We also have a very helpful YouTube Channel which has hints and tips on application methods.

      All the Best Sam.

  13. Hello,
    We have just bought a house with a lovely sprung oak floor running through most of the downstairs. It is in very good condition but I don’t think it has been maintained for many years. I have cleaned it with Bona cleaner and it looks lovely but there are clear areas where the water soaks in and other areas where it doesn’t. I assume this means that the original oil/wax has worn off. I would rather not resand everything and start again as I plan in the next couple of years to take it all up and put underfloor heating underneath it. I was hoping to give it a good clean and then use some polyx-oil to give everything an even level of protection and appearance. Could you tell me what I should be looking at or doing before I do this (or whether I need to hire a sander and take it all back to bare wood.)

    • Hello Richard,

      My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. If the current treatment is an oil then you can look at patch repairing it with the Osmo Polyx Oil and giving a refresher coat. Its worth wiping the untreated areas with some White Spirit first to clean and degrease and then a Test area should be done first to ensure you are able to achieve the finish that you want.

      If there is anything further that I can help with please do let me know.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  14. We have just bought Some Oak Flooring.
    (Rustic solid oak flooring, is perfect for clients looking for an old world look. It has open knots and some shakes. It will require a light sand once laid).
    They will come untreated and we have been told that we have to leave them for 2 weeks before they can be laid. My other half would like to darken it’s colour, but also harden it as the dog’s will be walking on it. Can you offer some advice as to what products I should use? Thank you.

    • Hello,

      As long as the floor has no current treatment on it then you could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints. These will colour and protect in one treatment of two thin coats. They are available in sample sizes also, so that you can carry out test areas. Have a read up of the products and if you have any questions please do let me know.

      We also have some helpful videos on our YouTube Channel that can help with hints and tips on preparation and application.

      All the Best Sam.

  15. Hi Sam
    I have an engineered oak floor, with an oil finish, which was laid 2yr ago, throughout our downstairs (kitchen, diner, sitting room, hallway). It’s a gorgeous cappuccino colour, but has faded alarmingly in the kitchen which has floor to ceiling windows south west facing.

    Already it’s starting to grey-out along the grain and has faded to a very pale colour compared to the rest of the ground floor.

    Can you tell me, please:

    A) is there anything I can do to re-darken the floor in areas effected without having to treat the whole downstairs (80% or more still perfect!) and

    B) what should I do to minimise the sun’s impact in future?

    I wasn’t aware buying the floor that this would happen :o/

    We have never sanded or re-oiled the floor (keep meaning to oil, but three kids keep getting in the way!!)

    Many thanks, Sam!!!!

    • Hello Jenny,

      Thank you for your inquiry. We love the sun but it causes damage to so many things with out us realizing and wood is one of those things. Slowly it will silver under the effects of UV and your floor has done well for two years with direct sunlight on it, I suspect its darker tones have helped to maintain it for this time. But it would be fair to say that even the best products can not hold back the UV forever and like when we use sun cream to protect ourselves needs topping up, so do the wood surfaces around our houses and gardens.

      For your floor it would be better if you can find out what was put on it originally so that you can match it up. If this is not possible then take a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints as there may be something in this range that will match. I would also be happy to look at some photos if you think that would be of any help. Colour matching is difficult, especially from photos but I can try to guide you in the right direction. You can email me at wood@finishes.direct.

      Kind regards Sam.

  16. Dear Sam,
    We have laid an antique oak floor with 100-year-old solid boards in varying widths. It looks good but the finish is completely matt and looks a bit dead and overly flat. The people who laid the floor did not know of a product that would avoid a modern glossy look while giving me the old waxy lustre I’m after. I would like the floor to look like it’s been there a long time and has been worn to a polished effect, rather than a shiny one – if that makes sense! Is there a wax, or anything else, on the market that would achieve this?
    Thanks and regards,

    • Hello Lucinda,

      Hard Wax Oil are is common recommendation for flooring and will give a natural clear finish or a coloured one if that’s what you wish to achieve. I would recommend the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil which is a clear oil that gives a Matt, Satin or Semi Gloss finish and is available in sample sizes should you wish to try. And also the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints range can add some colour and depth to your floor.

      These are both durable and protective finishes that are great for floors and are easy to patch repair should scratches, stains or marks occur. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please feel free to get in touch.

      Kind regards Sam.

