How long do wooden floors last

Sealing parquet: hard oil, hard wax oil and parquet varnish in comparison

In order to defy the demands of our everyday life, a wooden floor needs a protective layer. Most do-it-yourselfers have heard of parquet varnish, hard oil and hard wax oil. However, the advantages and disadvantages of the individual options for sealing parquet or floorboards are not always clear. We have summarized all the arguments for you.

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The right sealant for your wooden floor

In its raw state, wood is a sensitive natural material. This is especially true for a wooden floor. After all, he is trampled underfoot every day by all of us. In order for it to survive this as long as possible, a protective layer must be in place. But which? That is the big question that every wood floor owner faces.

Paint, oil or wax? Each finish has its advantages and disadvantages. Here comes our quick check on sealing parquet.

Seal parquet with hard oil

In contrast to simple wood oil (for example linseed oil), a hard oil also contains a resin. Keep your eyes open: when choosing a product, do-it-yourselfers can easily fall for wood oils that are not, as the term is not protected.

The costs for 1 liter of hard oil depend heavily on the purchase quantity (the more the cheaper), the manufacturer and the seller and amount to around 25 euros per liter in the hardware store. With this amount, around 15 to 18 square meters of parquet can be sealed.

Benefits of hard oil

The big plus of hard oil is the faster hardening. The oil penetrates the wood pores and protects and hardens the wood from the inside. The more layers that are applied, the higher its resistance. The oil emphasizes the natural color and grain of the wood. It is "cheered", says the professional.

If you want the wood to be even darker, reddish or golden, you can use hard oils with the appropriate pigmentation. If running streets form over time, you can easily freshen up an oiled floor. In addition, it still feels like wood and has a natural elasticity.

An oiled wooden floor is breathable and open to diffusion. A plus for the indoor climate.

Disadvantages of hard oil

An oiled floor is relatively sensitive. After a few years you will see exactly which areas you regularly enter with shoes and where the dog has sharpened its claws. So it needs to be looked after particularly well and needs to be refreshed at regular intervals.

Hard oil only makes sense if the floor is still raw or has already been oiled. If it had a layer of paint, it must be completely removed.

In addition, hard oil is very temperature-sensitive during processing. In order for the oil to harden well, it must not be too hot and not too cold. Twelve degrees is the optimum.

Seal parquet with hard wax oil

When people talk about waxing, they usually mean treatment with hard wax oil. Here, too, the costs naturally depend on the purchase quantity, manufacturer and source of supply. A liter of hard wax oil costs about the same as hard oil in the hardware store: around 25 euros. However, this amount is enough to seal a good 20 square meters of parquet (with a single coat).

Öko-Test warns (see notes below) against some hard wax oils because of harmful components. On the other hand, "Remmers Hard Wax Oil [eco]" (colorless) received the rating "very good", among other things because, according to the manufacturer, at least 90 percent of the ingredients should come from renewable raw materials and no questionable ingredients were found.

Overall, it can be said: Hard wax oil combines the advantages of the components oil and wax.

Benefits of hard wax oil

The oil penetrates deep into the wooden floor and protects its structure from the inside. The wax forms a hard protective film on the surface. This makes the floor easy to care for and insensitive to moisture from mopping. As with hard oil, the color becomes darker and the grain is more prominent.

Even a floor that has been treated with hard wax oil can easily be repaired later. After a while you will no longer see the transitions between the repaired area and the older sections.

Disadvantages of hard wax oil

A hard wax floor can theoretically last a long time. However, he will not survive a normal everyday family life with children, street shoes, sand and stones. Here, too, it has to be repaired or refreshed selectively after a few years.

Wood with a hard wax layer is also sensitive to moisture. Wet shoes or other puddles must no longer stand on the floor, otherwise the permanent moisture leads to discoloration. Normal wiping, on the other hand, is not a problem.

After application, hard wax oil takes a relatively long time to harden. Stupid if you are about to move in or want to use a room again quickly after renovating.

Seal parquet with parquet varnish

In comparison with hard oil and hard wax oil, parquet varnish sounds particularly noble to the layperson - maybe because one automatically thinks of reflective dance halls?

The cost of parquet varnish is around 20 to 25 euros per liter. You should plan with around 100 to 120 milliliters of parquet varnish per square meter - this means, conversely, that one liter is enough for eight to ten square meters.

Even if the liter of parquet varnish can be a little cheaper compared to hard oil and hard wax oil, the costs per square meter of wooden floor are ultimately the highest.

Advantages of parquet varnish

A lacquered floor is very smooth and resistant. You can wipe it off or vacuum it off. Modern two-component paints cannot be affected by normal mechanical loads. Despite the protective layer that has been created, the surface is so elastic that it does not tear as quickly.

As long as the paint layer is intact, moisture is also not a problem. After treatment with parquet lacquer, the floor can be fully used again after a few days. The wood tone is largely retained.

Disadvantages of parquet varnish

A wooden floor sealed with parquet varnish is still not rock hard. If you drop something very heavy, cracks can appear. Even a permanent load in the entrance area can put its resistance to a severe test.

Once cracks have appeared, moisture can penetrate and damage the wood under the layer of varnish. Unsightly discolorations can be seen and can make renovation necessary after ten to fifteen years, even with a lacquer seal. This usually has to be carried out for the entire room.

If you have paint on the shortlist, you shouldn't only think about the optics. Imagine walking across your wooden floor with bare feet. When painting, you can only feel the paint layer. The feel of a warm wooden floor has disappeared.

There are also deductions when it comes to the room climate: the lacquer seals the wood and does not allow any moisture to be exchanged with the room air.

Conclusion: oil, wax or varnish for sealing parquet?

The advantages and disadvantages of all three products are almost in balance. Whether you prefer hard oil, hard wax oil or parquet varnish depends very much on your individual preferences.

First and foremost, you should ask yourself two questions:

  • How important is longevity to me? In other words: Can I live with the fact that you can quickly see on an oiled or waxed floor in heavily used areas that there is life in the house?
  • Do I want to preserve the properties of the natural product wood as much as possible?

If you answered "yes" to both questions, you are probably more of the hard oil or hard wax oil type.

If the pure look is more important to you than the natural feel of wood and you don't feel like giving your floor a freshness cure after just a few years, you are better off with parquet varnish.

Important information on the use of hard oil, hard wax oil and parquet varnish

Please note: If you want to seal your parquet, you should definitely take the instructions on the packaging seriously and always wear work gloves, protective goggles and - very important - a respirator. Please also ensure that the room is well ventilated during and after the parquet is sealed. As Öko-Test has found, many products contain questionable ingredients that can lead to tiredness, dizziness and headaches and, in the worst case, even attack the central nervous system.

Our blogger Mona tried out an alternative to sealing parquet with oil, hard wax oil or parquet varnish in her house. She leached and soaped her floorboard: