Choosing the Right Wood Finish for Your Home Projects

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Choosing the right wood finish options for your home DIY or refurbishment project can be tricky. There are so many different finishes on the market to choose from. Making the right decision is important because your final choice can greatly affect the overall look, feel and mood of your room.

Before you jump in and make a rash decision, it helps to understand the basic difference between a stain, a varnish, a fully painted effect, and even how various sheens ranging from 10% to 70% can have a profound difference on your finished results.

You might like the idea of having a fully painted finish to your wood, but once you see the full impact, you may regret your decision. This is why you need to take some time to read up about the different wood finishes you can choose from and take a good look at some examples before making your mind up.

Here are some wood finish options that we use here at Team Build Joinery which you should consider. Each one can be stunning and give a fantastic look to your home project.

Wood finish on furniture

Fully Polished

Wood finishes fall into just a few categories: oils and waxes that penetrate into the surface of the wood, and paints and varnishes that sit on top of the surface of the wood and form a seal or skin. Varnished surfaces can give you a very highly polished look and can be extremely durable, so are good for when you need your wood surfaces to be hard wearing.

Oils and waxes will sink into the wood grain to give a fantastic mellow sheen and polish that is really good to the touch. Oils and wax finishes can be polished up to give a very high shine for a fully polished look.

Basically, wood oils and waxes are easier to maintain, but paints and varnishes can be much longer lasting. So you need to choose based on how you are going to use your wood surface. For a fully polished look on hardwood floors, then varnish would be a good option. For a beautiful wood dining table, then you may want to go with a wood wax or oil to achieve a highly polished look that lets the beauty of the wood shine through.

Various Sheens Ranging from 10% to 70%

The sheen level of a wood product can seriously change the mood and appearance of a room. Depending on what look and feel you want to create, having a super-shiny floor may shout elegance, but if you would rather create a more cosy home feel, then a matt finish will convey a more relaxed and warm feel to your home.

For exterior wood projects, then a good wood oil will give you a softer finish when applied, but if you want a high-gloss finish to your exterior wood, then opaque wood coatings or paints will give you the results you are after.

Wood finish exterior

Choosing the right finish for your exterior wood

Interior wood finishes come with more levels of sheen options to choose from ranging from 10% matt through to 70% high sheen. Finding one that you are comfortable with is the key here, especially if you are going to be viewing it every day.

Fully painted finish

Fully painted finishes are very on trend at the moment. If you a have been working on an indoor wood project, then Dead Flat matt paint is a traditional paint choice that gives a very flat matt finish to your wood. Best suited to interior wood surfaces such as skirting boards, wooden bedroom furniture and internal wood doors. This is the modern answer to ‘flatted lead’ – a popular finish used in the 18th century, used today to make a design statement or replicate the look of a period property and to add an elegant finish.

Primed and Undercoated

When you are working with a project like fitting new interior wooden doors, then you will be dealing with a new surface that will need a primer. Re-fitting existing doors that have already been painted before? Then you can use an undercoat to prepare the door for a new coat of paint.

You can buy already primed and undercoated doors, which makes it an easy job for you to get your doors painted up in your chosen colour. Remember though that an undercoat is always a primer, but a primer is not always an undercoat. You need to add an undercoat to give you a smooth and even surface for your topcoat of paint. Primed and undercoated doors are particularly useful when using enamel topcoats, so they are an ideal option for wooden garage doors, and other external woodwork that needs to have a tough, denser finished look.

How Long Will a Wood Finish Last?

‘How long is a piece of string?’ The truth is that your wood finish will last well depending on the amount of wear and tear it is subjected to. A varnish sealed hardwood floor will last much longer than an oiled floor finish in a busy restaurant. The paint finish on an a weather exposed house door will probably need more care and attention than a waxed or oiled internal wooden door.

This is why wood finish manufacturers can never truly give an accurate life expectancy for any of their products.