  17. Hi,

    I have a few of questions I really hope you can help me with, as I’ve been struggling to find clear answers for the last month or so!

    My wife and myself have just bought a house, and are in the process of choosing a new flooring. As we have underfloor heating throughout the house, we cannot go for a solid wood option, and instead have to go with an engineered wood option that will be glued down. We’ve narrowed the choice down to two. Both are engineered oak floors, and both are 15mm thick in total with a real oak top layer of 4mm. However, they have different finishes:

    · One has a “wax-effect, white tinted, white limed” matt brushed varnish finish (and is made up of 9 composite layers)
    · One has a smoked and ecological white oil finish (and is made up of 3 composite layers)

    Both are very similar in appearance and feel (in fact, when I showed the sample I have of the varnish floor to another flooring shop, they thought it was oiled, not varnished), and both have a rustic/country finish with nodes, etc very visible in the wood. However, we do prefer the oiled floor over the varnished one in terms of how it looks (including the size and width of the individual planks). It also has a more aged/rustic effect, which we like. However, if it’s going to be a nightmare to maintain over the coming years, then we’d rather go with the varnished floor.

    I am aware of the pros and cons related to varnish vs. oil finishes, but I have some additional questions specifically related to the maintenance of an oiled floor. Everything I’ve read says that an oiled floor requires more regular maintenance than a varnished floor. A lot of sites recommend you should apply a fresh coat of oil either once or twice a year. As we will have 200 square meters of flooring spread over 4 floors, this sounds like a MAJOR work effort every 6 months! Therefore, I was wondering:

    1. What would be the negative impact of only applying a fresh coat of oil every 3 or 4 years? What would be the maximum interval you would recommend having between fresh coats of oil?

    2. If I applied a fresh coat of oil just to the high traffic areas (i.e. the entrance hallway and open-plan dining/living room area on the ground floor) once a year, but never applied a fresh coat to the low traffic areas (i.e. stairs and bedrooms), what would be the negative impact? For example, would the unoiled wood dry out and crack, and/or would we start seeing a noticeable difference in color between the unoiled and oiled areas?

    3. Is there a type of oil you would recommend using that would:
    a. Not change the color of the floor
    b. Allow the longest possible intervals between fresh coats (and how long would these be)
    c. Make the oiled floor more resistant to liquid spills

    4. When you oil a floor, how long do you have to let it dry for before you can walk on it, or put furniture back on it?

    5. What product should be used on an oiled floor on a day-to-day / weekly basis (in order to remove the inevitable dirt marks that will not come off with just a hoovering or sweeping)? We have a 9 month old daughter, so I’m thinking into the future here…

    6. If we go with the oiled floor option, would you recommend having it oiled immediately after it’s laid (i.e. before we move into the house)? If yes, is there a specific type of oil you would recommend for this initial oiling (to address the same points as in question 3 above)?

    Another question I have that applies to both options we’re considering is:

    1. How many professional sandings and can we realistically expect to be able to have done over the life of an engineered flooring with a top-layer of 4mm?

    And a final question is:

    1. Does the number of composite layers used to make up an engineered floor make any difference? As I stated above, the varnished floor is made up of 9 layers, and the oiled floor is made up of 3

    One additional piece of info that might make a difference to your advice is that we will NOT be putting the wood floor in any areas at risk from humidity or water spills (i.e. kitchen or bathrooms). These will be tiled.

    Thank you so much in advance for your help, and apologies for all the questions!! I just want to make sure we make the right choice…


    • Hello Daragh,

      Thank you for your inquiry, let me first say that structure and sanding of Engineered flooring is not my field of expertise and I would not be able to answer the inquiries about that.

      But for the treatment of the flooring however I can recommend Oil as a finish and particularly a Hard Wax Oil this is the most durable of the oils and depending on use would need topping up once every two to three years. Any areas that are used more and wear away quicker can be patch repaired and should blend fairly well.

      Please bare in mind that a clear oils will darken the wood slightly, giving it the wet look, and you can get an idea of this by wiping a damp (not wet) cloth over the surface. For the most Natural Finish, you could look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural which is design to leave the wood looking as unchanged as possible. All of these oils are available in sample sizes and need test areas. Very thin application is needed and please read all instructions before use. I hope that helps and feel free to come back to me if you have any other questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

  18. Hi

    We have installed shop finished (slightly white) engineered oak flooring and subsequently applied 2 coats Osmo Polyx Oil High Solid White 3040. This is in an open plan living/dining/kitchen room. Unfortunately the finish is not as stain repellant as I expected. Can you suggest what can be done? I would like to maintain a semi matt appearance.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Hello Judith,

      The good thing about the Osmo oils is that you can patch repair, lightly sand back effected areas and re oil, the product will blend really well with the existing treatment.

