Timeless and elegant, timber flooring is renowned for its natural beauty and warm aesthetic. Being a natural product, it is also prone to wear over time, so it’s important to protect your floor from stains and scratches. That’s where timber floor oil comes in.

The best timber floor oil finishes enhance the wood’s natural beauty, while giving you peace of mind that your floor is protected from day-to-day scuffs and spills. To help you choose the right finish for your floorboards, we’ve pulled together a list of the best timber floor oil finishes in Australia.

There are four main types of timber floor oil finishes

Generally speaking, there are four main types of timber floor oil finishes. Each varies in composition, durability, water resistance, style and environmental impact, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the full range of options before settling on one brand.

The main types of timber floor oil finishes are:

  • Hard wax oil, is a combination of natural waxes and oils. Hard wax oils penetrate the timber, enhancing the timber’s natural features. Because they don’t form a bridge between the floorboards, they enable the wood to expand and contract with temperature fluctuations without splitting. They are non-toxic and easy to maintain—you can spot repair the finish without needing to sand and recoat the entire floor.
  • Solvent-based polyurethane, which sits on the surface of the timber to form a durable top-coat. It is available in matte, satin and gloss finishes, but is best used for a gloss finish. It provides a durable, moisture-resistant finish but is prone to yellowing with age. It also contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause irritation during application. Being a topcoat, polyurethane finishes require sanding back to refinish evenly and can split if the floor expands and contracts significantly.
  • Water-based polyurethane, which is a thinner surface finish than solvent-based polyurethane. It is non-toxic and ideal for maintaining the appearance of light timber as it is not prone to yellowing, however, more coats are required to create a thicker coat. It is available in matte, satin and gloss finishes.
  • Oil-based finishes, such as tung and linseed oil, combine oils with resin to provide a matte or satin finish. Like hard wax oil, oil-based finishes penetrate the wood, amplifying its natural features and enabling the wood to breathe. However, as they do not create a top coat, they are less hardwearing than polyurethane coatings.

The best timber floor oil finishes on the market

Once you’ve settled on the type of floor oil finish you want, it’s time to choose a quality brand. Here are some of the best timber floor oil finishes on the market.

Sikkens has been making floor oil since 1973, and has two excellent consumer-grade products for interior flooring:

  • Sikkens Cetol TFF is a water-based polyurethane-acrylic resin finish that is non-yellowing, abrasion resistant, and easy to clean and refinish. It is available in a colourless satin matte finish, and is suitable for parquetry, timber flooring and other interior woodwork that needs a protective coat.
  • Sikkens Cetol TSI Satin Plus is a non-toxic, oil-based transparent finish, that provides a good level of water and dirt resistance while enabling the wood to breathe.

Intergrain’s UltraFloor SlipResistant water-based coating is a great option if you’re looking for a clear, satin finish. It has significantly lower levels of VOCs than solvent-based options and is easy to clean with water.

Bona is a Swedish company, renowned for its non-toxic water-based floor finishes. They have a wide range of finishes, to suit different wood types. Their Bona Prime Classic is a great option if you’re after a hard-wearing polyurethane coating that flexes with the wood and doesn’t yellow with age.

If you’re after a hard wax oil, it’s hard to go past Osmo’s Polyx-Oil. Its combination of plant-based oils and waxes delivers a non-toxic, glossy to matte finish that is resistant to dirt, abrasion and moisture.