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Timber Floor Coatings for Home Owners  

Your Floor - Coatings

floor coatingsThere are two ways of finishing a timber floor, with four main sub-categories within those two methods.  One way is to coat the timber with a film of plastic-like substance which acts as a wear layer.  The most commonly used of these types can be classified as POLYURETHANES, CURING OILS AND ALKYDS, OIL-MODIFIED URETHANES.

The other way is to apply a PENETRATIVE  COATING. These will be mainly natural oils and waxes. They harden on the surface grain of the timber, meaning the timber itself becomes its own protective surface, rather than have a layer of plastic-like film across the top.

So, there are four different families of coating types. For more information on each, click here and download the pdf  "Understand your Timber Floor Coatings".


POLYURETHANE (SOLVENT BASED)
Basically "liquid plastic" which dry and harden, the most common are solvent, or "spirit" based. They require up to three or more coats to provide the correct amount of build, creating three separate layers of "film".


Pros:
  • Highest gloss option for those who desire a shiny timber floor (subdued gloss options are available)
  • High durability

Cons:
  • Goes yellow over a period of time,
  • "Edge bonding" can be a problem when timber movement occurs.
  • Prone to rejection where excessively high oils or saps exist in some species
  • Strong solvents and toxicity, including an isocyanate content until fully cured.

LAGLER RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS UNDER THIS CATEGORY.


POLYURETHANE (WATER-BASED)
The polyurethane is floating in a water based solution instead of chemicals. Three coats are usually required and the durability ranges, depending on the product, from low wear to arguably as durable as solvent-based. A much healthier and more environmentally considerate option, having no strong chemicals or odours upon application.


Pros:
  • Environmentally conscious choice
  • More natural appearance and non-yellowing
  • Less susceptible to rejection or contamination from the natural saps and oils in the timber.

Cons:
  • Higher cost
  • Some brands can be lower wearing than solvent-based polyurethane
  • While less prone to edge-bonding, stronger waterborne two-packs can stretch over expansion joins leaving a pale line

LAGLER RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS IN THIS CATEGORY


CURING OILS AND ALKYDS               
Curing Alkyds are more like a resin type of coat, combined with a solvent/ spirit base. Unlike a Polyurethane, each coat bonds to the other, forming a singular, hard block. Also known as "conversion varnishes", and also unlike polyurethane, the film cannot be re-activated by immersion in solvents.

Brands such as Synteko Classic only require two coats in most cases, which makes for a more cost-effective and convenient application. Some Alkyds can yellow, with the exception of Synteko Classic.


Pros:
  • Two coat system, faster with less down time
  • Lower toxicity, with lower VOC than most polyurethanes
  • Extremely smooth, almost flawless look, the coating does not attract/highlight dust or other imperfections.
  • Non-yellowing

Cons:
  • Some solvents
  • Fast drying but slow curing, requires more care in early weeks

LAGLER RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS IN THIS CATEGORY


PENETRATIVE OILS
These products penetrate the grain and harden, meaning the timber itself becomes its own protective surface. They easy to maintain and replenish without requiring a total re-sand to bare timber, not being a "film-build" coat.  They are inherently natural coatings which derive from timber by-products and other natural elements. 
Our preferred brand,  SYNTEKO NATURAL has no additional chemicals. It requires a mechanical process to cure and harden the surface. This process is referred to as "burnishing". Make sure your chosen contractor knows how to apply burnishing oils.


Pros:
  • Very natural products, zero VOC
  • Smooth appearance highlighting the natural beauty of timber, as opposed to the common "glass-on-floor" look
  • Easy to keep fresh and new, without requiring re-sanding

Cons:
  • No gloss available, only matte
  • Contractor requires the correct machinery and technique to apply- not a "set and forget" product

LAGLER RECOMMEND SYNTEKO NATURAL

 
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