      Is it possible that you have over applied the oil slighty as this can result in the oil being easily marked. Osmo Oils are designed to soak into the surface of the wood and are water repellent and protective but if the oil sits on the surface because it hasn’t been absorb then it could be marked or stained quite easily.

      Please let me now if you have any further questions.

      All the Best Ben.

  19. We have just sanded and revarnished my home floor but already I am spotting black marks , presumably from my black leather boots . Is there any way to protect the floor from some markings . We used a heavy weight varnish . Thank you

    • Hello Marie-Claire,

      I am afraid there is no magic solution to this. The best thing to protect your floor from you boots is not to wear them on the surface, I know this may not be ideal but we would say the same for stilettos. Even the toughest treatment will be effected by scrapping furniture across the surface, dropping heavy things of it, or high heels etc. I am sorry I can not be of more help.

      Kind regards Sam.

  20. Hi, we have a solid oak floor in our living room that is now starting to look tatty, there are some areas that have gone grey, looks like the Finish has worn away, and there are a lot of little grooves in the Finish, from the three dogs we have. We believe that the wood was originally finished with a lacquer, but can’t be sure. Should also mention that some of the shorter boards are warped. What is the best way to rejuvenate this flooring and possibly darken the shade a little, and what would be the best final Finish for durability. Thanks Liam

    • Hello Liam,

      Thank you for you inquiry, I would always recommend sanding back to the bare wood if you can as this will give you a good base to start your project from. Particularly with varnished/lacquered flooring as patch repairing or hiding damaged areas is not always easy.

      I understand that this is not always possible however and you can apply varnishes on top of each other usually with out any problems but a test area must be done to ensure for compatibility and adhesion. You could have a look at Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish for a tough clear finish. Or if you would like to add a colour then Diamond Hard Coloured Floor Varnish from Ronseal is a good option.

      As I say a test area is essential and if you are applying over the top of varnish it will not be perfect but will certainly refresh and renew the look of the floor. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

  21. Hey,

    We have another as far as anyone knows pre-oiled strong oak white smoldered flooring set down around 4 months back. Sadly it’s beginning to get a couple of little marginally dim stains which I think are oil based instead of water stains. We have no clue what oil was utilized before and the organization who sold the floor haven’t been useful in encouraging what to use to facilitate secure. We need to minimize the look of the stains and ensure against further harm. Would we be in an ideal situation utilizing a story refresher like the osma one or re-oiling? We are hoping to attempt keep the shading comparable despite the fact that a marginally darker completion would be adequate however need attempt to keep the mellow whitewash impact. In the event that re-oiling, would the osma crude or fiddes common be best to attempt keep the shading comparable and keep up the Matt impact. (The deck is the galleria white seethed oak flooring which is a light-medium shading). We will be settling the floor ourselves so the minimum complex alternative is likely best!

  22. We have sanded a lovely oak floor. We like the way it looks now. Should we varnish or wax it to keep it as light as could be expected under the circumstances?

    • Hello Jane,

      Thank you for your inquiry, I would recommend that you have a look at either of these products Osmo Polyx Oil Raw or the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural these are durable hard wearing products that are suitable for floors and they are designed to leave the wood looking as unchanged as possible. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  23. Howdy, we’ve sanded our old Victorian pine floorboards and after that additional two layers of dull Jacobean oak beeswax and they look extraordinary. The issue is regardless of buffing it to death the wax still falls off on our socks and shoes and subsequently we are strolling it into our extremely costly cream Moroccan carpet. Am l missing something that we should’ve done or is this ordinary? Should we take the wax off and utilize an alternate item? Much obliged ????

    • Hello Annabel,

      We tend not to recommend Wax or beeswax for flooring, it is not that it can’t be used, it is purely that many people have the issue that you have and it is just not that durable enough for floor finishes. The friction between the wax and the fabric of the socks warms the wax and it becomes soft.

      I would recommend removing the wax and looking at a Hard Wax Oil. This will dry hard and give a similar look to the floor, whilst giving it much more protection and durability than the wax does. Please let me know if you need any more help – Sam.

