Oak Interior Doors: What is the best finish to use?
Ok, so you've spent a while deciding what type of door you want to complement the interior style for your home, be it Victorian, Ledge and Brace, Ledge Barn style or the Mexicano. You've realised the beauty of real oak doors is not something of an accessory to the look of the room but an integral element of the feel of two rooms. But there is one further decision you need to carefully ponder, and it's one we frequently get asked... what is the best finish for real oak interior doors?
The basic options available for oak interior doors are lacquer or oil/hardwax oil and the right finish for your door is a combination of personal taste regarding the look and ensuring the finish is suited to the expected use of the door. In the past oiling and waxing doors was a very labour intensive job and difficult to maintain.
When the modern lacquer finishes came on to the market it was a refreshing improvement and understandably took a huge chunk of the internal oak door finish market. The lacquer was either applied at the factory or on site and the most recent lacquers can even emulate the appearance of oils so as to make the wood look more 'natural'.
This applied to both oak interior doors and floors and the hardest decision people had to make was whether to have the matt or high gloss finish. The lacquer was simple to maintain so there was no need for time consuming and grubby buffing on your hands and knees.
The case for using lacquer on real oak interior doors like a nice ledge and brace seems an easy one until the door is hung and enters use and the disadvantage becomes clear. The lacquer is not absorbed into the wood like a hardwax oil, it lies on top of the wood and when scratched will be easily visible. This is particularly true of the high gloss finishes. Worse still is that to repair the damage properly the whole door must be sanded down for an even finish and is not restricted to just the affected area. Further still, the job itself is not one for the DIY novice, it's an unforgiving process that ideally requires a specialist.
Now consider the case for the new breed of highly developed Hardwax Oils. Yes, it does require slightly more maintenance but this is done on the door, in its frame, and only in the localised areas you want to treat. It is an easy product to apply that doesn't require any specialist attention. Treatex Hardwax Oils have the durability of natural oil that sinks deep in to the wood and a surface layer of wax that has a greater surface density than lacquer so is very resistant to abrasion, reducing wear and tear. This means the appearance of the door will look fresher for longer and is simple to remedy when needs be.
On balance, whilst lacquers gained in popularity for good reason years ago, the new formula Treatex Hardwax Oils are a finish advanced and innovative enough to give a great warm look to your oak interior doors whilst allowing ease of maintenance. Advanced enough to be rebranded the iFinish. ;-)