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Coating Systems

Which is the best type of coating for my timber floor?

Each timber floor has its own unique appeal and deserves the best possible protective surface. The choice and application of the finishing coats will impact presentation & wear of the completed floor. There are a wide variety of popular finishes for contemporary timber floors, here is a summary of the major coatings used;
Waterborne Polyurethane Coatings
The environmentally friendly finish. This natural looking finish has does not “yellow” with age like solvent coatings and is proving to be a more popular finish in recent years. Waterborne coatings tend to develop colours that are closer to the original tones in the timber. These finishes are more expensive than solvent based finishes by around $5 m2. They contain only about a quarter of the toxic chemicals in comparison to solvent based finishes which is considerably better for your family and the environment. There is a distinct trend towards this type of finish as the technology and wear resistance of water based products has improved considerably with improved formulations of the product. Waterborne finishes are available in 1 pack, 2 pack and 2 pack heavy duty (commercial) varieties. The 2 pack and 2 pack heavy duty products are harder wearing with greater scratch resistance and as you would expect slightly more expensive. Waterborne coatings are available in: Gloss, Satin and Matt sheen levels
Solvent Based Polyurethane
The high build glass look of this coating forms a protective layer of plastic across the timber surface. This finish has been in the market for many years and offers the highest level of gloss obtainable. It is important to remember that solvent coatings do contain a high volume of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and as a result, floors should be left to cure for 1 to 2 weeks before a home in inhabited after coatings have been completed. Solvent coatings will also change in colour over time. This is particularly noticeable in light floors which gradually take on a more golden yellow appearance over time whereas red timbers such a Jarrah will develop stronger red tones over time after application of solvent based coatings. Solvent based coatings are available in: Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin and Low Sheen finishes
Mixed System (solvent sealer, waterborne top coats) 
In recent years, many contractors have through ongoing trials come to the view that the best coating system involves using a solvent based sealer with waterborne top coats. This system does work however there are some important considerations. 
Some coating manufacturers will not warranty a waterborne coating that has used a solvent sealer. In this situation the sander is responsible for the warranty of the floor. Enviropro is a waterborne system that is warranted when applied with a Toby’s GF barrier seal. Bosch Timber Floors recommends this as a preferred system when customers wish to have a mixed system.
This system does tend to improve the presentation of red timber such as jarrah however it can lead to a small amount of yellowing on lighter timbers such as blackbutt
This system does help reduce “grain raise” which can be a minor side effect of waterborne sealers. Grain raise tends to result in a more textered feel to the finished floor. 
Solvent Sealers used with waterborne top coats tend to provide a more defined grain structure of the finished timber floor.
Hardwax Oil Finishes
Oil based coatings are a traditional style of timber floor finish that are gaining interest as an alternative finish with its own niche. Oil finishes penetrate into the timber where as other finishes sit on top of the timber. The result is a more rustic and true timber finish with the colour darkening a little as compared to other finish types. A challenge with this finish has been how easy it is to scratch the surface. However, scratches are easily repaired with this coating, Scratches on polyurethane coatings often require a complete sand of the floor to repair damage in one section. Bosch Timber Floors offer and promote the high quality Whittle Waxes ranges available in Classic low sheen and Matt and finishes. Timbers with a hardwax oil finish can also be stained to provide an enhanced look to your timber floor.



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