  24. hi,
    We as of late lay an oak pre completed designed floor . We might want to stain it to a medium/dim oak shading yet in a matt completion. Would you be able to propose anything?

    Sneha Meena

    • Hello Sneha,

      If you are applying to bare wood then you have a number of options depending on what look you would like to achieve. For colour and protection in one it is worth looking at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints. Two thin coats is all that is required with this product and it is easy to repair and maintain over time.

      If you would like something a bit more durable an long lasting then you could look at Staining the floor with Manns Classic Oak Stain to colour and then the Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish to protect. Please let me know if you have any further questions – Sam.

  25. I acquired a Monolam assembled European brushed and varnished floor this year in new house, I am just contemplating what is the best way to deal with clean these floors, at this moment we are delicately wiping them with warm water however am considering is these any thing we can be using or would a steam cleaner work? Also, do brushed and varnished floors ought to be re-varnished in some cases?

    • Hello,

      I would not recommend using a steam cleaner on any floor, the heat and pressure will cause damage to the finish, whether it be varnish or oil. We have a great range of cleaning products from Bona which are suited for cleaning wooded floors because they are pH-neutral the Bona Spray Mop is perfect for making you floor cleaning quick and easy and leave a streak free finish. You can also get a Cleaner Refill. I hope that helps and please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

  26. Hi there, we’ve sanded our old Victorian pine floorboards and then added two coats of dark jacobean oak beeswax and they look great. The problem is despite buffing it to death the wax still comes off on our socks & slippers and consequently we are walking it into our very expensive cream moroccan rug. Am l missing something that we should’ve done or is this normal? Should we take the wax off and use a different product? Thanks ????

    • Hello Caz,

      Wax is a lovely product and popular with many people because of the look that you can achieve with it. But when used on a floor it offers little protection and as you have discovered will come off on clothing. I would recommend a stronger and more durable product for flooring such as a Fiddes Hard Wax Oil which will give you the natural look of a wax but will dry hard and last longer.

      Unfortunately you will have to remove the wax before applying any oil as although oil will eventually soak through the oil into the wood it will take a long time and put your floor out of action for days, maybe even weeks depending on how much wax you have applied. You can remove the Wax with White Spirit and sanding if that is the route that you choose to go down. Please let me know if you have any further questions – Sam.

  27. Hi Sam, thanks so much for your reply bery useful and helpful information. I have another room that i plan to sand, possibly stain aswell. What i would like to know, does the floor need de-nibbing after shellac or stain has been applied? If so at what stage should i do this, before 1st coat of lacquer or after the 2nd coat?

  28. Hi, I have a solid oak floor that was finished 2 years ago with Osmo polyx oil. I would like to know what steps are needed prior to applying a new coat on top? Also the steps needed once top coat is applied?

    Kind regards

    • Hello Matt,

      Applying a maintenance coat of Polyx Oil could not be easier. Ensure the floor is clean and dry, remove any marks or stains, dust or debris. You can go over the surface with a Finishing Pad if you feel it needs it. And then apply a thin coat of the Osmo Polyx Oil. You should only need one coat but if you feel it needs two and the wood will absorb a second coat then there is no reason why you couldn’t do so.

      Allow the at least 24 hours for the Oil to cure before putting back into full use although drying time will be around 8 hours and for cleaning I would recommend a pH-neutral cleaner such as Bona Wood Floor Cleaner Spray or the Bona Wood Floor Spray Mop. I hope that helps and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you – Sam

  29. Thank you Sam,

    We will do as you advise, and have bought some Polyx oil from you.

    Can you confirm that so called ‘sealed’ solid oak has a hard/varnish/plastic seal and that when damaged by wear it would require complete removal by sanding and re-varnishing?
    I don’t actually like the look of ‘sealed’ simply because it looks artificial and would be
    out of place in a 300 year old cottage!

    In either case, sealed or oiled, I gather that you would not recommend use of a steam mop but advise the use of the Spray Mop/Cleaner?

    Thanks again for being so helpful.

    Kind regards,


  30. Hello,

    This site is so helpful. We have bought materials from you previously.

    We have an Elka solid brushed oiled oak floor laid on a solid concrete base. It covers the dining room and kitchen. It looked super when first laid about six years ago but the area in the kitchen, in front of the sink, washer, cooker etc has become very grubby and dark. It looks dirty and I would like to restore this area and seal it with something that can be easily cleaned with, for instance, a mop.

