Choosing Between Oil and Polyurethane Hardwood Finishes: A Cochran’s Guide


When it comes to selecting the perfect finish for your hardwood floors, understanding the nuances between urethane and oil finishes is key. At Cochran’s Lumber, we believe in empowering our customers with knowledge to make informed decisions. In this post, we’ll explore the distinct characteristics of urethane and oil finishes.

Understanding the Look and Feel

Oil Finish: An oil finish dives deep into the wood, enriching its natural texture and bringing out the wood’s inherent beauty. This type of finish offers a more organic, matte look, making each plank tell its own unique story.

Urethane Finish: In contrast, a urethane finish sits on top of the wood, acting as a protective layer. It offers a more polished, glossy appearance, enhancing the wood’s color while providing a durable barrier against daily wear and tear.

Maintenance Matters

Maintaining the pristine condition of your floors is a crucial consideration.

Oil Finished Floors: These require a bit more attention, with a recommended touch-up or re-oiling every 2-3 years, depending on traffic. The good news is, this process is homeowner-friendly, involving a simple reapplication of oil—no sanding needed.

Urethane Finished Floors: Known for their low maintenance, these floors rarely need touch-ups due to their sealed nature. However, should damage occur, repairs can be more complex compared to oil-finished floors.

Eco-Friendly Options

At Cochran’s, we’re committed to sustainability. Our oil finishes are 100% VOC-free, aligning with our green initiatives by reducing harmful emissions. While our urethane finishes also comply with strict VOC guidelines, they contain trace amounts, albeit significantly lower than industry standards.

Choosing What’s Right for You

Deciding between an oil or urethane finish boils down to personal preference and practical considerations. Reflect on the desired aesthetic, the level of floor traffic, and how much maintenance you’re willing to undertake. Whether you lean towards the natural allure of an oil finish or the robust protection of a urethane coat, understanding these factors will guide your decision.

We’re Here to Help

Choosing the right finish for your hardwood floors is a significant decision, and we’re here to provide the expertise and support you need. If you have any questions about urethane and oil finishes, or need further clarification on our color variation scale, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team at Cochran’s Lumber is dedicated to ensuring you find the perfect match for your home.

Explore our range of finishes and learn more about our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction at Cochran’s Lumber Products.

Visit our Berryville showroom (just 50 miles west of Washington D.C.) or call us at 1(877) 297-8331.

Feeling inspired? Explore our Houzz® page for more design ideas where your hardwood floors shine in every season. Planning a quick home refresh before the family arrives for the holidays? Cochran’s timeless hardwood options are just a click or a call away. Top Hardwood Flooring Trends of 2023 from Cochran’s Lumber