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Selecting the timber floor coating that is right for you will often rely on a number of factors including expected foot traffic levels, anticipated maintenance, aesthetic considerations or health and safety issues. In short, it is often better to put a little time into exploring a few of the many options available to ensure that you are happy with your selection many years in to the future.
It is important to understand that there are literally hundreds of products that can be used to coat internal timber flooring and several more that have been designed for external use. While it is impractical to discuss the pros and cons of each product, internal finishes can be classified into one of three broad categories Solvent Based, Water Based and Oil Based Coatings.
SOLVENT Based Coatings
There is no question that solvent based coatings are the most commonly used interior timber floor coatings in Australia today. In general terms they offer superior resistance to day to day wear and tear and provide a low maintenance finish that is available in matt, satin, semi-gloss or full gloss sheen levels. There are one part or two part solvent based polyurethane finishes with one part being the more popular and generally offering better wear and fine scratch resistance.
WATER Based Coatings
In years gone by, water based coatings have been regarded as inferior or lackluster alternatives to traditional solvent based products. As technology has improved, water based coatings are now accounting for a much more significant part of the market. Improved resistance to wear, scratches and staining has seen both one and two pack water based coatings used on many more residential and commercial timber floors. Low toxicity and faster drying times are key advantages of water based coatings.
OIL Based Coatings
Like most coating categories, the term “oil based coating” encompasses a wide variety of coating styles. In general however, the majority of oil based coatings fit into the Tung Oil Coating or Oil Modified Urethane Coating categories. While Oil based coatings generally offer a very pleasing aesthetic appearance, they do require more maintenance than their water or solvent based counterparts. Regular maintenance using metallised polishes or spirit based waxes often mean that oil based coatings are likely to be used more in commercial applications than domestic.