    Your advice would be very much appreciated.

    Kind regards,


    • Hello Brian,

      After 6 years much of the Oil may have come out of the wood now, but for the best finish you may want to remove any left over oil with White Spirit or a light sand. The White Spirit will also help to remove dirt and grease that may have accumulated on the wood. Once you are back to bare wood you can re apply a Fiddes Hard Wax Oil which will protect and enhance the natural beauty of the wood. The Hard Wax Oil is ideal for kitchen areas because of its ease to patch repair in areas that get well used and it is water repellent and durable. Please try a test area first to ensure you are getting the finish that you want. You can add a maintenance coat every 1 – 2 years if you think it needs it.

      And for easy cleaning I would recommend the Bona Wood Floor Spray Mop it is a pH-neutral cleaner that is perfect for oiled floors. It has a washable pad and 4 Litre refill. Let me know if there is any other advise you would like.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  31. I purchased a Monolam built European brushed and varnished floor this year in new house, I am simply pondering what is the most ideal approach to clean these floors, right now we are softly wiping them with warm water however am pondering is these any item we can be utilizing or would a steam cleaner work? Additionally, do brushed and varnished floors should be re-varnished sometimes?

    • Hello Daphne,

      The first thing for me to say is that we never recommend the use of a steam cleaner on wooden floors. The heat and pressure will cause damage to the surface of the wood and the finish whether it be varnished or oiled.

      We have a very good PH balanced cleaner on our website that is perfect for Varnished floors and will not over a long term damage or fade the varnish that you have on your floor. Bona Wood Floor Cleaner Spray is simple to use, just spray and wipe and it will leave a streak free finish. Or you could have a look at the Bona Wood Floor Spray Mop which has the same wood floor cleaner in it and makes cleaning the floor so much easier.

      As for re-varnishing, it is possible to add and extra coat of varnish to revitalize the floor as long there are no breaks or damage in the seal. It may be better for you to use the Bona Freshen Up which will revive a dull looking varnished floor. I hope this helps and if you need any more advice please let me know.

  32. Hi there,
    I’ve laid an engineered oak floor (brushed and oiled) in my kitchen this weekend. It looks beautiful but it is already beginning to show stains from water and other cooking bits falling on the floor, despite us picking them up relatively quickly. Please could you advise me on a durable floor finish bearing in mind it’s a kitchen and we have two little dogs that like to come in from the back door a little wet! Is a varnish, oil, or wax my best option?
    Kind regards,

    • Hello Martin,

      A Varnish will be the most durable over the long term and will protect against dirt and stains. It will last for years but is difficult to repair if you get any damaged areas or breaks in the seal, you would need to consider removing it all and starting again.

      The alternative is a Hard Wax Oil this is also a very durable finish that will protect against dirt and stains, but will not be as long lasting as the varnish. It is slightly easier to maintain however, all you need to do is make sure the floor is clean and grease free and you can apply a coat of the Hard Wax Oil to top up and refresh the floor.

      They both have there advantages and disadvantages, the oil will give a more natural finish as it soaks into the surface of the wood, where as the varnish creates a seal on the surface. I hope this helps and if you have any questions please let me know – Sam

  33. Hi,

    I bought a Monolam engineered European brushed and varnished floor this year in new house, I am just wondering what is the best way to clean these floors, at the moment we are lightly mopping them with warm water but am wondering is these any product we can be using or would a steam cleaner work? Also, do brushed and varnished floors need to be re-varnished every so often?

    • Hello Declan,

      Thank you for your inquiry, the first thing to say is I would never recommend using a Steam cleaner on any floor but especially not a wooden floor, the intense heat can cause damage to the finish and the wood. We have a really good cleaning system from Bona on our website that is ideal for varnished floors. Bona Spray Mop makes washing the floor so much easier – I can vouch for this as I have one – with a swivel head and a pad that gets along all the edges. And the floor cleaner doesn’t leave any smears.

      There is also a product called Bona Freshen Up which contains a Polyurethane maintenance coat to freshen up the floor when it starts to look a bit dull. These two products will help to prolong the life of your varnish and keep your floor looking good. I hope this helps and if you have any further question do let me know.

      Kind regards Sam.

