It's a question we are asked almost every day at Wood Floor Warehouse. Which is better when comparing oiled vs lacquered wood flooring? There is no single answer as it all depends on your own preferences. To help you choose, we are going to take a detailed look into the pros and cons of oiled vs lacquered flooring.


Often there is a very small price difference when comparing a lacquered wood floor to an oiled wood floor. On average, oils are more expensive to produce than lacquers and they can add to the final cost of a floor. At Wood Floor Warehouse, we find that it can add up to £3.00 per square metre to the cost of a floor overall. At the price point of real wood flooring, paying just a little extra can often ensure that your requirements are better met.


Traditionally, oiled wood floors were matt finish and lacquered wood flooring was a glossy finish. Today, technology has moved on considerably. A lacquered floor can have a low shine matt finish and look exactly like an oil. Oil can have a higher shine rate and appear lacquered. Only very low shine rate (ultra-matt) flooring cannot be achieved by lacquer and an ultra-matt oil is then used.

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When comparing lacquered to oiled wood flooring, performance is a key characteristic. Each floor will vary depending on the type of lacquer or oil used. As a good general rule, the following points are worth noting.

  • Lacquered lasts longest (often 10-20years). An oil surface will wear off much quicker but can be refinished easily.
  • Lacquered performs best against surface moisture. Surface water can eventually lift oil out of a floor.
  • Matt finishes are easier to stain and can be less resistant to water than lacquered or higher gloss oils.
  • Scratches show up easier on reflective higher gloss finishes, (such as lacquered). Scratches are harder to see on low gloss finishes (such as ultra-matt oiled)

It's clear to see from the above points, that higher gloss and lacquered finishes will perform better in everyday situations, but scratches are harder to identify in low shine floors which are often oiled.


Wood flooring maintenance is very important to longevity and appearance. It's now a little clearer to see that lacquered floors can perform better than oiled in some aspects. However, the story does not end here. Oiled flooring has a secret weapon when it comes to maintenance. Maintaining an oiled wood floor can enhance the appearance and remove light scratches. It can often be as easy as just cleaning the floor or applying new oil with a roller. With lacquered flooring, sanding is often required to refinish a floor. This can require specialist tools and for a great finish, an experienced tradesman too.

One of the biggest draws to the oiled floor is easy maintenance. A product like our Woca Maintenance Kit for Oil Floors helps to easily maintain the finish of oiled flooring. It contains an everyday cleaner that will not strip the oil from the floor. Also included is a maintenance oil that will feed fresh oil into the flooring. It is simply applied with a mop as if cleaning the floor. Using good maintenance will help to protect the floor from stains and moisture. If a complete refinish is required or an individual board is severely scratched, a fresh coat of oil is often enough to revitalise an oiled floor.

Cleaning Solid Wood Flooring

Oiled vs Lacquered Wood Flooring- Which is best?

As you may have already concluded, the answer is neither. The key is understanding each type of finish and deciding which will suit your lifestyle best.