  34. Hi…I like your site – so much more informative than the DIY stores, with proper specialist knowledge. We have an old house in France with bare untreated wooden floors upstairs (they rest on the oak beams downstairs, where there is no ceiling). The boards are very old and of irregular widths. They could be oak, though it is possible they are something like elm.
    They have been dulled by recent building work on the house, particularly by plaster dust, though we have been gradually scrubbing them clean. My question is this: what product would best bring out the natural beauty of the wood? When we scrub the floor or wipe a wet finger on it, we see exactly the result we are looking for, but what will maintain that look permanently? We are not looking in any way to change the colour of the wood, or give it a shiny finish – just to make it look like the lovely old wood it is. Thanks for any suggestions!

    • Hello Nick,

      Thank you for your question, your house in France sounds beautiful. If you have the floor back to bare wood then the ideal product for you would be the Osmo Polyx Oil, we often advise our customers to wipe a damp cloth across the bare wood to see the effect you will get from using this product, so the fact that you like that look from cleaning the floor, I hope means that this will be perfect for you. It is a durable product that is easy to maintain and repair if needed and is water and dirt repellent. It comes in sample sizes, for test areas and has excellent coverage as it has to be applied very thinly. If you have any further questions please let me know – Best Wishes Sam.

  35. I have taken a wall down between two rooms. It’s an old French house with lovely oak floorboards which were put down before the dividing wall was put up. What was the lounge had obviously been polished over the years. I’ve removed the wak witha strong vinegar wash and scrub. The kitchen side had lino which sadly was put on top of some sort of cement screed. The screed has been removed but still a few bits deeply embedded in veins of wood. The finish of the wood is obviously not the same as the other side and is a greyish colour. I’ve washed it with a mild vinegar wash and when doing this it looked like the original colour however as soon as it dried the lovely golden colour disappeared although it’s not quite so grey. I am going to varnish so I’m now wondering if when I varnish the golden colour will shine through as it did when it was washed and will it stay? If not is there some sort of rejuvenator that I can use before varnishing? Or is it better to use a oak coloured varnish on the horrible side and a clear varnish on the good side? Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Annirooni

      Our reviver gel is only suitable for external use I’m afraid as it requires a lot of water to rinse it away. I think the idea of using the clear and coloured varnish in corresponding rooms is a viable option, you may not get an exact match but it could tie them together better. The other option would be to use a water-based stain to get colours matching but this could be difficult because of the floor that has had the screed on it, may have a different level of absorbency than the other floor making colour matching that bit more difficult.

      You may need to do a bit of experimenting and test areas, to get what you are looking for but it would be worth looking at the Ronseal Diamond Hard Coloured Floor Varnish and the clear Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Varnish as a starting point. And if you have any other questions please let me know.

  36. Hi
    I just put in a solid wood floor that they say is sealed. But where they did the joins (tongue and groove), it is not sealed. The carpenter advice that I put something on the floor to help seal the lot in. I contacted the manufacturer and got nowhere.
    Any suggestions on what I can do to maintain the floor going forward?

    • Hello Linda,

      I would need to know what you currently have on the floor currently, before I can advice you on what product would be right for you to use – Sam.

  37. Hi,

    We have a new supposedly pre-oiled solid oak white fumed flooring laid down approximately 4 months ago. Unfortunately it’s starting to pick up a few small slightly dark stains which I suspect are oil based rather than water stains. We have no idea what oil was used before and the company who sold the floor haven’t been helpful in advising what to use to further protect. We want to minimise the look of the stains and protect against further damage. Would we be better off using a floor refresher like the osma one or re-oiling? We are looking to try keep the colour similar although a slightly darker finish would be acceptable but want try to keep the mild whitewash effect. If re-oiling, would the osma raw or fiddes natural be best to try keep the colour similar and maintain the matt effect. (The flooring is the galleria white fumed oak flooring which is a light-medium colour). We will be fixing the floor ourselves so the least complex option is probably best!

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • Hello Sally,

      Thank you for your inquiry, without seeing the floor it is difficult for me to suggest exactly which product would be best, you are welcome to send some photos in to wood@finishes.direct for us to have a look at. But you are going down the right route with the two products that you have mentioned Osmo Polyx Oil Raw and Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural are both oil based and if they are the right colour then they would be your best bet.

      It should be quite easy to sand back the damaged areas and just re oil, if the product already on there is an Oil then they should blend quite well, it is definitely worth a try before you consider treating the whole floor. If you do find that the repair doesn’t work you can take off the new product by wiping with White Spirits. I hope this is of some help and feel free to contact me with any further questions that you may have – Sam.

  38. We recently lay an oak pre finished engineered floor. We would like to stain it to a medium / dark oak colour but in a matt finish. Could you suggest anything?

    • Hello Jane,

      If the floor has been pre finished then I would need to know what it is finished in before I can recommend the right product for you. Or if you are planning on sanding back to bare wood. If you are unsure about what is on the floor and are unable to contact suppliers, you can carry out a small test with some oil out of the kitchen cupboard (Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil would be fine) put a couple of drops of the oil on the surface of the wood and leave for around an hour. If the oil soaks in then its likely you have a Hard Wax Oil or a Wax on it. If the Oil remains un moved on the surface then you must have a seal such as Varnish or Lacquer. Once we have established this information we can go forward with recommendations.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  39. Hi We have an Oak floor in our dinning room which is a light natural colour, it has become very sad and lifeless looking with some boards looking very dirty and grey, although its not warped I think the cleaning has been leaving it wet after mopping along with other wear and tear. I would like to get it back to its beautiful self, however I have no idea of the ordinal finish on the wood, if it was a polished finish or waxed etc, it has been down about 11 years. What would be the best thing to do with it?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Hello Alison,

      To be honest for the best results you would need to sand it back, this will bring back its original colour and make it fresh and ready for a new treatment, I appreciate however that this is not an option for everyone and if you can not do this then, it may be worth you doing a small Oil test.
      This involves putting a couple of drops of cooking oil from the kitchen (Olive or Vegetable is fine) onto an area where you think there is still some product left and leaving it there for an hour or so. If the Oil remains unmoved after that time you are likely to have a seal such as a Varnish on the floor. If, however, the Oil soaks in or begins to soak in then you have an Oil-based or Wax product on the floor.

      Once you have established if you have any of these products on your floor you can then choose between freshening up with a product like Osmo Liquid Wax Cleaner which is suited to Oiled or waxed floor and will clean and refresh at the same time. Or if you have Varnish you could use the Bona Freshen Up which contains a small amount of Polyurethane to help to revive a previously varnished floor.

  40. I recently had an engineered solid oak floor laid. We had a washing machine break down on us and on removal left small drip stains on the wooden surface. My wife tried to remove these with washing up liquid and we now have light patches instead of the dark stains. How do I go about blending these marks back in?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Mitch,

      It sounds like the washing up liquid has removed what ever product you have on the surface of your floor. Do you know what the floor is finished in, or would you be able to find out. It would be difficult for me to advise you without knowing. You could also send a photo in to our email with details of floor finish and we could take a proper look for you and advice on how to proceed. Our email is wood@finishes.direct

  41. I recently had an engineered solid oak floor laid. The knots in the wood have what looks like a resin fill. At the edge of one board the fill was not good and the tread layer next to it looks like it could splinter as it catches socks etc. Any ideas on how to fill/repair this? The wood has a lacquer finish (I think). What product would you recommend? Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Graeme,

      The best option may be for you try and remove the previous resin from the area and smooth down or remove the splinter. You can then refill with a High Performance Wood Filler which comes in three different colours or a mix and fill product such as Manns Mix and Fill which you do a 50/50 mix with wood dust. If you can’t get hold of any wood dust we are usually able to send a bag with an order, for free. Both of the above products will take a varnish over the top and there is a useful blog about repairing varnished areas that would be worth a read. Hope that helps.

  42. Hi,
    My new house has an old (at least 80 year old) oak floor which I want to restore and protect. When we moved in I used Ronseal natural floor wax but it has ended up looking awful! I followed the instructions exactly but it has scratched off, bleached & ended up with a horrible tarnish in large areas. I complained to Ronseal and sent pictures and they said it looked like an engineered oak floor (which I’d never heard of) and so their wax wouldn’t work on it. I can’t find anywhere how to look after an engineered oak floor. I need to take the wax off because it’s damaging the floor but I have no idea what to replace it with. Will varnish do as much damage?
    Any advice would be gratefully received.
    Thank you,

    • Hello Hannah,
      We have looked into your inquiry this morning as it has perplexed us a little. We don’t sell the product that you have used but having looked at the details and the data sheet, we are unsure as to why Ronseal have given you this explanation. It difficult for us to say why or how these problems have occurred for you, as we are so unfamiliar with the product. If you are planning on removing the Floor Wax from the floor so that it is back to bare wood then I can recommend a good varnish for you. The Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish would be a tough and durable product for your floor and its worth having a look at some of the Blogs about application of products to help you get the best finish. if you have any more questions please do get in tough. And I hope you manage to get the problem solved -Sam

  43. hello we have an engineered oak floor in a large kitchen area, and a stain approx 6 by 6 inches has appeared by the dishwasher. We assume it is water damage. We sanded it but are unable to remove the stain. As it is very dark compared to the rest of the floor it is very visible. Suggestions welcomed

    • Hello Yvonne,

      More often than not if it is just a water stain then giving it a bit of a scrub with warm water will get it of. Sounds a bit odd I know but try it! I am just wondering though if you have a seal on your floor of either Varnish or Oil then it may not be as simple. If you have Varnish then the stain may be coming from underneath the wood or if the seal of the varnish has been damaged the ingress may be seeping through that way and spreading, it is difficult to tell without seeing a photo. If you have an Oiled floor then you can just sand back the affected area and re oil. Feel free to send a photo into our email address and we can take a look for you. Our email is wood@finishes.direct

      Kind Regards

  44. Hi there
    I have raw French oak floorboards just laid in my lounge and conservatory. I would like to keep them as light as possible but want a durable finish. What is the best oil or varnish please?
    I also have new pine in my bedroom (bought before planning the look) again I’d like to keep them light, would painting them with an oiled white paint last? Oiled white paint or could you advise on a varnish?
    Also, is it best to get the same wood finish in the lounge and conservatory for where I have the French oak flooring as I will be oiling or varnishing them?
    Many thanks

    • Hello Susan,

      The first thing to say is that both the Oil and Varnish products are durable and protective but work in different ways. The Varnish is probably slightly more durable, it creates a hard seal on the surface of the wood and will darken slightly. And a varnish may last longer than an Oil but is harder to remove or repair should the need arise. A Hard Wax Oil is also very durable and easy to patch repair and apply maintenance coats every few years when needed. The Oil soaks into the surface of the wood protecting it from the inside out and giving a more natural feel to the wood. The Polyx Oil Raw is designed to leave the wood looking as Natural and unchanged as possible, while the standard clear will darken very slightly.

      If you are still unsure as to which to choose it would be worth doing a test area with both in order to see which finish you prefer.

  45. We have sanded a beautiful oak floor. We like the way it looks now. Should we varnish or wax it to keep it as light as possible?

    • Hello,

      Thank you for your inquiry, the right finish for your floor will depend on the look and durability that you wish to achieve. A Wax will give a natural finish to your floor but does not offer much in the way of protection. If you were to go for a varnish finish, such as Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish that creates a seal on the surface of the wood that is hard wearing and protects. It will darken the wood slightly and comes in different sheen levels from Matt through to High Gloss. The alternative is Osmo Polyx Oil which gives a more Natural finish as it soaks into the surface of the wood. It will again, darken the wood and require a maintenance coat every couple of years, but is easier than removing varnish when that needs replacing. For a product that is designed to leave the wood looking as if there is no product on it at all you could consider the Osmo Polyx Oil Raw which is the same as the previous product in terms of durability and protection but will not darken the wood. I hope that helps you to make a decision.

  46. Hello there

    I have the Old Irish Oak wood flooring that was originally oiled when I fitted them about 10 years ago. I have never oiled them and I now want a dark oak look.

    What would be the best thing to do? Should I stain the wood first and then apply a varnish? Or would it look better if I use the dark oak hard wood oils which you are selling?

    Please advise.

    Kind regards

    • Hello,

      Thank you for your inquiry, I would recommend as you have previously used Oil on the Floor that you stick with an Oil based product such as the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints in the Dark Oak Finish. This product will protect and colour your wood with just 2 coats. You would need to do a test area first to ensure that this product is compatible with the previous floor treatment and also to make sure that this is the colour that you wish to achieve.

      If you are unsure about the colour, and would like something a little more specific, the other option for you would be to use a Manns Classic Pine Stain first and then two coats of Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. With this water-based stain you can lighten the colour by adding a small amount of water if you find its on the dark side or you can intensify the colour by applying extra coats before the Hard Wax Oil. Again I recommend that you do a test area. Hope that helps.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here